Advice on best URL for SEO


(debbie kendall) #1

So I am working through the excellent Rapidweaver SEO course and going through my website making sure I have the best URLs for SEO purposes. As I understand it the best URLs should be:

Keyword appropriate
Short and simple
Describe the content of the page
Informative and readable by humans and bots

I am an artist and my work is inspired by dogs. One of the things I create is a personalised poem and illustration of people’s dogs - called “Hounds in Verse”. So the dilemma I have when creating the URL for this page is regards keywords - a possible URL of www.website/hounds-in-verse doesn’t really contain any searchable keywords that would lead people to my page (they are more likely to be searching for “bespoke dog portrait” or something similar) but it does reflect the name of my page… otherwise I could go for something like www.website/bespoke-dog-portrait-poem which is a much better description and keyword rich but doesn’t reflect the actual name of the product… what do you think please??? :slight_smile:
@ben


(scott williams) #2

It’s always best to think of your visitors ahead of Google.

If you build a site and pages that are easy to navigate, and have relevant information for the visitor, Google will index them. The url is just one of many pieces. Your page Title and subtitle tags and your page description will go a long way as well. Look at each page as a “brochure”:

As an high level example:
Page Name (url) - Dog-Portraits
Page Description: (keywords in here) "Bespoke dog portraits with verse, the perfect gift for a dog lover. Our custom dog portraits with a poem make a perfect, one of a kind home decorating piece for the dog lover.
Title (Bespoke Dog Portraits WIth Poem)
Sub Section - (Hounds in Verse) (Collies in Verse) - i’m guessing here…
Alt tags (every image should have an alt tag use keywords)

No one knows exactly how Google “weights” the different pieces that make up a web page but, they have hinted that content and user experience are more important than technical bits unseen by the visitor.


(Jannis from inStacks Software) #3

(ben) #4

Have you got to the keyword research lessons yet? If not, I would suggest watching those first.

Then it’s probably not the best url — you need to consider what people are going to search for (this is covered in the keyword research lessons).

If it describes the product and matches keywords that you know/think people will search for, then this is the better url.

Sidenote: could you change the name of the product to something more keyword rich and descriptive? Just an idea :slight_smile:

Sidenote 2: have you considered getting a domain name with some keywords in, e.g www.bespokedogportraits.com

Sidenote 3: have you considered folders and sub-folders, so you could organise your site into “categories”, something like:

/dogs/portraits/
/dogs/portraits/hounds-in-verse

I’m just thinking out loud, without having seen your site or amount of content you have.

If you have any other questions, let me know :slight_smile:


(debbie kendall) #5

Hi @ben

Thanks so much for your helpful replies

I have done the keyword research using the Moz account - excellent!

I am an artist printmaker who does dog inspired prints. My website (theenlightenedhound.com) has been up an running for about 4-5 years and has almost 60 pages/subpages. Too late now to change the domain name! It performs quite well if you search for specific terms e.g. Beagle print but most people aren’t that specific - they generally don’t know they want a print, they just know they want something doggie or beagle-y… and my brand isn’t well known.

My Moz research shows more general terms like ‘dog art’ and ‘gift for dog lover’ or ‘beagle gift’ are more common than ‘beagle print’ and this is what I want to focus on improving - being found by people looking for dog gifts. This means that I’ll be changing the URL and browser title and meta description for all my pages.

Your advice on my other question re Folder and Filenames and having to do a 301 re-direct on all my 60 pages (if I change them all to naming folders and filename as index.php) worried me… so I am thinking I’ll stick with keeping the folder field as / and change the URLs via filenames e.g. hounds-in-verse.php to dog-poem-pet-portrait.php - Would this mean I wouldn’t have to do the redirect 301s for all the pages if I change the URLS via new filenames and leave the folders as / ?

As you say, new pages could be named via folders (with a filename of index.php) as and when they are added… assuming its OK to mix the two formats in the same website??

Re your Sidenote 3 above… I have added subpages to the structure of the website but I believe that because I chose to name the folder field / and create the URLs via the filename that they are not treated as subfolders in the URL… for example what might work as prints/dog-breed-prints/beagle

…would be 3 pages if named by filename - something like this -

Prints: gifts for dog lovers.php
Dog Breed Prints: /dog-breed-gifts-prints.php
Beagle: beagle-gifts-prints.php

If I were to try and get the keywords I want into a URL with subfolders it might get rather long - in this case something like www.theenlightenedhound.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/dog-breed-prints/beagle-gifts
so perhaps I am also better off from an SEO keyword point of view sticking with naming URLs via the filename? What do you think?

