If you're trying to reach new customers online, one of the most critical objectives for your website is toincrease organic traffic. While generating this kind of traffic isn't challenging, it does require constant optimization and attention to best practices. You need to fine-tune every website page or blog post to ensure it has the best possible chance to rank.
However, this constant content pruning and adjusting can be overwhelming. It's easy to forget the smaller aspects of SEO that seem insignificant, but over time, can severely impact whether or not you bring in that valuable website traffic. One of the most important, yet commonly overlooked aspects of SEO are your URLs, which together, build the backbone of your entire site.
The Secret of SEO Friendly URLs
I've always had an interest in ants, and how little-by-little, they build incredibly impressive structures. Every little bit of dirt, wood, or material matters, even though each bit is minuscule. It builds up into something structurally sound.
I like to think of creating URLs in the same way. One poorly written URL doesn't seem like a big deal, but over time, a lot of poorly written URLs accumulate. Before long, it's impacting your SEO because the consistency and structure aren't there.
That's why we pay close attention to every URL we create and have aninternal linking strategyto keep our entire team on the same page. When it comes to creating these SEO friendly URLs, there are a few simple steps you can incorporate into your processes.
#1. Choose Your Domain Strategically
For now, people trust the traditional "dot com" over dot-biz or dot-co. Around77.6% of 25-34-year-oldstrust dot-com because of the familiarity over other extensions and because of this, companies typically comply with the preference. Nearly87.4% of startupswho got Series A funding chose a dot-com domain, rather than taking a risk with dot-io or dot-co.
However, if you need to sacrifice a unique name to stick with dot-com, it's not worth it. Accordingto Google, the inclination towards dot-comwon't last forever.
"New TLDs will eventually be as common as traditional domain endings,so getting one now is a chance to be on the leading edge of the trend before they’re taken. On the flip side, there may still be a few people who are unfamiliar with new endings and who default to typing in “.com.” -Google Domains
HTTPS is becoming more relevant, and now, it'seven a ranking signal for Google.Why? Because Google is prioritizing sites that are less prone to attacks to protect web visitors. Visitors are also becoming savvier about online security, and know they may be at risk when they visit a website that'sstill using HTTP.
"HTTPS helps as much today as it will tomorrow.The lock icon on your browser that indicates a site uses HTTPS may be minuscule, but the protection it affords is significant."- Mike Shem, Engineering Lead at Qualys
Without HTTPS, any data that passes across a connectionis insecure.That means personal data, financial data, and more. To keep your URLs SEO friendly, switching over to HTTPS should happen sooner, rather than later. You can get an SSL certificate fromGo Daddy,Comodo,and more.
#3. Natural Links Breed Trust
When writing a URL, you want to use natural language and keep it short. Google will scan your URL to assess what the subject matter is, so you want to make the URL easy to understand. To avoid confusion,avoid stop-wordssuch as "you," "and," etc.,cut out unnecessary words,don't be repetitive, and don't use special characters like an ampersand.
While your URL isn't a huge ranking factor,it's useful for your reader.Readers will take a glance and assume what the content of the article by your URL, so it should provide context. You should use your focus keyword within the URL, and keep it as short as possible.
"Every time you launch a page on your domain, it should have a purpose.Whether transactional, informational, or administrative, its reason for existence should be clear at the outset."- SEJ
You may want tocreate a URL strategyor set nomenclature for your website URLs to ensure consistency throughout your blog posts and pages. This way, whenever anyone on your time creates a URL, it's similar in style to the existing URLs on your site. It also prevents needing to go back and edit URLs later, which puts you at risk of breaking external and internal links.
#5. Longer URLs Dilute Keywords
Keyword stuffing applies to URLs, too. If you use too many keywords, words, and symbols, your URL will be less impactful, not more. As a result, your target keyword won't be as prevalent, and it will impact the potency of your link.
Think of it as lemonade. The best lemonade uses an even ratio of simple ingredients, such as water, ice, lemons, and sugar. If you start adding extra sugar or lime juice to jazz it up, it takes away from the simplicity and dilutes the flavor. It's the same as the "ingredients" of your URL.
Overall, there are a lot of things to orchestrate if you want to establish long-term traffic trends. We wrote an entire guide to improve your online traffic, with twelve tactics that help us sustain month-over-month growth. Learn how to send the right SEO signals to Google and finally master organic traffic with this free download,The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Organic Website Traffic.
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.