How to Properly Structure Your Site URL for SEO

url iconAvoid duplicate content on your site

I’ve come across so many small business owners who felt it would be OK to copy and paste content from a competitor’s site and use it as their own. This is absolutely not OK. I don’t care what industry or niche you’re in, don’t do it! In fact, it could get your site penalized or banned if most of your content is copied from other sites. Google is smarter than that. They know who put up their page first. They’ll compare the two or more pages with the same content and decide which one is the original and which ones will be counted as duplicate content.

When building links to your site, make sure to use the same URLs each time

If you don’t understand why, you should read about canonical URLs first. Canonical URLs not only pose a duplicate content issue, but it also works against the purpose of SEO, which is to OPTIMIZE. Here’s an example. Suppose you have eight URLs that go to the same content, like so…

From one page, you could potentially end up with many duplicate pages if you are not careful. In the eyes of Google, these 8 URLs are seen as 8 separate pages even though the content is exactly the same. Why? Because each URL is a ever so slightly different from the next. Google will interpret 7 of these 8 pages, as duplicate content. Now, suppose you start publishing some great content that people want to link to. Unaware that you have multiple versions of the same page, your readers start linking to you. So, you may get some people linking to the 1st version, some others to the 2nd version, some others to the 3rd, and so on. When this happens, you are splitting your backlink power into 4 separate destination pages, as opposed to funneling all of the link juice into one standard version. Imagine how much stronger your rankings would be if all your backlinks were pointing to one standard version of URLs.

Avoid ugly dynamic URLs

I’m sure you’ve seen those long URLs that have a bunch of weird characters and symbols in them. Here’s an example:$%–/thread.php?threadid=11111&sort=date. These types of URLs are called dynamic URLs.

There are several reasons why you should avoid dynamic URLs:

  • They’re ugly. People are less likely to click on a link that looks ugly versus one that is clean and has relevant keywords.
  • They’re hard to remember.
  • Less people would be willing to link to dynamic URLs.
  • Excessively long URLs may not get indexed by the search engines. There is some debate about this in the SEO community. According to Google, they have no problem indexing dynamic URLs.
  • It may pose a problem when you go into your analytics to find a bunch of ugly URLs.

How to fix dynamic URLs

You can rewrite your URLs to look like static URLs. By rewriting URLs you can make them look “pretty” and legible. For example: As you can see, there are no weird symbols or characters in the URL – just clean keywords, a dash and a file name. To get this implemented, you’ll need the help of an experienced programmer to get it set up properly.

Include keywords in your URL

It won’t make or break your rankings, but including keywords in the URL has been known to be a small factor of SEO. Also, having keywords can help improve your click through rate (CTR) because those keywords in the URL get bolded in the search results.

These are the main reasons why URL structures are so important for SEO. Let me know if you have any questions about URL structuring.

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