Effectively Using URLs for SEO

January 11th, 2017

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is increasing in difficulty. The reasons for this are that rankings are no longer being determined by keywords/phrases found on web pages, but instead by determining user intent (semantic) and using artificial intelligence (AI). That is, search engines are trying to determine and deliver what each searcher is looking for – to improve searcher satisfaction.

Of course, far and away the greatest factor will always be what is on the pages of your website. There is also the ‘authority’ that is attached to your website as a whole. Think “Search Engine Land” vs our blog. We will never rank as highly for searches related to SEO as their site will. Make sense? There are also some social media factors and other things that have some small impact of authority and ranking.

That said, one thing we know is that our web pages rankings are definitely affected by URL strings in continuity with page content and page titles. So this post is about those URL strings.

You may have heard or read the phrase ‘long-tail’. That refers to what follows the domain name and other identifiers in the URL of a web page. Commonly a web page URL looks like www.mydomain.com/about/mission , etc. That is nice and clean, and works just fine as a URL. But we have always thought there is a better way.

Have you noticed that media outlets always seems to rank highly and always have more to their URLs? For example, here is the one that I came across today that made me decide to write about this again - http://nypost.com/2017/01/10/buzzfeeds-trump-report-takes-fake-news-to-a-new-level/ . Nevermind the page itself, the URL is the focus here. For a search engine this URL very clearly communicates what this page is about – as long as the URL, page title and content agree.

We have always been focused on long tail URLs. Here is a URL of one of our client’s ‘About’ page - http://www.bcalions.org/102/private-christian-school-chattanooga-tennessee . If you read just this URL, what is this page about? It’s clear isn’t it? This URL aligns with the page title and content to establish clear ranking signals in the pages indexed by search engines. Here’s a sample from this website - https://williamsweb.com/103.15/why-use-sitenow-for-your-website. Again, it is very clear what this page is about.

All of our clients who take advantage of the tools within SiteNow such as the Page/Social Media Titles, Descriptions and URL Descriptors, AND have clear substantive content on their webpages rank well for user searches where their sites would expect to rank. We are happy to provide the tools to make our clients visible and effective online.