Does the format of your URL really impact where a site ranks on the search engine result pages?

While opinions vary, ultimately it’s most likely a combination of factors where the URL can play a part – although it remains difficult to determine how much.

Couple that with personalized search results and the real-time nature of search (as well as the Web) in general and it’s really difficult to know the right way to approach page naming and URL structure for the purpose of search marketing and search engine optimization.

For example a descriptive (keyword-rich) title tag, an informative URL structure and keywords in the actual page name, when combined, has been shown time and again to perform far better on average than by those site not following the best practices. That’s reason enough for SEOs to concentrate on their site-wide naming conventions – at least to some degree regarding .

This all leads us to the overwhelming question: what’s the best way to structure a URL? To find the answer it is imperative to determine how others are building their URLs.

Today’s search results are far different than in years past, and the best way to understand how search engines are using this variable is to head right on over to the search results and determine how others are engaging in the development of this possible variable.

A search for “grow tomatoes in a raised bed”, for example, shows a variety of methods employed by those sites that are returned. For example, three of the top ten organic listings used nearly the exact phrase in their page naming and another three had a portion of the search term Alpari (“raised bed”) within their URL structure. Nearly every site (nine out of ten with the sole exception being YouTube) included keywords somewhere in the complete URL – be it in the domain name itself, a folder or sub-folder, or a variation of the keyword phrase somewhere in the page name.

The quality of the content and the quantity of relevant links of course (and the manner in which other sites provide a citation) is still going to be a stronger signal for the search engines, but if you’re looking for an edge, it may very well start with the way in which URLs are structured and what’s included within them.

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About Rusty McMillen

Nationally recognized SMB Sales & Reputation Marketing Expert, creator of B.A.R.S. CEO of onstraints which includes services from Website Design and Developement, SEO, SEM, SMM, Press Releases, Webinars and Reputation Marketing, to just mention a few of the included services. We also believe that success depends on an Experienced and Proven Leadership Team that truly understands and embraces the nuances of your Small Business environment, brand, products, customers, goals, and, most importantly, your vision of success. Small and Medium sized business owners typically spend 95% of their time "IN" their business, rather than "ON" their business. We solve this. Our B.A.R.S.program allows the business owner to be able to monitor everything pertaining to their online presence through proprietary systems and years of experience and expertise in multiple disciplines, allowing owners to see a global view of their marketing and online presence in order to make intelligent, well informed and decisive business decisions that dramatically effect their ROI and bottom line.