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SEO Basics: How Much Do URLs Matter for SEO? (+ 5 Quick Tips)

March 9, 2017
SEO Basics: Quick Tips for SEO Friendly URLs

Interestingly, how much effect a URL has on search rankings has been a hotly debated topic among SEO experts over the past few years.

Okay, I know that’s not really interesting…

What you DO want to know are which aspects to worry about when creating new pages and blog posts on your website.

What’s a URL, again?

Basically, the URL directs the browser where to go on the internet.

What does URL stand for? Does it really matter? Not unless you’re playing trivia tonight…

There are 4 main parts to a URL structure:

4 Main Parts of a URL for SEO Optimization

Image Credit: Quicksprout.com

Today we’re solely focusing on the page-name portion at the end.

But you should know that a permalink or slub are alternative names for the “page name” part of a URL in some platforms like WordPress and Squarespace.

The URL is considered one of the on-page factors you can optimize for search engines, so let’s look at how it might affect your rankings.

How does the URL impact search results?

URLs, like title tags, are used to some degree when Google ranks search results.

When you optimize these on-page aspects, they send a stronger signal to Google about what your page is about and what questions it will answer for searchers.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that the top ranking pages contain some part of your search phrase in the URL.

SEO URL Structure Example

The above image is also a good example of Google understanding context and not basing results on exact matches of keyword phrases.

Optimizing your URLs may help in the technical side of rankings, but it also helps the user experience…which then affects your rankings. Think of SEO as an interconnected web, which is part of the larger web of digital marketing. Everything works together.

When your URL closely matches what someone is searching, they’re more likely to click through to your link. The more someone clicks through and reads the content, the more Google trusts that result and boosts it up in the rankings.

How URL Readability Impacts SEO and Users

Image Credit: Moz.com

Should you include your keywords in the URL?

The short answer: Yes.

Include your focus keyword phrase so that it’s bold within search results and clearly related to your topic. But don’t stuff keywords into the URL. Make it natural and short so that it’s easy for readers to remember.

It also helps a reader know what your page is about if someone pastes the URL directly instead of using anchor text and a link.


Pssst… Would you rather get step-by-step video instructions & checklists to optimize faster? Click here.

Will updating old URLs help search rankings?

Maybe.

Don’t keep URLs that come with WordPress (or other platforms) that don’t include relevant keywords. You don’t want a bunch of nonsense letters and numbers. As mentioned above, make them meaningful for the reader.

Example: http://example.com/p=8493dj8 vs. http://example.com/blog-post

But it’s usually not worth the time and effort to update URLs if you don’t have a good reason.

Creating valuable content that answers your ideal client’s questions is more important.

If you’re already getting good traffic to the post, I would recommend leaving the URL alone.

However, if an old URL is way too long, not actually relevant to the page, stuffed with keywords from an ill-advised attempt at SEO…. you may benefit from changing it.

If you do decide to update an old URL, remember to set up a 301 redirect. It will not automatically redirect to your new location. This ensures that any visitors to the old URL will be redirected to the new one.

You can easily create 301 redirects in WordPress using a plugin such as Redirection or in Squarespace using these directions.

Try to avoid having too many redirects on your site, however. It might slow down the user experience or even confuse visitors if they’re constantly redirected.

Cheat Sheet: 5 Quick Tips for Creating New SEO Friendly URLs

Most of these are tips that will solely impact the reader, but that’s half the battle.

These quick tips will ensure the URLs you set up for new pages and blog posts will be SEO and user-friendly.

1. Use dashes to separate words rather than spaces.
2. Keep URLs short. Don’t worry about articles such as a, and, the, to, etc.
3. Include your focus keyword phrase.
4. Make the URL readable and easy to remember for the user. 

5. If you decide to change a URL, use a 301 redirect to point the old to the new.

 


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SEO

SEO Basics: The Truth About Writing Meta Descriptions (Should you bother?)

November 18, 2016
SEO Basics: The Truth About Writing Meta Descriptions for Blog Posts. Should You Bother?

I’m going to be honest with you guys… meta descriptions are my least favorite part of SEO.

If you do a lot of blogging, you might be able to relate.

They’re so short and should be pretty easy to write, but yet when I get to that part of the post, I get annoyed. Anyone else?

BUT it’s still an important part of blogging, and I’ll tell you why.

Plus, I’ll give you 7 tips to easily write killer meta descriptions and make it all a little less painful!

What’s a Meta Description?

A meta description tells the reader of a search engine results page (SERP) what a particular page/link is about. It’s the short block of text you see under a link in search results.

The search engine either pulls a string of text from the page that closely matches the user’s search terms, or will display what’s been provided in the code of the page.

However, the meta-description is NOT used in ranking.

Why You Still Need Meta Descriptions

If it isn’t used directly in ranking, why bother? Continue Reading…

SEO

SEO Basics: How to Write Powerful Title Tags for Traffic Growth

November 11, 2016
SEO Basics: How to Write Powerful Title Tags for Traffic Growth

So you’re saying title tags aren’t the same as blog post titles? I have MORE to worry about?!

