How to create SEO-Friendly url Structure

One of the most basic search engine optimization techniques is in using SEO-friendly URL structures. A good structure can help the indexation process of your website, but, unfortunately, there are plenty of websites that use incorrect, sub optimal URLs.

SEO-Friendly urls

Elements of a URL

We'll start by looking at the elements that make up a URL. A URL might look very simple at first sight, but it actually comprises several important pieces of information.

Let’s take a look at this example: http://www.company.com/blog/page-name

  1. Hypertext Transfer Protocol: 
    The most popular application protocol used on the world wide web. Other familiar types of application protocols include FTP and telnet.
  2. Domain name of the Website
  3. Subdirectory of the file.
  4. File name of the request resources
There are three elements of a URL that we can customize: the domain name, the subdirectories and the file names. In the following chapters we’ll discuss each of these elements individually and see how they can be optimized.
Domain Name

The domain name is your address on the world wide web. It’s probably the part of a URL that is most visible; often being communicated in emails, on flyers, business cards, etc.

A good domain name is easy to remember. Make it as short as possible, preferably one or two words. This will not necessarily help you rank higher, but it’s useful for your visitors because it’s easier to remember.

You might consider using keywords in a domain name. In days gone by keyword-rich domains were easy to rank because the ranking algorithms were less advanced.

On September 28, 2012 this update went live. It reduced the number of low quality keyword-rich domains in the search results. These types of domains are often referred to as ‘exact match domains’ (EMDs), because the domain name matches a specific search query.

So be careful when you choose an exact match domain, but don’t let that scare you away from using keywords in your domain name. As long as you don’t overdo it, you should be fine; keyword stuffing should always be avoided.

Domain Extensions

A .com domain is still the most popular domain extension. When we take a look at the diversity in domain extensions on the search results page, we see that 87% have a .com extension, 6% a .org and 3% a .net. Other extensions such as .info, .us, .ca... are less popular.


Domain Extension


Does a domain extension matter for SEO? Short answer: no. A domain extension doesn’t determine whether or not we're dealing with a high quality site. There are other factors that determine the quality, such as content and links.
On the other hand, a country-specific domain extension (such as .us, .de, .it...) can have some benefits. If you have a local business, let’s say in Germany, it’s a good idea to buy a .de domain. Country specific domains don’t rank as well in other countries, but it can get you a decent amount of local traffic.
Subdirectories

When we talk about subdirectories or subfolders, we can take a look at the depthand width of these folders.
Depth

Depth is the number of subfolders we find in a domain. This is usually reflected in the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs for a page on a e-commerce site might look like this: 

                                         home > t-shirt > men

This page with tshirts for men is 2 levels deep. In this case, the correct url structure for a product in this directory will look something like this:

                                       http://www.domain.com/t-shirt/men/light-blue.html


Bonus! these paths will also show up in your Analytics, making interpretation of data much easier.

Can a subfolder structure be too deep? The flatter your site structure is, the better. Deep pages will often be crawled less frequently. I like to keep my pages less than three folders deep.

Width

Width refers to the number of pages in a category. The website from previous example might offer tshirts for women and children next to men’s tshirts. In this case, the width of the tshirt category is three pages (men, women and children).

The width of a directory doesn’t influence rankings; you can have as many pages as you want. As long as the pages are unique, this doesn’t pose a problem (we’ll learn how to deal with duplicate content later).


Is it best to use subdomains or subfolders? Just as a reminder, here’s the difference between a subdomain and a subfolder:

                    http://blog.website.com (subdomain)
                    http://website.com/blog (subforlder)

Subdomains are often seen by Google as separate domains, which means you have to do twice the SEO work.

However, if you have several, non-related products, it might be a good idea to use subdomains. Google uses the same approach for maps (maps.google.com), news (news.google.com), etc. The same technique could be used for local websites (e.g.boston.website.com and lasvegas.website.com).


Static URLs vs Dynamic URLs

Dynamic URLs can usually be identified by looking for special characters, such as question marks and ampersands. These characters identify several parameters, often the language or user ID. But this means that the same content can have different URLs.
One of the most common URL-related myths is that search engines can’t crawl dynamic URLs. This might have been true in the past, but Google has made some progress in this area.

Some webmasters try to rewrite dynamic URLs to make them appear static. This is unnecessary because the content on the page can be crawled and Google can interpret the different parameters. The algorithm can figure out which parameters do not matter.


How to create SEO-Friendly url Structure How to create SEO-Friendly url Structure Reviewed by Click Perfect on 00:29:00 Rating: 5

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