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Domain Registration & URL Structure Tips

01/18/12 – 6:45 am | Posted By: Lienna

One of my favorite part about offering SEO services is analyzing a potential client’s website from inside and out from both an SEO and web marketing point-of-view. I love being able to point out both strengths and areas to improve. Unfortunately, there are a couple SEO elements in which it’s a lot of work and/or risky to change. Domain name and URL structure. Use these tips to pick a relevant domain name and URL structure and you’ll save yourself hard work and stress later on.

Pick the Right Domain Name

A constant SEO debate is whether to use your brand name or product/main keyword as the domain name. If yours is both- you’ve got it made. Search engines do give value to keyword matching domains, but that’s not always the most appropriate route for all businesses. First, choose the domain name that is most user-friendly. Then, determine if you can successfully add keywords in while keeping it short.

Pick a domain:

  • that’s short and memorable.
  • that’s easy to say out loud.
  • that’s free of dashes.
Other tips:
  • Register all other main TLD’s (Top Level Domains) for your domain (.com, .net, .org, etc.) Redirect those to your website.
  • Register any domains that involve keywords or services. Redirect these to your website and keep them away from competitors.

Determine Your URL Structure

Leverage your file structures to help aid your search engine rankings. In our older, out-dated post about domain names and URL structure, we used this example that still can be applied today.

You’re website sells sports jerseys. We’ll assume for this example, you sell football, baseball and hockey jerseys. Each of these categories will be the first folder off your domain.

www.brandname.com/football-jerseys

Within this category, you sell 32 NFL team jerseys. The URL will expand into another folder utilizing the team name.

www.brandname.com/football-jerseys/minnesota-vikings

The last step for the user will be selecting an individual product. This will result in the final URL.

www.brandname.com/football-jerseys/minnesota-vikings/adrian-peterson-jersey

Your final product is a very keyword rich URL that sets your page for great search engine results. The following search queries or keywords can be targeted by this URL alone.

“Adrian Peterson Jersey”

“Adrian Peterson Vikings Jersey”

“Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson Jersey”

The above URL structure is a lot more effective than ugly dynamic URLs (brandname.com/products/viewdetail.aspx?ID=3923) or event a static URL like brandname.com/products/mnvike/adrian. If you want to have the best search engine optimization, you need to utilize all on page SEO elements. Having an SEO friendly URL will support the fantastic content you’ve written for each page…. right? Plus, with URLs like these, chances are you’ll be miles ahead of competitors who are probably using dynamic or poorly written static URLs.

Hypens vs. Underscore Debate

I’m actually confused as to why this is still a debate. As stated by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, Google “joins” words separated by underscores.

Example:

/football_jerseys is read as /footballjerseys

/football-jerseys is read as /football-jerseys

A quick summary, use hypens, people! They are user-friendly and SEO friendly. A perfect combination.

Video below if you need more proof or explanation.

Takeaway: Take advantage of what you  have control over. In SEO, a lot of factors are out of your control, but domain name and URL structure isn’t. Have questions? Comment below or find me on Twitter.

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About the Author: Lienna

Lienna
Lienna is the Web Marketing Specialist at DKS Systems. She is an expert in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Online Marketing, and building a positive online web presence.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted 02/17/12 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for posting .

  2. Posted 03/21/12 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Ooohh this post has been very helpful! As new website owners, my partner and I need all the help we can get. Thank you!

  3. Posted 04/07/12 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    do you have any opinions about the latest panda changes done last month? these march panda updates have been insane. i have no clue what to do about them, what is your experience with the latest panda updates? can you give any advice?

  4. johny
    Posted 04/07/12 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Aside from the fact that there are a number of websites which also share similar kind of posts like yours, I still find myself intrigued with your writing skills. You surely have a way of enthralling your readers.

  5. emma
    Posted 05/13/12 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi
    I like ur article, but seriously there are some confusions can u guide me about domain name and url if i ask you.

  6. Posted 05/14/12 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Hi Emma, Thanks for your comment. Sure, let me know what questions you have and I’d be happy to help!

  7. emma
    Posted 05/14/12 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Dear

    So sweet of you for such an encouraging reply.Surely dear I am sending you an email for further help regarding my domain name.

  8. Ann Daniel
    Posted 08/01/13 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Great Article, Also I would like to add that it is better to avoid using dynamic URLs. Commonly, spiders tend to prefer static URLs than dynamic ones. It is possible to rank high with a dynamic URL, so it’s better if you redirect dynamic URLs to shorter, static URLs.
    Regards,
    Ann Daniel

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