Believe it or not! But, first impression is last impression when it comes to brand especially for ‘branded websites’. In case your brand has its own website then from point of view of GOOGLE and customers – it is URL that they see first. In other words, URLs can be defined as building blocks of website, it is an effective site hierarchy and passes equity through your own domain and other directing user to one specific desired destination or more. Sometimes it can be tricky to correctly direct your brand and website if you have yet not planned for it. In worse case scenarios you will end-up in one endless loop of redirect. So, once it happens neither GOOGLE will be able to recognize you as a brand and nor visitor will able to appreciate your hard work. And, do not forget that there is a high cost of getting it right. Simply by getting URL Structure right on first step you can build your brand right and make it more accessible, along with proper SEO. Remember, when it comes to SEO there is no one size that fits it all. Though there might be some rules that you have to follow but that are shortcuts of your success in an upcoming change in SEO practices.
First things first, once you launch your domain – you must have a clear purpose. So, whether it is transactional or informational perhaps simply administrative. In other words, its existence should be clear. When the correct target audience discovers your domain as you want it not only boosts brand authority but increases quality traffic as well. Make sure to follow-up on best keyword practice, incorporate some keywords research and then include relevant terms. Sometimes more descriptive of keywords – the term that gets more nub is what page is about. It is good practice to include it in URL so that it is placed and it appears to be in near to root domain.
Dealing with multiple pages can be hard for anyone, in case you just begin with SEO practice then stick to one topic, one-page approach. Check-out this example for ‘colors’ –
1. Common Example:
2. Unique Example:
Though this might be one of example you come through it is not as simple as it might appear. There are standard spelling issues, for example, ‘color’ or ‘colour’. While dealing with such keywords it is essential to conduct proper research to come with correct keyword-level search volumes, for an overall better solution.
SEO is dynamic, we all know this and as a matter of fact, SEO practices are changing, perhaps next challenge we would be facing will be defining a sitewide URL hierarchy. One you define URL hierarchy for future it will help you ensure that your brand website fits its purpose for year and years to come. One reason behind defining website URL structure is that in some cases – websites end up as patchwork quilt of sub-domains and also have many conflicting paths that eventually arrive at similar products or services. From the one-person point of view, it is a poor approach as it conflicts the user’s perspective. Moreover, it also sends confusing signals to GOOGLE about product categorization.
Ex 1. https://onewebsite.com/color/darkBlue/Bluepens
Ex 1.1 https://onewebsite.com/Bluepens
First URL is more logical and takes user from one domain to category to sub-category. Second URL goes from directly from a single domain to single product. Hierarchically both products must sit at one same level in website. Ex 1. – is a better example for SEO and users.
Ex 1.1 – seem like lack of communication, with the website launching new items straight onto. Nevertheless, it crucial to have proper layout structure in advance. Working together alongside different teams can help you understand complete direction of business and its future. One you know it, then you can simply add your SEO knowledge to re-shape site architecture. With proper planning, you achieve state of fewer errors.
Words and Characters
While writing words and characters it is important to follow rule of thumb, you can make sure that user understands topics on your page easily. By simply giving a look at URL, every subject and topic should be clear. Don’t confuse this fact with following that you have to mention every single preposition or conjunctions.
For example: Using words like ‘and’ or ‘the’ or any other ‘stop words’ can become easy distraction. Try and avoid using ‘stop’ words in URL altogether. This will allow user to understand what a topic is about. Furthermore, it will allow GOOGLE to derive meaning as well. Do NOT user repetition in URL.
“Using too much of same ‘word’ can be an overkill”
1. URL Length: First things first, URL structure matter and anything after 512 pixels, will be truncated. Follow rule of thumb and keep your URL short and crisp without giving-up on meaning.
2. Case Sensitivity: Next, there is massive confusion and wrong signals that happen commonly in case sensitivity. If possible, use all lowercase in URL.
3. Hashes: Many people use ‘hash’ to direct user to specific sections on-page. In case, you have a unique content to share then simply use it in URL instead of using ‘#’.
4. Word Delimiters: Last but not least, stick with ‘hyphens’ to separate words within one URL strings.
Dynamic URL Strings
It really depends on content management system you use. There is plethora of e-commerce platforms that automatically split out character strings. Though from search engine point of view there is no problem in crawling or indexing dynamic URL strings. But, from SEO-based reasons, it is highly recommended to use static URL as compared to dynamic ones. One reason is that using static URLs will be more user-friendly as one can easily figure out what is on-page.
There are few developers who use relative URL’s too. But there is one problem, these URLs are based on context, so one context is change – URL might not work which can create a big hassle. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use absolute URL’s as compared to relative URL’s.
It is essential to ensure that SEO value is consolidated, as a rule, there could be two major versions of your domain indexed. One version is ‘www’ and other is ‘non-www’ version. You can add complexity and have properly secure (https) and non-secure (HTTP) version as well. Recently, most SEO’s use 301 redirect to point one version of their site or other. From point of view of search engine, it helps in identifying that particular URL has moved permanently to another destination.
What are canonical tags? In a nutshell, a canonical tag is very helpful piece of code especially when you have multiple versions of same page. So, by adding one canonical tag you can tell GOOGLE which version is your priority preference. It is highly recommended to that canonical tag must be added only with purpose of helping search engine.
Every SEO’er should be familiar with search quality evaluator guidelines. There two types of content that are used for reference, one is main content and other is supplementary content. Main content can be defined as content that will be on your lead page in each and every section. This is unique content and will help you to become source of unique content. On other hand, there is supplementary content that provides additional information. Deciding content will contribute to your overall topical authority and increase site visibility.
So, once you have completed all of above steps and followed through guidelines and tips then now is time to make sure that search engine knows exactly what is going on your website. For doing this sitemap comes in handy. You can understand XML sitemap easily without confusing it with HTML sitemap. What is XML sitemap? In a nutshell, it is list of your website URL which you submit to search engines.
1. Submitting XML sitemap will help search engines to find site’s page with any delay.
2. Search engine will use sitemap as reference during process of selecting canonical URLs on-site.
It is essential that user and search engine should have clear understanding of what is on-page just by looking at URL. By choosing correct keywords you can make consistent SEO-friendly URL structures. Make sure to use static URL’s over dynamic URL’s for future proof and complete upscale solutions.