The Keys For Perfecting The URL In Houston SEO Work
Creating the perfect URL in SEO may seem like a footnote and five-minute process and this can make a very important component of SEO success go overlooked far too often. URLs are the essential building blocks of web traffic and their use can really make or break the entire SEO campaign.
While all URLs must be created mindful of its particular task, no all the pointers listed here will apply to each URL on Each page. Your website will not be thrown on a hopeless tailspin of these are not applied to each page, these pointers are more about providing insights so that you can optimize your own practice and use URLs to their full potential.
1. Remove Extra Words
Make sure you take out all the words that are not absolutely necessary to the significance of the URL –– also known as “stop words”, this will improve the readability. This could include words like “and”, “that” as well as other extra words that don’t actually need to be there. The important rule to follow is that the URL must still be understandable to a human reader. This not only helps them to understand the subject better but improves their trust in the site.
2. Relevant Keywords
Keywords are one of the important elements that provide humans and search engines more information about the page they are on, so having a couple in the URL is a good idea. The best use is to have them describing the contents of the page itself.
Think of how often URLs must be copied-pasted when using social media or sending emails. This is because the URLs lack their anchor text, the text used in the URL is essential to understanding what will be found at the other end of a link. When you use proper anchor text with your URLs you are hitting many birds with a single stone –– the keywords you use to make it easier for the search engines to know what the content is all about so they can pass this on to those performing relevant search queries.
3. Easily Readable
Your URL will be read by both human beings and search engines. With this in mind, it is important that it is easy to understand and makes sense Your URL should inform the reader what they will find at that link. So be sure to include as many relevant keywords as possible and pull out anything unnecessary. Ideally, it should also include the domain, sub-domain and the keywords you have selected –– be sure not to make it look to spam-like because this can limit accessibility.
4. Utilize Hyphens & Underscores
The options available when looking to separate words in a URL are underscores, hyphens and nothing at all. We suggest using the hyphen option as this improves the overall readability of the URL and humans, as well as the search engines, will find it easier to understand. Underscores are another option that has risen in popularity recently since search engines are finding these easier to understand. Now that systems have been improved, hyphens and underscores are understood in the same way. Spaces are not recommended as they diminish the readability of the URL.
5. Single Domain & Subdomain
Many people disagree with placing content from subdomains into a subfolder to improve rankings. There may be times that a webmaster has no other choice and if that is the situation then go right ahead. But, if you want your website to perform especially well with the search engines you will want to keep things organized in a single root domain and subdomains. To think of this another way, practice the same logic you would use for effective website architecture –– shallow. Shallow means that there are not labyrinthine subdomains leading to netherworlds of content.
6. Canonicalize When Possible
If you end up with two identical URLs and both contain very similar content, you should consider applying a 301 redirector and cannibalizing them. Having duplicate content doesn’t actually make a huge impact on search engine ranking, but it can have an indirect effect by slicing signals between two different pages. It doesn’t occur to many people that a web page can have many different versions like a www version, a non-www version, an HTTPS and an HTTP version.
7. Exclude Dynamic Parameters
You may find it better to not use the URL parameters if you can avoid it. If you find yourself with over 2 URL parameters, you may want to consider reworking the URL so that it is static text and easily readable. There is a good chance that you rely on a content management system that is pretty quick to help out when there are many parameters. These parameters can perform functions like tracking clicks and in general, aren’t a problem except that they can make for some oddly complex URLs.
8. Match URLs & Titles
This is what all URLs and titles should look like, but some variations in the titles can be allowed. Matching the title with the URL accomplishes the important goal of improving user experience. This is the same reason that many pros will suggest making the page title and the visible headline the same. The title provides an expectation and the headlines come in with the confirmation.
9. Keep Only Essential Punctuation
It is easy to take out all punctuation from a URL and too much punctuation can make the URL confusing. Not only do they make things a little harder to read they can affect the smooth functioning of crawlers and web-browsers. Alphanumerics and a few other characters are the only ones that don’t require encoding when they are used within a URL. As a rule of thumb, just leave out the punctuation unless there is a really good reason to leave it in.
10. Limit Folders
Visible dashes separating folders are not actually a problem except that they make the site appear much deeper than it actually is –– for human readers and search engines alike. Lots of dashes can also make it more difficult to edit the URL. The rules on this point are not definitive and it will be up to the SEO adjuster to make a good judgment call on this one.
11. Restrict Redirection
Redirections are a good tool but don’t overuse them. It is pretty normal for a crawler to select URL 1 and receive a redirection to URL 2 or URL 3. But if this pattern continues for more than a mere handful of sub-links penalizations will be forthcoming. The search engine will often follow the redirects for as far as they can go but this will limit the ranking improvements you will receive and make the URLs seem less important.
12. Case Sensitivity
In general case, sensitivity is not going to be a problem, if you are using IIS or Microsoft. Sometimes trouble can arise when two similar URLs can be differentiated only by uppercase or lowercase letters, this is based on the case sensitivity of the servers in question. There is not any justifiable reason to insist on capital letters in a URL so it is best to just keep everything lowercase and avoid any problems like this.
13. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
You do want to make sure your URLs are bolstered with pertinent keywords, but you don’t want to go too far. Too many keywords will make your URLs look like spam and this can immediately incur a penalty. If this practice is used too often it will certainly ruin your SEO efforts. Only use the keywords you need for the page in question.
14. Using Tracking Parameters
Tracking Parameters are added to the URL to provide important information or say something about the page. For example, a web page may use “samplestore.com/?storeid=” to indicate the page of a specific store. But, it would be better to use something like “samplestore.com/store101”, actual descriptive words are a better option. Furthermore, try to limit the number of parameters you apply to a URL.
15. Shorter Is Better
As a rule of thumb, it is better to use shorter URLs than longer URLs. If you already have a URL with over 50 or 60 characters this is still ok. But, once your URLs are pushing higher than 100 characters, you should begin looking for ways to shorten the line. This is not an issue with search engines but with human users who will be copying and pasting these links. This way is more aesthetically pleasing and reliable.
16. One URL For Your Homepage
The home page is the most important page of the website and is also the most powerful in many ways. For this reason, it should be given a single URL. Your home page will be receiving more visitors from inbound links than any other page on your website. So it should be a simple URL with straightforward function. There should never be any links inbound to an alternative version of your main page. All 301 redirects should return to this home page if your site does include duplicate URLs.
17. Paginated URLs
Paginated URLs occur when a page that includes the listings for a category has to create more pages because the items exceed the dimensions of a single page. For example, a page that is made for a 50 item list now has 300 items to display. These paginated pages will look something like this “http://www.sample.com/white-shoes?page=1” then page 2 and so on.
The ideas and tips included here are all considered best practices but you are free to modify your approach to best suit your needs. By keeping up intelligent practices from the very beginning it is easier to make necessary adjustments in the future.
All of the above ideas can have a positive impact on your site’s ability to be indexed fast, and the list is by no means exhaustive. Call or contact SEO Houston Pros today for further information. Visit our blog for more tricks and tips for Houston SEO!