dethemedetheme

Category : SEO

By BrianHanson

Best SEO for Blog Posts in 2017

The SEO world has changed especially in 2017. Blog posts still perform well, but there are a lot of new factors that one must consider when posting. I’ve put together this quick list to help a person who plans on creating content this year. While everything is subject to change or even becoming obsolete, what is provided here is what has worked for me recently. My best SEO for blog posts in the year 2017 list is below.

1. A Good Title is Important

You must include one keyword in your title, and preferably make it a long-tail one. All top search engines are now seeking better ways to match user queries.

Instead of just going with a generic keyword that you find, a better way to create a title is by matching your title to the question a user might ask.

Example Search: “How Much are Rental Prices in Jacksonville, FL?”
Example Title: “Jacksonville Rental Market Price Guide for 2017”

High-traffic keywords are not always the best to use.

Explore your competition in Google, Yahoo and Bing to see what is favored. Find out if a broad keyword is favored or more of a long-tail one.

Keep the blog post title 70 characters or less.

2. Content Density & Length

How far does a person have to dig into your content to find what he or she is looking for?

2017 will be an expansion of the density of your content. How good is your content? How fast can someone find what he or she wants to know?

It is OK to write 1000+ word articles, but make sure there is good content in there. It sometimes takes combining 20+ resources into one article to cover all of the bases to achieve a good content density.

Best scenario is to use 500+ words that answers all questions a searcher is asking about a particular keyword. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to quality. Don’t bore people.

3. Branding

Marketers used to say that being an ‘authority’ was the way to achieve higher placements in Google. While this was true prior to 2015, Google and other search engines now prefer branded content. After search engines take a snapshot of your entire website over time, an internal score is calculated that defines your brand.

If you want to be the best brand in your industry, make sure all content on your website relates to your niche, and it is original to your company. Do not copy what other people do or write uninformative 300 word blog posts about generic topics.

Yes, search engines know how frequently you post new content on your website, and will watch you over a period of time to determine your ranking factors.

4. User Interaction

How long does a person stay on a single page on your website? Google knows.

Keeping someone interacted with your content takes more than words on a page. Answering questions in detail, covering multiple topics, histories of subjects, facts and figures, and linking to YouTube videos keeps people interacted.

A really long FAQ (frequently asked questions) is a great way to get a long of traffic to your website because it helps to answer common questions about a topic or niche.

5. Images and Infographics

When computers were the only way to view websites, images were favored to help jazz up boring text on a page. With mobile browsing now receiving more than 50% of all searches, a faster website is a good thing to have.

Cut down the use of huge images on blog pages. It is best to put images in the middle of the page compared with the top. Keep the file size as low as possible and a resolution of 72 DPI is more than sufficient.

Just like the average person hates YouTube video intros, most people who browse a website on a mobile device hate waiting for images to load or to be resized.

6. Sharable Content

Between Facebook and Twitter, there are billions of social media posts daily. Who decides what is the best content to share?

The answer: people in your niche will decide.

Real estate is not really exciting to the average person, but there are plenty of beginners and intermediate investors who always search for new information. Create content that can be shared in a group setting, and search engines just might take notice.

Getting “Likes” is not as important as sustaining real visitors to your blog.

7. Link in and Link Out

A good link profile includes what you link to inside of your website, and everything that you link out to online. You do not have to use specific keywords in your content to use as anchor text to link to an internal page on your website. You can mix up the anchor text to include long-tail phrases, generic words like “check this out” or “this video claims” or one-word links similar to Wikipedia.

When it comes to linking out, you have to be really careful. Search engines try to figure out what your page is all about by reviewing your outgoing links. If you link to too much content, it can be hard to determine the originality of your written content.

8. Creating Custom URLs

It used to be effective to have your target keyword in more than one location on your website. Because Google and other companies now use Artificial Intelligence to learn new things, a quick scan of your page can tell them all they need to know.

It is a good idea to create custom URLs that do not have the date in them.

It is helpful to cut out redundancy with keywords, and to keep what really matters.

