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Many small businesses overlook a very fundamental part of their website: the URL or webpage link. It seems so simple, yet this element is often forgotten when planning the many details of a website. However, when set up correctly, a solid URL structure helps search engines understand your website better which can help with better visibility for your future potential clients who are out there searching for a business like yours. Watch the video below for the details you need.

Before Making Changes to your URLs…

Now that you know what your URLs SHOULD look like, you’re probably ready to jump in the back end of your website and make changes. Before you do that – and potentially cause a lot of problems – you’ll need to make a solid plan for redirecting your old URLs to the new, optimized links. We’ve created a blog post that addresses just that issue.

How to Set Up Redirects

Video Transcription of “SEO-Friendly URL Best Practices”

Hi there, Gwen Beren with Illuminous Marketing. Today I wanted to talk about URL best practices, because I’ve seen a lot of weird things out there, and I want to make that everyone’s set up for success when it comes to their URL structure.

One of the things that you want to pay attention to is that you want to make sure that you’re using hyphens rather than underscores in your URL. So, here I have IlluminousMarketing.com. If I was going to have SEO services, then I’m going to use a hyphen. Pretty self-explanatory, right? It’s an important thing but you would be surprised about how many people use underscores at some point, and it’s just confusing for the user, and it’s a little bit confusing for the search engines.

The other thing that you want to do is make sure that everything is lowercase. Now, I’ve set a bad example here by writing this out with a capital I and a capital M, but when you’re making your page names here you want to make sure that everything is lowercase.

In general, a browser can tell, and a search engine can tell between an uppercase and a lowercase, but there are some CMS platforms, that means content management system. There are some CMSs that would consider seo-services and Seo-Services to be different pages, which is just kooky dooks, but it is what it is. So, that’s one thing you want to make sure all lowercase all the time.

The next thing that you want to do is you want to make sure that your directory structure makes sense. So, if I got rid of this here, and I decided that I was going to have a services page, that lists a bunch of my services, SEO, social media management, content marketing, all of those things, I would want to have IlluminousMarketing.com/services/seo. And this is important because you’re telling the search engines that SEO is in the services category.

The search engines are really looking at your structure and making sure that this makes sense to users, it makes sense to search engines, everybody’s on the same page here.

I have seen some people who have over-optimized their URLs, and they want to make their URLs something like you know, like, health services, and then, something like, patient platform… don’t get confusing. Just stick to the basics… it’s helpful to use keywords within your URL when it makes sense, but if it doesn’t make sense, don’t do it. How ’bout that?

So, that’s a good tip, and it’s a good idea to just make sure that all of your URLs are looking similar, and that from an organizational perspective it just makes coherent sense.

The last thing that I wanted to talk about is something that is a little bit more technical, and probably only applies to a small handful of people, but it is subdirectories versus subdomains. A subdomain would be like if I had seo.IlluminousMarketing.com, and this would essentially act as a completely separate site from IlluminousMarketing.com, and it would be presumably dedicated to 100% SEO.

Now, this doesn’t really make sense from my perspective for this type of scenario, because this is definitely a service. If this was, say a franchise, and we were working with businesses trying to recruit people for franchise opportunities, then something like this, franchise,… like this would make sense. franchise.IlluminousMarketing.com. And then, this would be information only about franchise opportunities, but if I was again talking about services, and maybe the locations that I have for IlluminousMarketing.com, then I would use a subdirectory, which is kind of what we just talked about with your URL structure. So, locations, and then San Diego, SD, San Diego, however you want to put it in lowercase, not an uppercase, there you go.

So, this is a subdirectory, that was a subdomain. For most cases, it’s going to be a good idea to go with a subdirectory, unless you want to have a separate website with separate content that is slightly different than your subdirectories that are all going to roll up to your main domain. That’s a little bit more of a complex idea to grasp, but it’s very important to think about if you are someone with multiple locations or someone with multiple areas of your business.

I hope that was helpful. I’m Gwen Beren with Illuminous Marketing, you can find out more at IlluminousMarketing.com, thank you and have a great day.

Gwen Beren

Author Gwen Beren

Gwen Beren is founder and CEO of Illuminous Marketing, Inc. in Southern California. She is passionate about SEO, social media, and voice search, as well as how consumers adapt to emerging technologies. Follow her on Twitter @IlluminousGwen.

More posts by Gwen Beren

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