In today’s blog, we are going over how to properly structure the URLs that make up your website. This is part of our basic technical SEO blog series. We keep the language simple enough that most anyone can follow along, but we also want to go in-depth so even more advanced web designers find value in our article.
Web Page Structure?
Let’s get the very basics out of the way. What are we even referring to? Let’s use ‘DomainName.com’ as the URL of the homepage of this website. One thing to note right off the bat is that it is not DomainName.com/html or DomainName.com/php, it ends in .com and that is it! It’s the homepage! And yes, this will hold true even if your site ends in something other than .com like ours ends in .design.
Hopefully, your website does have more than one page! If it does not, we strongly encourage you to make it several pages for your own benefit. It will greatly increase the chances of getting your website found in the Google search results. But, if your website has more than one page, it is going to need its own unique URL so people can visit those other pages.
Many websites have an About Us and a Contact Us page. To quickly get you the concept behind page structure, let’s use the About Us page to demonstrate this structure. There are 2 obvious names that would make sense for this page, and we urge you to make them as short as possible, whenever possible. So, you could use DomainName.com/about-us/, but we would recommend to lose the ‘us’ and simply use DomainName.com/about/.
Quick side note, technically every URL should end with a trailing ‘/’ but it is not needed for the link to work. DomainName.com/about and Domain.com/about/ will do the same exact thing…
Web Pages Under Web Pages
If there was all there was to it, there wouldn’t really be a need for this article! Whether you think it is good or bad, it does get a little more complicated these very basic addition pages on your website. And, we also wanted to quickly mention anything coming after the .com/ is referred to as the ‘slug.’
We build a lot of lawn care and landscaping company’s websites so we will use that type of website for the following examples as we think most people will easily follow this. Oftentimes lawn care companies offer more than one service. How do we properly create the page structure for this?
It is really not that hard, maybe the hardest thing is remembering to do it! What you will want to do is create a ‘master services’ page…that’s what we like to call it internally. The slug for this page will be DomainName.com/services/. We recommend you populate this page on your site with links to all of your individual services pages, but you do not have to do this. We just think that makes sense to the visitors of the website and to the search engines.
Now, let’s say this lawn care company offers lawn mowing, lawn treatments, shrub pruning, mulching, and leaf cleanup. We will only use the lawn mowing service to demonstrate, but you will see how others should be done from this one example. To properly structure these pages you will want to use this hierarchy: DomainName.com/services/lawn-mowing/
Very important note about the ‘-’ we put between lawn and mowing. That is the 100% correct way to do it. NEVER use a ‘_’ in your slug! And if you do not you the ‘-’ and simply write ‘lawnmowing’ out like that, the search engines and viewers will not get nearly as much out of it. It is also a best practice to use all lowercase letters, and the use of numbers such as ‘1’ can be in your slug as shown.
Web Page Hierarchy in a Nutshell
All this is really doing is organizing your website’s pages to make more sense to search engines and to viewers as well. Keep short and clear whenever possible. Also, keep them very relevant to what the page is about and use keywords if possible! Another thing worth noting is that the more ‘/’s’ between the end of .com and the end of your slug structure, the less weight Google puts on the pages furthest away.
Definitely do this if your business has multiple locations by using DomainName.com/locations/city-one/ and so on. Another common use may be DomainName.com/areas-served/city-1/.
Google has their own advice for URL structure if you would like to continue learning more there. It short and probably over the heads of most small business owners doing their own website work. But the first 3 paragraphs cover some of the keys points we also made in this article.