Bad URL: http://bestinvestmentpropertiesforsale.com/jacksonville-houses-for-sale-cheap
Better URL: http://bestinvestmentpropertiesforsale.com/jacksonville-buyers-guide

Words such as “for sale”, “buy” and “cost” all mean the same thing to search engines now.
Never use “cheap” because it makes more sense to use “low cost”, “affordable”, “reduced”.

Check out my new site to see how I create my URLs for real estate investing.

9. Sub-Headings

It is effective when using sub-headings on your blog post pages. Using these breaks up the blank space between your paragraphs. Unlike in prior years, keywords should be kept to a minimum in your sub-headings to make sure you are not spamming your page with too many keywords.

It now makes more sense to have related content in the sub-headings that does not include your primary keyword.

Example Sub-Heading: “Jacksonville Real Estate at Good Prices”
Related Sub-Heading: “Jacksonville Now Has More Affordable Homes”

By keeping the keyword density of your keyword or keyword sets at 1% or lower, you keep out of trouble because it is easy to over-optimize keywords on our page as a whole.

10. Frequency of Content

Search engines now favor a consistent publishing of new content. People use search engines as an aid to find answers to questions quickly. By publishing content on a regular basis, you will begin to build your brand online that is unique and not related to other people in your niche.

The age of content is also important. As words on your page become aged, they become more favorable to Google, Bing and Yahoo compared to something that was just posted today at Noon. The more clicks that your content generates, how you abide by algorithm rules and how unique your content is all play a factor in search engine placement these days.

A good rule of thumb is to post to your blog a minimum of 3 times every single week. If you have the time or budget, publishing one or more times per day will help you achieve faster results.

Yes, the daily or three-time per week postings do include weekends and holidays. Set up a schedule and stick to it. You should; however, do as little black hat SEO as possible, and try sticking with good content generation mixed in with good backlinks to your website.

By BrianHanson

368 of the Best Places to Get Citations

Citations are a great way to get a thumbs up from Google. A citation is not to be confused with the Chevy vehicle that went bye-bye in 1985. A quick and easy way to get attention online is by creating it yourself. Kicking in the citation machine that I’m giving away to you will get you results. This list is a great list and quite possibly the biggest list online.

If you’re lazy like me, you’ll need all the help you can get. Instead of doing all the work yourself, I’ve made it super simple for any Internet marketer. 

I created this list while sipping a Corona on the beach. 

The best part about getting a citation is that it takes no work. Instead of typing information into directories all day, you can easily hire someone on oDesk for $3.00 per hour to do the work for you. You just need to use your exact information that is listed in Google Maps to get citations to work to your advantage. It’s literally a cut and paste job for an outsourced worker.

368 of the Best Places to Get Citations 

Number Domain Name Pagerank #
1 bloglines.com 9
2 facebook.com 9
3 Foursquare.com 9
4 LinkedIn.com 9
5 maps.google.com 9
6 youtube.com 9
7 bbb.org 8
8 bing.com 8
9 company.com 8
10 local.yahoo.com 8
11 mapquest.com 8
12 merchantcircle.com 8
13 Topix.com 8
14 TripAdvisor.com 8
15 yellowpages.com 8
16 11870.com 7
17 Addme.com 7
18 AnyWho.com 7
19 apartmentguide.com 7
20 bizjournals.com 7
21 business.intuit.com 7
22 businessdirectory.bizjournals.com 7
23 citysearch.com 7
24 CitySearch.com 7
25 Craigslist.org 7
26 crunchbase.com 7
27 dexknows.com 7
28 dmoz.org 7
29 getlocal.staugustine.com 7
30 hoovers.com 7
31 iaf.net 7
32 insiderpages.com 7
33 kudzu.com 7
34 local.com 7
35 LocalSearch.AOL.com 7
36 LocalSearch.com 7
37 mobile.yahoo.com 7
38 mojopages.com 7
39 Patch.com 7
40 radiatelocal.com 7
41 superpages.com 7
42 SuperPages.com 7
43 switchboard.com 7
44 tradekey.com 7
45 trulia.com 7
46 UrbanSpoon.com 7
47 whitepages.com 7
48 wikimapia.org 7
49 yellowbook.com 7

This is just the icing on the cake. I don’t want to bog down my website with too many outbound links. Enter your email address into the box on the right sidebar of this page. I’ll give you the full list of 368 citations. It’s full of PR 9, 8 and 7 websites. I’ve never seen another website that offers this many citations for no cost. I hate searching for citations and that’s partly why I created this list.

