At the very beginning of all SEO efforts is often the URL structure of a website. But although the topic is very important, I have found little resources on this topic. Today there is a basic article by me with the topic “9 things that you need to know about URLs and SEO”.
#1 The right domain name
Some of our customers have already experienced it: Before we even started working for them, the domain name had to be changed. Unfortunately, it is often the case that you get the name of a company at the very beginning before you really start working. You’re already thinking about that, but usually not much about marketing.
Keyword domains are still sometimes recommended, but not at any price. Personally, even if I had the keyword domain, I would prefer my brand name. Take a short, catchy and company-appropriate name without dashes and a .de domain. If the name does not tell you so much in the beginning and does not arouse any emotions, then that’s not bad – even with you, the branding takes a while until it works. After two months, things certainly look very different.
Everything else about domain names can be found in article 9 Tips to find a domain name for your company.
#2 Talking URLs
URLs should be short and “talk” to the user. This means that without context, you know what the URL is about. Seokratie.de/mobile-usability/ is about – well? Right, mobile usability. On Otto.de/schuhe/damenschuhe/ you can probably buy women’s shoes. Not so good, however, if the URL example shop.de/?productid=1234 means. Here, neither Google nor the user can assess what it is – unless you actively visit the site.
Benefits of speaking URLs
- You can immediately see what the URL is about (eg also in print advertisements).
- Users prefer to click on speaking URLs rather than cryptic ones.
- If someone links you only with URL, you have your keyword automatically in the link text.
- Speaking URLs appear in the search results in the snippet.
- Talking URLs make your page visually and algorithmically relevant.
Conversely, nothing really speaks against speaking URLs, except “the content management system / the developer can thus not be implemented.” In this case, find out exactly why this should not work and dare calmly question the will or competence of your developers.
#3 Short URLs
URLs should be as short as possible. So write best not Beispielshop.de/hier-kannst-du-ganz-tolle-luftmatratzen-kaufen but simply example_shop_luftmatratzen. Some plugins and extensions have the function to remove so-called “stop words” from the URL. Stop words are then, for example, the the, or, also, and. Unfortunately, then, for example, from / not-here-click / just / click/, so you should always manually adjust the URLs or at least should use good automated rules.
#4 Shortly a few words on special and special characters:
- Ö, Ä, Ü you should as a precaution even today with OE, AE, UE write.
- Single words should be separated by a hyphen “-“. But today Google also reads the underscore “_” like a hyphen.You should avoid spaces, because many browsers write% 20 instead, which does not look nice.
- Other special characters such as commas, question marks or brackets you should avoid.
#5 Avoid keyword spamming
Instead of Beispielshop.de/luftmatratze-luftmatratzen-kaufen-online-shop use a short URL with one or at most two keywords. Keep in mind that the URL is often the first thing users see – and no one likes to click on content that looks spammy. If your domain name is already a keyword domain, then the keyword may not be used twice. Luftmatratzen.de/luftmatratzen looks spammy.
#6 Only use directories if they organize the website thematically
The landing page of Ebay on the topic “Ski” has the following URL: Ebay.de/b/Alpin-Skier-und-Ski-Bindungen/42814/bn_16577088. Google wants you to create directories by topic, not technical finesse. It sure has a good technical reason why Ebay needs the / b / directory, but Google does not like it that much.
Generally, the page hierarchy should be as flat as possible. You should leave it with one, at most two directories. These directories should logically organize your URLs. Ebay shows its structure very nicely in the breadcrumbs on the corresponding page: “Sport> Skiing & Snowboarding> Alpine Skiing> Alpine Skis and Ski Bindings.” Unfortunately, the URL is two levels above the landing page Ebay.de/rpp/ski snowboard and thus has nothing to do with the directory / b / more.
#7 Each URL should only exist once
Each of your URLs should ideally exist only once. Here are the most important tips:
- Make sure that your domain is only accessible under one version: http://Domain.de, https://domain.de, http://www.domain.de and https://www.domain.de can four be different versions of the same domain. All other versions should redirect to the only true version – there can be no exceptions here!
- Filtering and sorting functions in online shops often generate URLs with parameters that are very similar, such as exampleshop.com/shoes and exampleshop.com/shoes?sortment=price. If you do not want this URL to be confused with your main URL, use Canonical Tag!
- If you do not want to index content, but the Canonical tag does not fit for some reason, then use the “Noindex” directive in the head area of the page, not robots.txt. For advanced users, I recommend the article Indexing Control by Felix.
#8 Do not use subdomains unless you really want to disconnect
Webmasters usually add subdomains only if they are very different from the main page and have a completely different theme. That’s why Google usually treats subdomains like standalone domains. So if you publish content on your site to get positive user signals, you should do that in a directory. Otherwise, it can happen that your blog has very good rankings, but not your actual website. Subdomains only make sense to me if you have several completely separate areas (such as subcontractors) or, in the case of internationalization. Here it makes sense to use a subdomain in the format http://en.shopname.com for the German section of an international website.
# 9 Try out bug URLs
Sometimes you can type in a broken URL and it works anyway. This is not good and causes duplicate content. If you are working on a trailing slash at the end, see if the version works without slash. Seokratie.de/seitenpaginierung / should go, Seokratie.de/seitenpaginierung should forward to the first version or vice versa. If you work with parameters, hang on nonsensical parameters and try out whether a URL works that way and which Canonical tag it ejects.
The most important ranking factor ever according to John Mueller
As promised, here’s the resolution. John Müller was asked yesterday (once again) what would be the most important ranking factor. He broke it down in one word: “awesomeness”, in English “magnificence”. How right he is!🙂