Having an optimized URL structure is an important part of your overall SEO strategy. Anyone with experience providing SEO services will agree that having a well-structured website is essential if you want to achieve the highest possible positions in search results, especially if your website is in a highly competitive industry.
If you’re just getting started with a new website, you should pay particular attention to your URL structure. This is simply because setting things up the right way from the start is a lot easier than making changes later on. But even if you have a large website with hundreds of pages, you can still put together a strategy to optimize its URL structure, then get to work on making the needed changes.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for an optimal URL structure:
Use a Single Domain-Subdomain Site Structure
Having multiple subdomains may be convenient for some webmasters, but it will also water down signals search engines receive about your site. This can reduce their overall SEO benefits. For maximum on-site optimization, having a single domain-subdomain structure is recommended.
Avoid Duplicate Content Issues and Use Canonical Tags When Needed
Having pages with content that is highly similar to what another page shows is a bad move as far as SEO is concerned. If you have two pages showing the same information, you should pick one and remove the other, replacing it with a 301 redirect.
There are times where you might need to keep both. One common example of this is printer-friendly versions of blog posts or articles. If you truly need both pages to stay up, use the rel=canonical tag. This tells search engines which page is the “preferred” one and prevents the problems often caused by duplicate content.
Keep URLs Short
Your URLs should provide a good idea of what is on a page, without going overboard. In general, every word in your URL should be useful to someone looking at it.
Use a Simple Folder Structure
Folders are useful when it comes to keeping your pages neatly organized. They can be particularly great when you need to find a page quickly while doing maintenance tasks on the back end. Despite their advantages, folders shouldn’t be overused. A website with a highly complex folder structure may look difficult to navigate in the eyes of search engines, which has a negative impact on your SEO.
Ensure Your URLs Are Close to Your Page Titles and H1 Tags
One of the first things professional providers of SEO services look at when assessing a page for on-site SEO strength is whether the URL closely matches the page title and H1 tag. An exact match isn’t required and may not even be desirable at times, but there should be a clear relationship between your URL and the title of a page when it shows up on a search engine.
Use a Keyword In Each Page’s URL
Including the main keyword in your page’s URL is helpful in giving both search engines and human visitors an idea of what a page is about. As search engines now focus on ensuring users see highly relevant content when they click on a search result, having an important keyword in every page URL helps ensure their algorithm gets it job done right.