Want the rest of the list? Just drop us a like below to get it!

[like-gate]

Number Domain Name Page Rank #
50 yellowbot.com 7
51 yellowpages.aol.com 7
52 yelp.com 7
53 Yelp.com 7
54 YP.com 7
55 zagat.com 7
56 zillow.com 7
57 2FindLocal.com 6
58 AllPages.com 6
59 angieslist.com 6
60 apartmentratings.com 6
61 bing.com/local 6
62 bizwiki.com 6
63 boulevards.com 6
64 bundle.com 6
65 business.com 6
66 chamberofcommerce.com 6
67 cherrp.com 6
68 City-Data.com 6
69 City.Ask.com 6
70 ezilon.com 6
71 find.hamptonroads.com 6
72 FindTheBest.com 6
73 Go2.com 6
74 HelloMetro.com 6
75 hotfrog.com 6
76 ibegin.com 6
77 infousa.com 6
78 inter800.com 6
79 jayde.com 6
80 justdial.com 6
81 local.answers.com 6
82 local.botw.org 6
83 local.ingenio.com 6
84 localdatabase.com 6
85 macraesbluebook.com 6
86 Majon.com 6
87 manta.com 6
88 MetroMix.com 6
89 Oodle.com 6
90 outside.in 6
91 pr.com 6
92 Primeplace.Nokia.com 6
93 radarfrog.gatehousemedia.com 6
94 showmelocal.com 6
95 sitejabber.com 6
96 SoMuch.com 6
97 Tagzania.com 6
98 Tupalo.com 6
99 walkscore.com 6
100 wcities.com 6
101 yellowpages.whowhere.com 6
102 yellowpagesgoesgreen.org 6
103 zoominfo.com 6
104 Zvents.com 6
105 411.info 5
106 accoona.com 5
107 Akama.com 5
108 AreaConnect.com 5
109 b2byellowpages.com 5
110 Bing.com/businessportal 5
111 blogthishere.com 5
112 bridgat.com 5
113 BusinessDB.com 5
114 businesspatrol.com 5
115 city.com 5
116 citysquares.com 5
117 cityvoter.com 5
118 communitywalk.com 5
119 corporate.local.com 5
120 corporate.localpages.com 5
121 corporationwiki.com 5
122 cylex-usa.com 5
123 directory.ac 5
124 directory.classifieds1000.com 5
125 discoverourtown.com 5
126 everyaptmapped.com 5
127 ezlocal.com 5
128 eztousebigbook.com 5
129 finditnow.com 5
130 Fixr.com 5
131 genieknows.com 5
132 gigpark.com 5
133 Goby.com 5
134 ikarma.com 5
135 ImmersiFind.com 5
136 jacksonville.craigslist.org 5
137 jigsaw.com 5
138 judysbook.com 5
139 list-of-companies.org 5
140 local.post-gazette.com 5
141 local.times-news.com 5
142 localbusiness.ocala.com 5
143 localbusiness.theledger.com 5
144 LocalPages.com 5
145 lookooh.com 5
146 loqal.com 5
147 magicyellow.com 5
148 marchex.com 5
149 mylocally.com 5
150 naymz.com 5
151 nexport.com 5
152 PegasusDirectory.com 5
153 pennysaverusa.com 5
154 powerprofiles.com 5
155 PowerProfiles.com 5
156 salespider.com 5
