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SEO: URL Optimization

Posted by Atish Ranjan | 54 Comments

Hey Friends! Here comes the 4th part “URL Optimization” of the series Summarized SEO World.

URL which is also called the web address stands for Uniform Resource Locator. As we locate a home with its address similarly a website also has an address which we use to locate it on the www,  that address is called URL.

If you are give a long address of someone’s home you will have to keep it written on paper as its hard remember but if its short and simple you don’t need to keep a note of it, In the same way short and simple urls are always the best because they are easy to remember.

Being a website owner you would like to have people who remember your website address but for this you need to make it easy for them by keeping it short.

Now lets understand about the Elements of a URL:-

  1. HTTP: It stands for Hyper text transfer Protocol and it the most used data transfer protocol on WWW.
  2. WWW: It stands for World Wide Web. Now days we have started using urls without www too.
  3. Domain:- Domain is the unique part of a website on www. Domains are subject to availability. You can choose any domain name such as it may be brand name or a keyword domain.
  4. TLD:- Top Level Domain. It can be .com, .in, .net, .org etc.
  5. Subdirectory:- This is the directory which is placed in your web space which consist of files.
  6. File Name:- This is the requested file or page.

    url-optimization

    <Image Credit:Searchenabler.com>

https://www.domain.com/directory/Filename

Hence it would be as:-

Http://www.example.com/category/page

I have just stated the simplest form of URL. It can be different such as

https://domain.com/page-name

https://domain.com/subdirectory/page-name

https://www.domain.com/page-name

https://domain.com/2013/2/page-name

https://domain.com/2013/2/page-name.php

etc..

It can be vary as per the webmaster’s mind. But http, domain name and TLD will always be there, they cannot be excluded.

I hope now you have an idea about the basics of URL structure. Now we will move further to discuss how we can optimize the url to make it better for users as well as Search Engines. For this we need optimize the url which is called URL Optimization.

Now lets discus what we need to do for better user and search engine friendly URLs:

Domain

Domain name is the main address of a website and the most visible part of the url. Short and simple domains are easy to remember hence always try to get a short domain. Don’t put dashes in domain name because no one likes to type a domain name with dashes which results into less direct traffic to your site. Keep it short and simple!.

In old days people used to get a domain which has their primary keywords, those kind of domains are called keyword domain. It proved to be beneficial from SEO point of view for long duration but after Google’s EMD [Exact Matched Domain] update the game has been completely changed.

Getting an exact matched domain will put you in problems hence be careful while choosing your domain name. But it doesn’t mean that you cannot use a keyword in your domain. Nothing will harm as long as you don’t overdo.

TLDs[Domain extensions]

Domain extension has nothing to do with SEO but .com is one of the most famous extensions and widely used as Compared to other extensions. If I have to choose then I will go with .com only as its my favourite but don’t think that .in, .info, .net cannot compete with .com. Extension doesn’t matter, content quality and quality backlinks matters to get great rankings in SERPs.

However, if you have a local business then I would advise you to get a country level domain. Suppose your business is in UK only then you should get .co.uk extension for your domain. This kind of country specific domains don’t get very good rankings in other countries but locally it performs very well and brings tons of local traffic which you need to earn profits.

Sub-directories

Here I want to make one thing very clear about sub-directories/sub-folders and Sub-domains. Don’t misunderstand between these. These two are completely different.

https://blog.abc.com – Here blog is a sub-domain.

https://abc.com/blog – Here blog is a subdirectory/subfolder.

Google consider sub-domains as a separate site and hence you need to do the SEO twice but in case of subfolders, Google consider it as a part of the main site hence no need to do SEO twice.

When it comes to subdirectories then we should have to keep in mind about the URL Depth. For better SEO practices you should keep less depth.

abc.com/resources/internet/search-engines/google – Bad

abc.com/search-engines/google – Good

Sub-folders structure should not be too deep as it gets crawled by SEs less frequently. Lesser depth is good and crawled by SEs more frequently. Now at the time of choosing your sub directory name consider keywords rather than using normal words.

Page Name

It comes at the last of a URL. It can be a product page or any page on your website. It would be better if you write a product name there instead of using the product number.

abc.om/phones/nokia-6300 is much better than abc.com/N-6300

It’s always nice to have some words in page name instead of having digits. One more thing, always use Dashes(-) to split words in page name as I did here (Nokia-6300). Avoid using underscore(_) and plus sign(+) here.

Note: Always avoid using parameter driven urls such as abc.com/nokia.aspx?id=2&p=447. Use some generic words or phrase so that users can guess what is the page all about by just seeing the url. It gives better user experience as if someone knows about the page and then lands there, it shows that he is really interested which results into lesser bounce rates of your site which is quite good for site’s SEO. But if the user is not able to guess anything by checking the url and click to know if the page is all about he wants then if he doesn’t find anything like that he will leave the page instantly which results into higher bounce rates which is not good for your site.

Also Search Engines don’t like the urls of this kind. Hence make use of better key phrases in the page name/product name which comes at the end of the url.

Over to you. Share your views on this topic. I would love to have informative discussion with you.

About Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is a web enthusiast and blogger who loves blogging. He enjoys the challenges of creativity by providing information from the field of technology, SEO, social media and blogging. Connect him on Google+.