Don't Ignore the Importance of Your Site's URL Structure

Better organization allows search engines to more easily crawl your pages, which affects their performance in rankings.

learn more about Mun Yin Liu

By Mun Yin Liu

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Often when a team is involved in building new website project, excitement takes hold and that momentum carries the group forward to complete the project. Lots of new features and functions are developed in a semi-chaotic fashion; fresh sections, widgets and menu items are added after the initial rollout without any planning.

Throughout the big launch, one important thing might be forgotten. While the aesthetics may have been addressed, there may be far less regard for the project's fundamental core: its URL structure. And this goes a long way to determining the way your site is structured, which has an effect on how it performs in search engine rankings.

Better organization leads to easier crawling. For any website, a logical and easily mapped out structure is desirable. If you were to sketch out how your website's pages are connected to the home page, you would ideally end up with something that looks like a pyramid, with an increasing number of pages the further down you go. This top-down approach can be seen on a number of very successful websites.

In almost all cases, the next level beneath the home page will be represented visually in the navigation menu. See this approach on the dermatology website Visit any of the menu navigation categories or subcategories; the URL structure is logical and easy to match with the menu item without knowing too much about the site. You could even guess the URL of a page just by looking at the navigation menu.

Related: How to Seamlessly Include Keywords in Your Web Content

Logical mapping leads to themed content. By keeping a clear and logical navigation structure, you will make your site more accessible for users to explore, but the organization of the site's directories will also enable search engine spiders to easily crawl your site. Everything can be contained easily within categories. Inside these categories will be content and pages that are similar and organized around the same theme.

This themed approach will help convince search engines that your categories and content are super relevant for any keyword groups that you are targeting.

By ensuring that you have really specific and themed categories, you'll be better able to target shorter-tail keywords. With search engines becoming smarter and taking into account a lot of synonyms and behavioral quirks, you'll find that your products, articles and pages within those categories will cover multiple possible keywords. All of which, at some point, will end up being displayed on those category pages.

Avoid hiding your lower pages. Despite the fact that I've been preaching about the importance of a pyramid style of website pages, don't go too far. It would certainly be a bad practice for you to start including buried treasures beneath your pyramid. Retailers with a large portfolio of products face a challenge in requiring various levels of categories. If your online presence is lucky enough to not have this problem, then make every effort to minimize the number of directories your site has.

You can easily keep track of this by examining your URL structure. Each time there is a forward slash after the main domain, this denotes a new directory, adding an additional layer. It isn't wise to have too many. I believe a maximum of five layers should be sufficient. My website, Trip Tipping, has four layers after the main domain: domain/content type/continent/city/article. This is possibly one layer too many, and I intend to test out having one less layer.

Taking the steps above will not solve all of your search engine problems, but they will ensure that you are on the right track to improving your site's performance.

Related: How to Fix Your Website If You Violate Google's Quality Guidelines

Mun Yin Liu
Mun Yin Liu helps to run Trip Tipping as its managing director in Hong Kong. He has worked in the online industry for almost a decade, first in the United Kingdom then in Asia.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Business News

Amtrak Introduces 'Night Owl' Prices With Some Routes As Low As $5

The new discounts apply to some rides between Washington D.C. and New York City.

Business News

Meta Employees Interrogate Mark Zuckerberg in Town Hall Meeting

The CEO fielded tough questions from rattled staffers at an all-hands meeting.

Business Solutions

This Highly Rated App Could Help Business Owners Stay Organized

Get your business in order with this personal organizer app on sale for $60.


8 Things I Discovered While Working With Affluent Clients in New York City

After a decade working with the 1%, I learned that they have common traits.