Buildings crumble, stories lack cohesion, and websites fall from the top search engine rankings all because they lack good structure.
Wait, what was that last one?
The structure of your URLs, when you are designing a new page or pages of your website, have a ton to do with search engine optimization. We might not often think about the things that fall after your .com/ extension, but word choice, categorization, and clutter can all negatively impact your site rankings. If we can prevent London-Bridge.org/there_are_too_many_words_here_why_do_you_have_this_many-_words? from falling down, we're going to try certainly!
As the top SEO experts in Philadelphia, we at Studio x. are here today to discuss our 3 STEPS for URL structuring that can help your website gain, or maintain, SEO ranking momentum across Google and the other search engines.
Note: for all of these steps, you are playing the character of a hip, organic farmer who owns an Apple store. No, not like an APPLE store, but an online store specializing in organic apple varieties, for which there are TONS and TONS.
For this exercise, we'll have your URL be: www.hipfarmerwebsite.com
Okay, so you have a ton of apples you need to list on your website. You would like to have detailed pages about each apple variety, which folks will be able to order and sent to their doorstep in a matter of days. Yes, a drool-worthy concept, we know.
Anyway, there's no better way to write an initial URL structure when developing these pages than to LET YOU KEYWORDS GUIDE YOU!
You're going to need some keyword research on what performs best here for your real-life, non-Apple related company, but there are plenty of tools out there that can help.
For instance, and you already know this, but people may search for "Mcintosh apples" as "Macintosh apples," thanks to…you know…Steve Jobs. So even though it might be tempting to structure your URL, for the sake of clicks, as ".com/macintosh-apples" – you probably will get a bunch of iPhone loving folks unhappy if they find you and not the other Apple. Sure, unlikely, that you beat out the tech giant in SERPS, but possible.
You can research things like alternative spellings, as well as popularity, by using tools like Google Trends. Maybe you are short on time, being the boss and the tech person and the salesperson and more, and don't know what page to launch first to get sales rolling. Using Google Trends, you can discover that, for instance, in your home state of Connecticut, people search for GALA APPLES about 33% more than they do Mcintosh, so maybe you will consider launching that page first.
Hedge your bets and go with high volume and the most utilized versions of your product in your URL structure to optimize for maximum search engine success.
As we enter step two, you already know you want to list GALA APPLES on your website first, due to keyword search volume. But let's say…hypothetically…you are exploring selling products OTHER than apples in the future. You don't have any solid plans, but the urge to jump into the exciting world of PEACHES is something you could see yourself doing in three years from now.
By using categorically segmented URL structures, you are future-proofing yourself for expansion, AND it's also pretty good for when it comes to SEO practices.
For example: www.hipfarmerwebsite.com/apples/gala
Makes the future development of: www.hipfarmerwebsite.com/peaches/freestone/bonita
(Because YES, peaches can break down into all of those categories)
Easier to do than initially launching: .com/gala-apples
Which can subsequently result in: .com/freestone-bonita-peaches
Sure, neither choice would be outright terrible for SEO, but from a logic standpoint, when it comes to your customers, it allows for more straightforward navigation of your products from day one. It also means you have to go back to your developers less (and pay less) to restructure your website when you decide to expand. AND it means Google doesn't get confused about the contents of your pages, hopefully resulting in higher search engine results, earlier on.
When it comes to writing solid, SEO-sound URL structures, you sometimes need to think like the robots that are scanning your URL, and not always like a modern-day human.
What we mean is that superfluous or repetitive words, symbols, and emojis are NOT going to do you a lot of good when it comes to creating a URL structure that wins. Sure, these are all cute things to do and utilize in texts to your significant other, but not when designing your site.
For example, let's say there is a NEW apple on the market called "The Best &ple There Ever Was " – because, millennials.
Yes, we meant for the “&” and the emoji smiley to be there.
When listing this product on your website, writing it as:
will get you results that WORK for this product, without being overkill or using the unfortunate set of symbols that plague that hip name.
Other things to check for when cutting out the junk in your URL structure are duplicate pages, but with different cases. Sometimes you might make two of the same pages yourself, or your website might auto-generate a duplicate itself. In whatever manner it occurs, having one page read ".com/APPLES/GALA" and one ".com/apples/gala"- isn't a great practice. Stick to one case across your site.
Also, make sure to use HYPHENS --- and not underscores ____ in your URLs. Underscores signal to a computer that a two-part word is one. So even ".com/two_part" would be read as ".com/twopart" - which is, that's right NOT A WORD AT ALL, instead of the two, separate, and meaningful words they indeed are.
Last but not least, URL length is significant in cutting out the junk when creating a new page. After 512 pixels, Google will cut your URL down in search results, by rules that they will make, so keeping it brief is vital and lets YOU dictate the phrasing, not the other way around.
And that's it! We hope this was a bit of assistance to you for when you launch your new business venture. If these tips seem too foreign, or you don't have the time to work on it – that's why you have us.
Give the top SEO agency in Philadelphia, Studio x., a call or message today to get your URLs structured properly, and your new site looking dazzling!