157 Salesspider.com 5
158 SeekItLocal.com 5
159 smartguy.com 5
160 Spoke.com 5
161 start.cortera.com 5
162 theusaexplorer.com 5
163 thinklocal.com 5
164 thumbtack.com 5
165 trueyellow.com 5
166 Tuugo.us 5
167 Tyloon.com 5
168 udr.com 5
169 uscity.net 5
170 ViewPoints.com 5
171 visabusinessnetwork.com 5
172 wand.com 5
173 Wimgo.com 5
174 yalwa.com 5
175 yasabe.com 5
176 yellowpagecity.com 5
177 ziplocal.com 5
178 4walls.us 4
179 bizhwy.com 4
180 Bizzspot.com 4
181 brownbook.com 4
182 brownbook.net 4
183 cityguide.com 4
184 cityslick.net 4
185 cornerstonesworld.com 4
186 digabusiness.com 4
187 directorym.com 4
188 directorym.net 4
189 DirectoryM.net 4
190 ebusinesspages.com 4
191 ecovian.com 4
192 fl.allpages.com 4
193 Geodelic.com 4
194 getfave.com 4
195 getlisted.org 4
196 guidespot.com 4
197 homeservicesengine.com 4
198 iDirectory.com 4
199 Lasr.net 4
200 LocalGuides.com 4
201 locallife.com 4
202 LocalRollCall.com 4
203 Localsolution.com 4
204 mastermoz.com 4
205 menupix.com 4
206 mylocalservices.com 4
207 Mylocalservices.us 4
208 NetHulk.com 4
209 openlist.com 4
210 OpenWiFiSpots.com 4
211 Pinbud.com 4
212 rateitall.com 4
213 search.jacksonville.com 4
214 shopcity.com 4
215 Shopinusa.com 4
216 snapspans.com 4
217 soprano.com 4
218 SureWestYellowPages.com 4
219 tenlist.com 4
220 twibs.com 4
221 us.justdial.com 4
222 Where.com 4
223 Where2go.com 4
224 yellowee.com 4
225 yellowpages.superpages.com 4
226 Zidster.com 4
227 10ants.com 3
228 agreatertown.com 3
229 apartmentcities.com 3
230 article.wn.com 3
231 AskLocalPages.com 3
232 askyp.com 3
233 bestjacksonville.net 3
234 Bizvotes.com 3
235 blueboomerang.com 3
236 bluestarhighway.com 3
237 citycliq.com 3
238 CityFos.com 3
239 cliqsearch.com 3
240 CMAC.ws 3
241 directorycentral.com 3
242 DreamLocal.com 3
243 exportfocus.com 3
244 gomylocal.com 3
245 gopickle.com 3
246 infignos.com 3
247 jacksonville.citysearch.com 3
248 listd.com 3
249 ListedLocal.com 3
250 localadlink.com 3
251 localmatters.com 3
252 localyp.com 3
253 locatefamily.com 3
254 makeitlocal.com 3
255 matchpoint.com 3
256 MeetLocalBiz.com 3
257 MetroBot.com 3
258 mygreenpages.com 3
259 MyServiceConnection.com 3
260 myservicemonster.com 3
261 mywebyellow.com 3
262 planetbuzz.com 3
263 searchforitlocal.com 3
264 socialstreets.com 3
265 usyellowpages.com 3
