SEO and URL Structure Relationship

If you’re closely monitoring the factors which keyword is tied in, one of which is the Internet address or URL structure of a website. It is easy to associate them in SEO because of the way search engines return search results. Keywords found in page title, META description, body text and URL structure are given emphasis through bold typeface on search results.

Some SEO experts argue that keywords must be present within the URL, while others don’t consider URL keywords as make or break factors in search engine ranking. Who says truthfully remains to be seen and I may sway from one who advocate importance of keywords as it shows in my Living in Hong Kong blog to someone who don’t care as it shows in the URL structure of this blog.

Static vs Dynamic Pages
The prevailing argument is that static pages are often preferred by search engines because they just exist without the extraneous complications of getting generated by content management systems such as multiple parameters. But it could be the other way around. Static pages may have extra parameters attached to html files, while dynamic pages may deceivingly looking like static pages. The important thing is that whether these pages are static or dynamic, extra parameters could be detrimental to the way search engines follow links and may end up as a spider trap. So let us avoid having URL structures that look like

www.site.com/index.aspx?d=22ds&e=jhkjh878732e&y=wecj3987&ys=wled

if they can actually be represented by

www.site.com/winter-clothing/wool-jacket.html

Canonicalization

This seemingly unpronounceable word brings a lot to the table. Many webmasters may be content that a page could be represented in a variety of forms:

www.site.com
site.com
site.com/index.shtml
site.com/index.shtml?preview
www.site.com/?preview

As long as the site is up, that’s enough. Search engine spiders may be happy to crawl each of these URLs but they are also dumb creatures who could repeatedly run across the same page simply because it’s masked in different URL forms as shown above.

The impact is that these URLs tend to compete with each other for ranking instead of consolidating their link popularity (as each of them gains inbound links). Only one will succeed in getting through search results as search engines will ignore the others by virtue of duplicate content. In the end, the one that succeeds gets no link popularity help from the other URLs even if they belong to the same page. Therefore, this issue must also be addressed by providing the right redirection methods.

Content Management Systems’ Role in URL Structure

Content Management Systems made life of a webmaster easier, especially if this webmaster used to manage hundreds or thousands of pages with similar template, but predictably differ on certain parts of the page. CMS made things easier so that webmasters don’t have to deal with every page in a more intimate way. S/he only had to update the contents and photos, while keeping the template in the background. This is good news. But if the CMS structure prevents URLs from providing hints to search engines what the page is all about, it may drag down the quality of such page in the eyes of search engine robots.

For example, the URL is presented as

www.site.com/index.aspx?d=22ds&e=jhkjh878732e&y=wecj3987&ys=wled

can actually be done as

www.site.com/winter-clothing/wool-jacket.html

we, humans have a better understanding of what the URL it is all about. (Note the example is the same as a few paragraphs above.) But robots are built to scan URLs and pages and analyze keywords found on them so that if they see the structure as in the first example, they have no idea what the page is all about until they visit that URL and examine its contents.

Of course relevancy comes into play so that if we thought the page contains information, details and photos of a winter clothing, specifically a wool jacket, and the content says otherwise, we can’t expect search engines to provide a good value to the whole page on phrases like winter clothing or wool jacket no matter how descriptive the URL may be.

Conclusion

URL structure definitely helps in optimizing our web pages, the same way as page titles or incoming links do. Therefore, we must also pay attention to the the element of URL structure when we build web pages.