In real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. As it turns out, a web page address – it’s URL – is also an important key to success. While working to create great titles, copy and internal linking structure on your website, don’t forget to pay attention to your page URLs – all of them.
As the first-generation of online businesses matures, most of us know at least the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of using keywords in titles, headings and page copy. And online businesses put a lot of thought, money and effort into creating a memorable, easy-to-find domain name so that potential and returning customers can easily find them.
But did you know that every one of your website URLs can provide important attention-getting opportunities, and that poorly-structured URLs can actually drive potential site visitors away? Optimizing URLs can be a hassle, but the payoffs are greater visibility and better click-through rates.
At Working Person’s Store, we’re constantly working to identify ways to make the most of our URLs. Here are five things we’ve learned:
- Keep it short. A long string of unintelligible numbers and codes is unfriendly, discourages clickthrough and can even direct the searcher’s eye to the next listing in the search list.
- Use keywords. The right keywords can be as effective in your URLs as in your page copy; in fact, the URL is often weighted even more than the page content. The point is that you use the words most people would use to find what you are posting.
- Use hyphens to separate words. Separate words so that search engines can easily parse them. You can use symbols like % or +, but a hyphen is more natural and less code-like. Why not use an underscore? We hear that Google does not recognize underscores as word separators which is what was commonly used a few years ago.
- Use lowercase letters only. Case-sensitive URLs can wreak havoc on the ability of search engines to find and index the information you’ve placed in your URLs. Keep everything lower case and avoid the risk.
- Don’t store session information – or any other extra information – in your URLs. In addition to confusing people and search engines, the extra info is just plain ugly. Your visitors should know exactly what the page addresses by just looking at the URL.
Bottom line? Stop thinking of URLs as mere addresses for your landing pages and unleash their marketing power by making them effective, friendly, and inviting.