I am also confused about naming folders of subpages… In the SEO course there was a quick bit on this where you added /location/brighton to the folder field but I keep seeing stuff on RW forums about never adding the / to the folder field… so in future, if I go the folder route and name the folders as follows (with no /) :

main page folder name: dog-gifts
sub page folder name: breed-prints
sub sub page folder name: beagle-gifts
and filename for all these as index.php
does RW automatically create a URL of www.website.com/dog-gifts/breed-prints/beagle-gifts?

Really appreciate your help - The SEO course is well worth the money!
I am learning loads :slight_smile:
Debbie


(ben) #6

If you change either the folder name or filename, the URL for that page will change. In both cases you would want to setup a 301 redirect so the old URL is redirected to the new one.

Yes, you can mix and match as you like.

That’s correct. When you set the folder name to / you are telling RapidWeaver you want it to publish the page at the root of the domain, and not within the parent folder.

Did you know that you can enter whatever folder path you like in the folder field? You don’t have to create a page for each folder. This mean that if you wanted the url to be /dog-gifts/breed-prints you would enter the following in to the page inspector:

  • Folder Name: /dog-gifts/breed-prints
  • Filename: index.php

Note: I have added a / at the beginning of the folder name, meaning the page be published to the root of your domain.

I’d say that URL is perfectly fine (good even!), I might try and remove duplicate keywords though, maybe www.theenlightenedhound.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/breed-prints/beagle

As I’ve mentioned above — the reason you would add a / to the beginning of the folder name is if you want to publish the page (or folder structure) to the root of the domain.

If you don’t add a / at the beginning the page / folder structure will be published within the parent page’s folder.

One advantage of using a / is that you gain complete control over the folder structure for the page.

Having said that, in most cases you would want to not add a /, you’d publish the page within the parent page’s folder — this keeps things simple for you, and means if you were to ever change the parent page’s folder name, the child page(s) would automatically be re-published to the new folder.

I hope that makes sense, it’s a little complicated to explain here — perhaps I’ll do a quick video later this week to explain it better.

Keep in mind that SEO is tricky, it takes some time, you’re going to have to tweak things as you go and be patient. Good luck :slight_smile:


(debbie kendall) #7

Hi Ben
Thank you again for your time in replying.

So I have to do a 301 redirect however I change the URL, so I might as well get the URL name into the folder field and rename the filename to index.php. as recommended by RW.

I have been trying to find out about how to do the 301 redirect… I understand this is something I need to change via the .htaccess file with my service provider - not by adding code to the Rapidweaver project - is this right? I guess this isn’t covered in the SEO course videos?

As a newbie I would have ignorantly changed the folders/filenames without knowing about the necessity for a redirect - It seems that you suddenly need to become very proficient in website development (doing the 301 redirect) as a result of changing something seemingly innocuous! :frowning:

Thanks for all your help re the naming of folders and files -

Just to make sure I understand it correctly - If my target keyword phrases are “gifts for dog lovers”, “dog breed prints” and “beagle gifts” then I might name my folders as follows:

main page of RW project called "gifts for dog lovers"
page added to RW as a subpage of “gifts for dog lovers” called "dog breed prints"
page added to RW as subpage of “prints” called “beagle gifts”

So… with no “/” in folder field, RW creates folders and sub-folders in the URL according to how they are added to the project as pages/sub pages… so
main page folder: gifts-for-dog-lovers
filename: index.php
URL would be seen as: www.website.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers
sub page folder: dog-breed-prints
filename: index.php
URL would be shown as: www.website.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/dog-breed-prints
sub sub page folder: beagle-gifts
filename: index.php
URL would be shown as: www.website.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/dog-breed-prints/beagle-gifts
None of the pages are root directory
Is this correct???