Well, faithful blogger, yes and no… Let’s look at the benefits a few little tweaks can have on your traffic growth and rankings.

In most cases your page or post title will be automatically used for the title tag, but you could be missing a big SEO opportunity!

Writing a powerful title tag could mean the difference between being skimmed over versus getting those clicks on social media and search results.

Your target audience is already searching. Help them find your content!

By understanding the small updates you can make for on-page SEO, you can grow your blog traffic and reach more of the right people.

What you’ll learn in this post:

  • What’s a title tag?
  • How is it different from the title of a blog post?
  • Where title tags are displayed and where to edit them in WordPress and Squarespace
  • Why title tags are important
  • Tips for writing powerful title tags for click throughs
  • How to manually write title tags in WordPress
  • What to do if your Squarespace template doesn’t allow different title tags

Continue Reading…

SEO

SEO Basics: 6 Steps to Optimize Images on Your Blog

October 30, 2016
SEO Basics: 6 Ways to Optimize Images on Your Blog

You know it’s important to include images on your website, but did you know they can actually hurt your SEO if you don’t optimize images?

In fact, it’s said that each additional second it takes your website to load you lose 7% of conversions (aka downloads, sales, etc.) twitter icon

There are a few simple things you should do before you even upload your image, and a few things you can do after it’s uploaded to further optimize for search engines.

Not only will these actions help with SEO, but they also help you organize your images in your media library AND help with visitor retention.

Visitors will only stick around for about 3 seconds on a desktop and 5 seconds on mobile waiting for your page to load before they go elsewhere. Not only that, but the new page load goal is down to 2 seconds.

So you can see that page load speed is an important ranking factor for Google and important for user experience!

Word of caution: You don’t need to delete all of your old images and start over. If you do this, you risk ending up with a lot of broken links directing to your site. You can upload a new image and keep the old one in your media library, install a WordPress plugin to compress images, or work with a developer to minimize page load speed in other ways.

Let’s dig in to the main 6 ways you can optimize your images for SEO.

6 Steps to Optimize Images on Your Website

Continue Reading…

SEO

SEO Basics: How to Use Long Tail Keywords to Attract Your Ideal Clients

October 17, 2016
SEO Basics: How to Use Long Tail Keywords to Attract Your Ideal Clients

I know what you may be thinking, “First there are keywords, now long tail keywords?! There’s just too much to learn for SEO.”

At least, that’s an exact response I got from a client. So chances are, plenty of others feel the same!

But don’t be intimidated by all the different SEO phrases you hear. 

Once it’s broken down and you understand the purpose, it’ll all come much more naturally.

When you first get an idea for anything from a new business down to a new blog post, doing a bit of keyword research can go a long way.

Keyword research can help you learn how to better phrase your topic, questions your audience has around the topic, the general popularity of a keyword phrase, and much more.

Long tail keywords are researched in the same way, but help you dig deeper and reach a more specific audience (*ehm* more qualified leads).

People are already searching for your solutions, so why not meet them halfway and help them find you in the search results?

When doing your research, keep in mind that there’s a difference between targeting vague and specific terms. This is where “long term keywords” come in.

Let’s say you’re a wellness coach helping women. Researching “wellness” vs. “wellness coach” vs. “wellness coach for women” could show misleading results.

Sure, “wellness” will have more monthly average searches, but those people could be searching for millions of different reasons. It could be a man searching for a new doctor, a child doing research for health class, or any number of other searches that aren’t in your target audience.

However, someone searching “wellness coach for women” is much more likely to be a highly qualified lead.

It’ll be a smaller percentage of people who know that’s what they want and need, but those who DO are so much closer to the buying stage.

So let’s break down what long tail keywords mean and how you can optimize your website and blog posts for them.

What are long tail keywords?

Continue Reading…

SEO

SEO Basics: How to do Keyword Research & 3 Free Tools

October 5, 2016
SEO Basics Keyword Research Tools

If someone asked you what you know about SEO, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Most people say it has something to do with keywords.

But there’s a lot of confusion about what to target, how to target, how to research, and so on. It can quickly become overwhelming and causes many people to give up.

But here’s the thing. Keyword research doesn’t need to be that hard!

I’ll show you how. Let’s dig into the basics of how to effectively research and target keywords on your site and blog.

What’s a keyword or keyword phrase?
  • Keywords are the words or phrases that describe your site.
  • They are what people might type into a search engine to pull up your website or blog post.
  • A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that is really specific, detailed, long, etc.
    • A more detailed phrase such as “highly rated holistic health coach for women” rather than “holistic health coach”
    • A question such as “how can I find good keywords for my blog posts?”

 


Pssst… Would you rather get step-by-step video instructions & cheat sheets? Click here.

 

Where are keywords displayed? Continue Reading…