5 Things to Remember About URLs and SEO

One thing that I find most of the time when reviewing a site is that their “seo friendly urls” are anything but SEO friendly.  Because of this I wanted to go over 5 things you should look for with your own urls to help improve on your own SEO efforts.  Although there is a lot more to what I am writing here, and many more url issues you can run into, here are 5 url issues that you may want to think about when evaluating your sites SEO and why you may or may not be ranking.

1.  Do all of your urls redirect to each other?  Google considers a url with a capital letter the same as one with a lower case letter.  If both versions exist without a redirect to the other, you have now found a situation with your own site’s pages competing with each other and an exact duplicate copy of your pages and content.  You want to make sure that you only have one version of each url live on your site and any others need to redirect to it.  (I wrote this point to be a little tricky to read on purpose).

2.  Do you have keywords in your url?  Many people still don’t use permalinks with keywords in their urls.  Others use random letters and characters in their urls instead of keywords and phrases.  Your url is a great way to help add in the keywords and keyword phrases that are important for that page.  Make sure you have static pages with keyword rich, but not spammed urls.

3.  How long is your url? The more folders you have, the less relevant the keywords and page is.  The longer your url gets, the worse off it is for the search engines (SEs) as well.  Try to keep your urls short, with as little folders in between as possible and also try to keep them to the point with your keywords and modifiers.

4.  How many urls are dynamic and how many are static?  If all of your urls can only be found by doing a search on the site, guess what, SEs cannot crawl them unless someone has linked to a search result.  Make sure that if your site is 100% dynamic you also have static versions of your urls that exist and that they are all in the sitemap and also exist through your navigation.

5.  Are you using dashes or underscores?  It seems like dashes have won the dashes vs. underscore battle, so ask yourself why you are running urls with underscores if you know this?  Many sites still separate words with underscores instead of dashes and sometimes end up loosing their SERPs without an explanation.  I used to test both around 6 or 7 years ago but for the last 5 have stuck with dashes instead of underscores.  I also don’t always recommend stuffingwordstogetherinyoururl.html if you cannot decide on which ones to use.

Those are five of the most basic things that you need to look for when going through your urls for SEO.  If you don’t have these 5 things covered, you have bigger issues than you think and need to revisit SEO 101.  URLs are very important to how well you rank and urls are something that can definitely help you in a competitive market with big players and high authority sites.  Go through your own site to check on these 5 things with your urls, and then go through your site again and look for other SEO URL mistakes.

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