266 WhoFish.org 3
267 yellowassistance.com 3
268 yellowikis.wikia.com 3
269 yellowise.com 3
270 YellowOne.com 3
271 yellowusa.com 3
272 YelloYello.com 3
273 ZipCodez.com 3
274 ZipHip.com 3
275 zipperpages.com 3
276 247OnlineNetwork.com 2
277 4-Local.com 2
278 birectory.com 2
279 bizusaonline.com 2
280 Bolalist.com 2
281 businessfaves.com 2
282 expressbusinessdirectory.com 2
283 findstorenearu.com 2
284 fl.askyp.com 2
285 fyple.com 2
286 getfreelisting.com 2
287 justclicklocal.com 2
288 Listown.com 2
289 localizedbiz.com 2
290 Localndex.com 2
291 mom2.com 2
292 PageLink.com 2
293 placebee.com 2
294 profileindex.com 2
295 savannahshappenings.com 2
296 showsmart.com 2
297 SocialRaves.com 2
298 theultimateonlinedirectory.com 2
299 usbdn.com 2
300 Waybiz.com 2
301 wherezit.com 2
302 yippie.biz 2
303 Zip.pro 2
304 zipleaf.com 2
305 6qubedirectory.com 1
306 Ablocal.com 1
307 apartmentsandrenters.com 1
308 betterbizlist.com 1
309 BigwigBiz.com 1
310 CBSYellowPages.com 1
311 Directory-Net.com 1
312 eLocalFinder.com 1
313 freebusinessdirectory.com 1
314 Mylaborjob.com 1
315 Number.com 1
316 OneClickLocal.com 1
317 petesdirectory.com 1
318 processregister.com 1
319 revark.com 1
320 snaplocalbiz.com 1
321 spotabusiness.com 1
322 theserviceplace.com 1
323 Viselka.com 1
324 Yellowhours.com 1
325 123SearchOnline.com 0
326 7mainstreet.com 0
327 allthelocal.com 0
328 american-yellowpages.com 0
329 americasbestcompanies.com 0
330 Answerwix.com 0
331 apartment-buildings.cmac.ws 0
332 aptsbook.apartmentshomeliving.com 0
333 askmad.com 0
334 bbyp.com 0
335 BizListOnline.us 0
336 BrightKite.com 0
337 connectorlocal.com 0
338 EAscend.com 0
339 expressupdateusa.com 0
340 Find-Your-Biz.com 0
341 fl.idoget.biz 0
342 floridalocalinfo.com 0
343 HWhere.com 0
344 InfoSpace.com 0
345 LikeList.com 0
346 local-apartment.com 0
347 Local.IWPEC.org 0
348 Local.Yodle.com 0
349 localcensus.com 0
350 m.apartment-buildings.cmac.ws 0
351 mycitybusiness.net 0
352 mycityrents.com 0
353 myhuckleberry.com 0
354 MyTownLive.com 0
355 Neartoyou.net 0
356 neighborsville.com 0
357 OneLocal.com 0
358 premiumpages.net 0
359 propeller.adsonar.com 0
360 ratepoint.com 0
361 smalltown.com 0
362 snoopitnow.com 0
363 south.favecentral.com 0
364 Spotlikes.com 0
365 sysbeat.com 0
366 TrueLocal.com 0
367 UserInstinct.com 0
368 welcomewagon.com 0

