It is an enormous advantage to develop your search engine optimization strategy before the development of your Website. Best practices are to do your keyword research then develop your Website based on these results. Each Webpage should have its own SEO strategy based on targeted keyword phrases. Your competitive advantage is in developing your URL structure to match the keyword strategy for that page.
URL structure strategy includes three parts:
1. Domain Name Strategy (www.yourcompany.com).
This is the hardest part to control; but if possible you are better off choosing a domain name that includes your targeted keyword phrases instead of your company name. You can purchase your company name or brand as a second domain and point that domain to your Website. For example if you are a marketing company in Boston, from an SEO perspective it is better to use the domain www.boston-marketing-company.com instead of www.yourcompany.com. It does make sense to also purchase www. yourcompany.com and point that domain to www.boston-marketing-company.com. Google and the major search engines consider a dash (-) a space in the URL. Google sees www.boston-marketing-company.com as “boston marketing company”. You will gain a competitive advantage when a person on Google searches under a phrase such as “marketing company Boston”.
2. Subdirectory Strategy (/subdirectoryname/)
A keyword driven subdirectory can be very beneficial in gaining high search engine rankings for selected keyword phrases. This is easy for a Web developer to implement into your Website but it is best to integrate into your Website while it is being developed and not changed later. A subdirectory is a folder that you can place files into and this will become part of your URL; www.yourcompany.com/subdirectory/pagename.html. The concept is to name the subdirectory using a targeted keyword phrase that describes that Webpage or group of WebPages.
Let’s use the example of a Marketing company located in Boston. You market a variety of marketing services on your Website with each service on its own Webpage. The marketing services WebPage should be put into a directory call “marketing-services-boston”. Google sees these keywords in your URL and will help you rank higher when people search under those terms such as “marketing services in Boston”. Utilizing the domain and subdirectory strategies your URL should look like this; "www.boston-marketing-company.com/marketing-services-boston.com/pagename.html"
3. Page Name Strategy (pagename.html)
Of the threes URL strategies your page name strategy is the most important and the easiest to control. To gain high search engine rankings for your targeted keyword phrases it is critical to name the page using the keywords that best describe that Webpage.
Let’s get back to the Marketing Company in Boston example. One of your services is Public Relations and you want to attain high search engine rankings for anyone searching for Public Relations on the major search engines. Best practices are to name that Webpage describing the content and the keyword target of that Webpage. In this case the suggested page name would be “public-relations-boston.html”. Another example would be is if you offer Internet Marketing services, the page name should similar to “internet-marketing-boston.html”.
Utilizing the three URL strategies laid out above your Public Relations focused Webpage should have a URL similar to “www.boston-marketing-company.com/marketing-services-boston/public-relations-boston.html”. That URL or a similar URL will give your Public Relations Webpage a competitive advantage against competitors without a similar URL structure when a person searches “public relations in Boston”. Obviously you still have to do all the typical SEO techniques including a lot of linking but a keyword driven URL will increase your chance of being found on Google and the other major search engines.
Jason Lomberg is the SEO Strategist for Philly Marketing Labs. Please stay tuned for more SEO strategy related posts