URLs for Better SEO
Posted on July 7, 2012
Search engines like Google scan URLs, title tags, and other tags to glean information about what your website or blog post is really about.
What better what to communicate this than by putting keywords into your URLs? If you're not incorporating keywords into your domain name and other URLS in your website, you're missing out on web traffic, bottom line.
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Ways to optimize your URL
Begin by checking your domain name? Is it SEO rich? A yoga studio that has the word "yoga" in its domain will get more hits than one in the same city that has a generic name, and the same goes for hair salons, veterinarians, and other businesses that provide a specific service. If you're just getting started building a website, place a keyword in the domain to get off to a good start.
Of course, not everyone can start fresh with a new domain. If you have a strong presence on an existing domain, modifying that URL is not a good idea. It risks confusing clients, who may not be able to find you or may think your businesses has changed hands in some way. In this case, place keywords in sub pages and try using them in blog posts. For example, a domain of mikesrestaurant.com and mikesrestaurant.com/menu are not very descriptive, but mikesrestaurant.com/pizza effectively tells Google that your restaurant serves pizza. This can give you a boost in SERPs. If you've localized your page, users searching for pizza in your city can find your restaurant in the first pages of search results, which makes them much more likely to place that late-night delivery order with you.
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What to Watch For
Too much SEO can do harm. A search engine scans your website for keywords, but if that keyword is repeated too many times, the search engine can actually downgrade your site. So-called keyword stuffing will actually hurt your SERPs, not help them. Choosing long URLs--those over 115 characters--may get you marked down as spam.
One tip to keep URL counts down: Use hyphens instead of underscores. Underscores are counted as characters but hyphens are not! Additionally, Google ranks each work less in a long URL than a short one, so keywords hold less power. If you use query parameters in your URLs so that you can track where traffic is coming from, be wary of using too many. One is generally acceptable but multiple queries can throw search engine robots into a loop they cannot get out of.
Begin incorporating these keyword tips into your URLs, sub pages, blog posts, and other web content. You should notice increased traffic and higher SERPs, which will lead to more business over time.
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