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I hope you enjoy the list and are able to put it to great use!

Do any of you already use some of these? Let me know in the comments below.

 

By BrianHanson

Meta Keyword Tags

If you read through our on-site SEO series, you may have noticed that we left out the meta keyword tag. This was on purpose. Why? Because the meta keyword attribute doesn’t have any effect on your search engine ranking. This is because the tag is too easy to abuse. Unscrupulous SEOs were able to stuff these tags with keywords that were invisible to the reader but were still factored into search formulas. Removing rankability for meta keywords refocused weightings back to relevant content and authoritative backlinks.

So, should you use meta keywords tags or not?

The answer is…maybe. Google has removed keywords from consideration but some search engines still include it – for now. History shows us that most search engines follow suit shortly after Google leads by example. For now, there is still some benefit from including a meta keywords tag. But there are risks, too.

While search engines may or may not notice your meta keywords tag, there is a certain group that will: your competitors. If you’ve played your cards right, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time and effort carefully researching your key phrases, and it’d be a shame for someone to drop in, view your page source and copy and paste your keywords for their own campaign.

On that note, if the competitor is you, you should be careful about stealing traffic and key phrases. Particularly, you should avoid using your competitor’s brand names as a keyword. This is not only unethical, in most cases, it’s illegal, too.

If you do choose to create a meta keywords tag, stick to 6 to 8 generic, relevant terms. Instead of including your “money phrases,” just include a couple keywords that give a general idea of what your topic is. This is helpful for content writers and coders as well, as it gives them a better idea about what the focus of the article is. It’s also a good idea to include locations.

You can include the meta keyword tag right after the meta description tag. It should look like this:

<META name=”keywords” content=”keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3, etc”>

Make sure that you separate your keywords with commas, otherwise they’ll appear as one long keyword.

Conclusion

So, to review:

  • Meta keyword tags aren’t valued like they used to be. Using them or not using them won’t affect your Google search ranking.
  • If you do include a meta keywords tag, stick to generic terms to avoid having your research stolen by competitors.
  • Don’t use brand names or other trademarked material as a keyword – it’ll land you in hot water.

Meta keywords are somewhat of a vestigial leftover from the rough and tumble days of SEO. They have a much smaller place in today’s strategies, but the landscape is always evolving. You may want to continue using meta keywords as a habit, just in case they come back in vogue down the road.

By BrianHanson

Internet Marketing Campaigns – Part Two: The Website

In Part Two of our overview of the different parts of a local Internet marketing campaign, we’ll be taking a look at the website. The website is the keystone to your entire Internet marketing campaign. Just like the cash register is where the sale happens in a storefront, the website is where the conversion happens.

There are certain strategies you can do on-site that both attract traffic and drive conversions. These fall into two main categories: on-site search engine optimization and user interfacing. Again, sometimes these two disciplines overlap and other times they are at odds with each other.

Here’s a brief overview of the basics:

Keywords


Keywords (or key phrases) are the central hub of your search engine optimization efforts and the way you include them – both in terms of frequency, placement and formatting – matter big time. The two keys to keywords are research and application:

  • Keyword research – The keywords you choose must be relevant to your business and heavily searched. “Attending to octogenarians in the residence” and “elderly home care” mean essentially the same thing, but the latter will get you infinitely more mileage, both with humans and spiders. For local businesses, the need to include location information arises, which introduces an entirely new dimension to keyword research as well.
  • Using keywords – How many keywords do you choose? Where do you place them (in tags, in headers, as anchor text)? And how often should you use the keywords (i.e. keyword density)? There’s an art and science to building a website around keywords that affects both its indexability and its readability.

Copywriting

The challenge of writing for two audiences comes to a head for copywriters. Copywriters must juggle the twin responsibilities of creating content that is compelling to humans as well as robots. Philosophies differ among writers, SEOs and web developers, but from a sales perspective, making that human connection is absolutely vital. To achieve this, copywriters employ the age old art of sales and persuasion which has changed little since the birth of commerce. Except they have less words and less time than ever to make their case. Attention spans in the digital age have shrunken significantly and the “Back” button is always just a few pixels away.

But while copywriters must also make their content extremely hooky on a personal level, it must also be conscious of its other, arguably more important audience: the search engine spiders. This introduces another, meta-level set of requirements on the writer such as how many words he or she can use, which words to use and how to construct sentences, links and formatting. In this way, SEO copywriting is a bit like formal poetry – except instead of meeting the structural requirements of a sonnet or a limerick, the writer must neatly and efficiently pack their message into a format that is readable and relevant to search engines.

Web Design


Actually, web design is increasingly becoming an insufficient term for describing what goes into creating a conversion-friendly website. Perhaps web architecture is more apt. Websites must encompass:

  • Aesthetic appeal – You’ve got 5 seconds to convince visitors that you’re a professional, reputable business. Looking good has never been so important.
  • Technical integrity – Search engine spiders don’t see colors and videos and layouts the same way as we do. It’s more like the way Neo sees The Matrix – lines and lines of code. Ensuring that this invisible layer of your website is readable to search engine bots can make or break your search engine page ranking (SERP).
  • Functionality – Your visitors want to get in touch or buy your product. Make it easy for them by designing intuitive navigation and a user-friendly interface. Otherwise, they’ll click away upon their first encounter with frustration.