But putting full keyword phrases into the folder names creates long URLs with keyword duplication… which leads me to your comment [quote=“ben, post:6, topic:14054”]
I’d say that URL is perfectly fine (good even!), I might try and remove duplicate keywords though, maybe www.theenlightenedhound.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/breed-prints/beagle
[/quote]

Before I decide which way to go I need to understand more about your this… as removing the duplicate keywords means that the actual keyword phrases are no longer there - though the words that make up the phrases are all there… so is it good enough for SEO purposes to have the words of the keyword search terms present in the URL (i.e. gifts, dog, prints, beagle, dog lover) even though they are not presented in the actual searched-for phrase (gifts for dog lover, dog breed prints, beagle gifts)?

If that’s OK then I can simplify the folder names and let RW sort out the URL hierarchy

…but if its better to have the actual whole keyword phrases in the URL (and naming folders with whole keyword phrases creates long URLs with duplication of words) - then it would be better to name each page at the root to maintain the whole keyword phrase but keep the URL shorter… as per your comment below

Apologies if I’m overthinking this or being a bit slow!
your help is much appreciated
best wishes
Debbie


(ben) #8

You don’t have to, but I’d suggest that you do — it tells google that the page’s url has been updated, and it’ll redirect anyone with the old url to the new one.

I can’t remember off the top of my head if I cover redirects in the SEO course — we do have an individual video available on the RapidWeaver Community site that covers this though: https://rapidweavercommunity.com/tutorials/advanced-topics/simple-htaccess-tips

It’s not as scary as you might think :slight_smile:

We I’m just giving you best practices — it depends on your site, how well indexed it is, how many links to pages have been shared on social media, etc.

If you’re site isn’t ranking well in google, and/or it’s not been shared a lot, then you might not need to worry about broken links. Keep in mind though, that if you rename a page, the old page on the old url will still exist on your site — RapidWeaver does not delete anything from your server.

This would mean that if an old page on your site shows up in google search results, or if someone has bookmarked it, they would see the old page — not good.

This is why you’ll probably want to setup the redirects. (you can often do this via your hosts admin panel).

Yes :slight_smile:

I can’t give you a definite answer — it depends on many things. The best I can tell you is to try and be natural. Don’t stuff the url with duplicate, or as many keywords as possible — use duplication if it makes sense, and most importantly describes the page content for your visitor.

A good example I can give you is the RapidWeaver Community site URLs, especially for the video tutorial pages. I have researched and picked a couple of keywords I want to target, such as “RapidWeaver” and “tutorials”. If you look at the URLs for an single video, you’ll see something like:

https://rapidweavercommunity.com/tutorials/{COURSE-NAME}/{LESSON-NAME}
which ends up being:
https://rapidweavercommunity.com/tutorials/advanced-topics/simple-htaccess-tips

so I have “RapidWeaver” and “tutorials” in there, but not together. But the URL is nice and clean, and describes the content.

If I were to try and cram my keywords in to the url, then I might end up with something like:

https://rapidweavercommunity.com/rapidweaver-tutorials/rapidweaver-advanced-topics/simple-htaccess-tips-tutorial

That’s spammy, and ads no value in describing the content to the visitor. That’s not a url I’d want to share with anyone.


(debbie kendall) #9

Thanks so much @ben
Your patience and advice and clear answers are much appreciated… if you need a testimonial for the SEO course I’d be happy to oblige!


(ben) #10

I just published a free tutorial about naming folders / creating pretty URLs — it might help you decide how to name your pages in RW :slight_smile:


(debbie kendall) #11

Great video - thanks and especially the bit about using a sub folder without creating an actual page


(debbie kendall) #12

Could you also create a URL subfolder this way:-

Create an offsite page whose only purpose is to provide a sub folder name in the URL for the stacks pages that are sub pages of it… like this…

Top level stacks page with folder name (in RW page inspector): gifts-for-dog-lovers
Offsite sub page of gifts-for-dog-lovers (with title Original Prints ) and folder name: original-prints. Checked as visible in navigation as needed for sidebar sub menus.
Stacks sub page of Original Prints offsite page has folder name: dog-breeds
All RW page inspector filenames are index.php

So the URL of page 3 would hopefully be www.website.com/gifts-for-dog-lovers/original-prints/dog breeds

If you did it this way, though, for the offsite page, would the RW meta tags page inspector Robots checkboxes for Index this Page and Follow Links be checked or unchecked??

I guess your way is simpler! But I came up with this before I saw the video tutorial!
Debbie