Keyword placement is given too much attention in SEO marketing and in the creation of online articles that other factors that also contribute to ranking and online reputation seem to be unaccounted for. The truth is, URL also plays a vital role in the ranking of a website because search engine algorithms are designed to consider URL name and structure as detected by web crawlers.
In this article, you will be presented with various issues on URLs and their influence to the ranking of websites in search engine results pages (SERPs).
1. Length of URL
In comparative data, shorter URLs rank higher in SERP because they are read better by crawlers. From a practical point of view, shorter URLs are also more apt to attract internet users because they can easily figure out what a page is all about just by simply looking at the link. Remember that URL appears under a webpage title/website name whenever a search is done.
When it comes to link building and off-page optimization, shorter URLs also have higher chances of being clicked, copied and pasted, shared and bookmarked. Be conscious of how your readers and other possible visitors think about links, so that you can understand their preferences.
2. Keyword in URL
Do you have to place a keyword in URL? That is a yes! But where should you place the keywords in the URL exactly?
This is a matter of URL structure that is often left out because the keyword placement within an article is concentrated on more. It can help in the discovery of a website if the keyword is placed as close as possible to the domain name.
For example, instead of using www.example.com/folder/subfolder/keyword, it will help the webpage to be crawled easier if the URL is structured as www.example.com/keyword. You need link restructuring for that.
3. Subdomain vs. webpage
Is it smarter to use a subdomain in housing an article or should it go directly as a webpage under the root domain?
There are evidences that search engines tend to favor the use of pages or subfolders in publishing posts over the use of subdomains. Most blogging platforms do not really give you this headache, but if you are running and managing your own website from scratch, this is an important matter that you should always keep in mind.
4. Word separation
Surprisingly, this is a common area of mistake in online publication and website registration that many amateur bloggers and novice website owners commit.
When you register a website or start your own blog under Blogger, WordPress, Live Journal and other popular platforms, it is advisable that you spell the root domain name in one word, like in the case of www.examplename.blogspot.com rather than www.example-name.blogspot.com. The same rule applies to purchased root domain names that are not under any platform.
However, the same cannot be said for URLs of webpages within a website. Hyphen is still considered the best word separator of keywords within URLs, like in the case of www.examplename.com/how-to-stay-young rather than www.examplename.com/howtostayyoung or www.examplename.com/how_to_stay_young.
You should be aware of this URL structure requirement if you want your website to rank high.
5. URL cloaking
Cloaking in its basic sense is considered as a black hat practice, a manipulative way of presenting something else to internet users other than what web crawlers actually detect. You can get penalized for this.
However, it is a different matter if it is URL cloaking that is being talked about. URL cloaking simply means “beautifying” the URL of your webpage using link cloakers. You can use the improved links for link building strategies, like when placing links on social media walls.
For instance, instead of leaving www.example.com/ r.cfm?B=242693&U=865863&M=28169&urllink= on your Facebook wall, you can cloak it to become www.example.com/how-to-stay-young. There is no manipulation involved; only you made the link understandable.
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