The Overall Website Experience

When building a website, you must always be conscious of how users and search engines will view it and use it. How did they get here? What terms did they use to find you? What questions do they have and what is the best way to answer them? When constructing a website for your business, it’s all about crafting the right kind of experience for your two audiences. You want your site to be both search engine friendly and conversion friendly. An in-depth of how the search engine spiders work and how users interact with the web is key to creating landing pages, internal link structures, calls to action and other website aspects that meet the expectations of everyone that visits your website.

Creating an effective, conversion-friendly website is instrumental to your local Internet marketing campaign. But how do you get people to visit your website in the first place? Stay tuned – we’ll be going over the basics of off site Internet marketing in our next blog post.

By BrianHanson

On-Site SEO – Part Five: Filenames and URL Structure

In our previous post on the topic of on-site SEO, we discussed the importance of choosing well-branded, SEO-friendly domain names. This is the crux of creating well-optimized URLs for your website, but the details matter, too. There are numerous opportunities to introduce keywords into your URLs by following best practices for filenames and directory structuring. Here are a few bases you should definitely cover:

Dynamic URLs

Many dynamic websites, such as blogs, will generate notoriously user and search engine unfriendly URLs. The default WordPress permalink structure is a common example. Posts are typically numbered, rather than given proper filenames and will show up in your address bar like this: www.yoursite.com/?p=16.

This is a big missed opportunity for including keywords. Instead, setup your permalink structure to read www.yoursite.com/category/post-title and populate both those elements with keywords (without repeating). So, instead of having just one keyword in your URL (from your domain), you can have www.KitchenSupplies.com/Cuisinart/Pressure-Cookers, a total of three quality keywords.

URL Length

Brevity rules in almost all aspects of marketing. Shorter URLs tend to rank higher in search engine rankings and are easier to copy, paste and share. Some email and IM clients make it difficult to click URLs that span more than one line and the more gobbledygook that’s in your URL (numbers, symbols, etc.), the less trustworthy it looks.

Keyword Location

Just like search engines prefer keywords to appear early in the content, they also give more weight when they appear closer to the front of a URL. Avoid introducing lots of folders and subfolders. The KitchenSupplies.com example from above is better than say, www.KitchenSupplies.com/merchandise/C/Cuisinart/Pressure-Cookers.

Subdomains

The jury is still out on how search engines will treat  subdomains in the future. In the past, setting up a keyword as a subdomain was beneficial for SEO (i.e. microwaves.kitchensupplies.com) as they could be read as a different, highly relevant keyword relevant domain. But this opened the door to some abuse, since webmasters can register a virtually infinite number of subdomains free of cost.

Today’s best practices are to use directories and folders rather than subdomains unless you’re trying to clearly cordon off a section of your website with distinctly different content. For example, blog.KitchenSupplies.com makes sense, since it’s a different section from your merchandise. You won’t be penalized by using subdomains – but you likely won’t see any real benefit from abusing them, so it’s better to stick with what’s logical and intuitive.

Hyphens

Spaces in domain names must be separated by hyphens, but there’s a little bit more leeway for filenames and directories. You can choose underscores, periods or plus signs, if you want, but convention dictates the use of hyphens. There is little question regarding the fact that search engines read hyphens as spaces, and consistency is best practice as policies develop.

Image Filenames

You should pay careful attention to the filenames of all of your website elements, but images represent an even greater opportunity. There’s much web traffic to be garnered via image searches and the filename plays a large role in how your pictures are indexed. When uploading digital photos and other images, it’s easy enough to keep them with their default and generic filenames (DC00012.jpg or image2.png) but you’ll get much more mileage by giving it a short, descriptive filename (red-kitchenaid-mixer.jpg or granite-countertop.png).

Conclusion

The takeaway lesson when it comes to optimizing URL paths is to stick to what makes organizational sense and take every opportunity to include a keyword. Avoid obviously spammy tactics or exploitative “tricks” – the benefits from these tactics will likely be short-lived and may ultimately detract from the usability of your website.

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