Keywords and URLS

The First Thing We See: Get the Most Out Of URLs

If you’re building a site, giving it a renovation, or just adding content, you want to make sure that it’s accessible to both the visitors who come by and the web-crawling search engines.  One of the most important ways that you can do that is by choosing a descriptive URL. Ideally, your URL will act as the first indicator of what to expect on a particular page in the way of content.  So let’s check out four of the most important things to remember about choosing your URL.

Short and Simple

Simple URLs are often most effective—just use the URL to say what will be on the page.  There’s no need to try to get too flashy or imaginative, especially when sales might be on the line.  Use words and avoid using numbers or symbols that might confuse both potential visitors and the search engines. And while you’re trying to keep your URL straightforward, distill it some as well.  A short, direct, accessible URL will stay memorable.  Try to describe exactly the content that people will find in four syllables or less.

Keyword Spike

Your URL is the main gate of your entire website operation.  It is a featured part of every page and it’s one of the first things a visitor or web crawler sees.  This is literally the best time to integrate a keyword into anything on your site.  Expect the keyword you use to spearhead the rest of your SEO measures, but don’t think that a keyword in a URL will carry the site. Also, on the other side of the coin, don’t misuse a keyword or mislabel your site.  If a keyword in your URL actually represents the opposite of what your site is about, you will be penalized by search engines.

Case Sensitivity and Preferred Punctuation

Did you know that URLs are case sensitive?  Most often, your browsers will convert upper case characters in a URL to lowercase characters.  And usually it’s best to just use lower-case in your URL so you don’t hit any snags. If you do use uppercase letters in your URL for some reason, make sure you have a good webmaster who can setup 301 redirects.  A 301 redirect functionally helps to stop some of the confusion that might be caused by upper-case usage, and it definitely helps to curb some of the web crawler errors that might also come up. Another thing to keep note of is that underscores (the ‘_’ symbol) aren’t a good option for separating words.  If you do want to separate words for some reason, use a hyphen.  Ultimately, this switch-out is for the benefit of potential visitors—it makes the URLs easy to read and distinguish.

Override Your CMS

Some content management systems (CMS) generate URLs for your different pages that have crazy things like special characters and weird scripting.  This stuff has literally nothing to do with any of the content on your page—and that’s unacceptable.  It won’t help you bring in visitors or interact with web crawlers, and these bizarre hieroglyphs are almost impossible to type into an address bar.  Hope you didn’t want to go straight to the page!  Change that URL to something people can read.

How you handle your URL is really important to how your site interacts with people, as well as search engines.  Do you have any questions about how to handle a URL centered situation?  Leave a reply or set up a free consultation with an Online Marketing professional.

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