Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Internet Marketing
The URL is more important than you’d probably think when it comes to SEO and usability. After all, it shows right there along with the meta title and meta description that you so carefully crafted in a search result. It seems kind of silly to have a perfect looking title and description and a URL that looks like junk. The URL can contribute towards a user’s decision to click on the link or not. If it’s easy to understand and accurately conveys what’s on the page, users will be more likely to click.
Here are some URL no-no’s to avoid:
Hopefully it’s not too late, but this needs to be thought of from day one when you register for a domain. It’s OK to use a company name as the domain as long as it includes a keyword that at least somewhat explains what the site is about. For example, our website is www.brickmarketing.com. People get that we are a marketing company. If the name of your company doesn’t clearly explain what you do, your domain shouldn’t just be the company name. Say your company name is John Smith Associates and you sell insurance. The domain should be johnsmithinsurance or jsinsurance. The URL of every page should include one to three keywords that explain the content on the page separated by dashes like jsinsurance/car-insurance.
A Jumbled Mess of Numbers
Clearly nobody is going to know what this page is about: jsinsurance/87373/7573893. The URL should always describe the content on the page so that users know if it’s a page that they should visit or not. They don’t want to waste their time clicking on it only to find out it’s not what they needed.
Your site will never rank in the search engines if the pages aren’t indexed. To know if your pages are indexed, copy and paste the whole URL into a search engine and hit search. If it shows up at the top, it’s indexed. If it doesn’t, sorry, it’s not.
Really Long Length
Keep URLs as short and concise as you can. This is best for SEO, but also makes life a lot easier. Imagine how hard it is to tell someone over the phone what page to go to if it’s ten words long? If it can’t fit on a business card, that’s a problem.
Do too many of these no-nos sound familiar? If so, you might want to think about changing the URLs of your website. Of course, this isn’t a decision to make on a whim. Changing the URL structure of a website is a huge undertaking and every CMS handles the process differently. If you decide that it would be in your best interest in the long term to change them, don’t forget to 301 direct the old page to the new page. That will preserve as much SEO and link power that the old pages had as possible.