Folder and URL Name Structure

Learn basic SEO

Having written good content, chosen your page title, your headings and added ‘alt attribute’ descriptions to your images the next thing to look at is your web site file structure. If like me, you are a bit untidy on a PC, this should really become something you spend time planning and thinking over carefully.

When I first created my business website, I created and saved all my web pages in the same root folder (the default location on most web hosting packages).

Choosing Folder and URL / Domain Names

As my site grew from a few pages to over a 100 it became obvious that this was a bad approach, both in terms of quickly finding a page that needed an edit and being bad SEO practice. I also did not pay much attention to the URL’s I was choosing for my new pages.

Now, several years on and hopefully much wiser I plan my web page URL’s with much more thought. I also now create directories (like desktop folders) within my website to better organise the web pages. The naming of your URL’s and web directories is another factor that can help your SEO efforts.

There is not any choice with changing the index page URL (or default page as sometimes called) but assuming you already have an established domain name you can pretty much name the rest of your web site URLs as you wish within sensible guidelines.

I would advise keeping URLs short but also informative to web users and search engines. Google does still take into account the text of a URL and domain name when returning search results, so use this to your advantage.

If a person performs a search on Google and the search phrase entered forms part of your web page URL, Google will make bold the word(s) that match when returning the results. This helps the person searching see quickly what words in your URL match their query and you are likely to get them clicking on through to your site.

URl file structure

URl file structure

The image above clearly shows how I have used a key-phrase as part of a page file name. Google has made bold the parts of my URL, description and page title that have matched the search terms.

An interesting point to note is that Google associates the word Scotland with Scottish, hence why the word Scotland is bold in my page title yet the user entered the term ‘Scottish’ in their search.

Site directory structure

Site directory structure

In this example above I have created a folder within my site structure called “Scotland”. The full page URL is now made up of the domain, folder and file names. The search term entered by the user part matches the folder name and file name.

This gives the user a clear indication of the subject matter of the URL and should increase the click through rate to your website.

Social websites such as twitter shorten URLs but as far as your website structure goes the naming of files and folders is crucial to good results with the search engines. When using applications such as WordPress, you have the option of organising your posts/pages/files within categories. The naming of these categories should follow the same good SEO practice as spoken about here.

Also, note that I have used capital letters correctly in the page title for a neater display but this is not important when performing a search online. You can also see that I use hyphens (-) in my URL’s making it easy for humans to remember and understand URL and file naming.

Author by Malcolm Oakley


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