And here we are with Part 3 where I’m hopefully going to finish off this series of articles on SEO and Self-Publishing. I’ve previously gone over using keywords to drive traffic and their importance on ranking with Google as well as building links for your website. This time around I want to talk about Domains and URLs and how they relate to SEO.
Domains and URLs
If at all possible your domain and urls should contain keyword-rich text and filenames. If I was building a site on airplanes for example, it would be in my best interest to have the word airplane in the url, preferably near the beginning. If you have a look at the url of this article itself, which focuses on SEO, SEO is listed first.
The permalink or slug is equally just as important if not more so. This is something that you can easily adjust while writing a Post. WordPress automatically fills in your slug when you have finished typing your Title into a Post. If you look just below that you can click the “Edit” button and adjust your slug accordingly. I would highly suggest removing any unnecessary fluff. This would be stop words like — and, if, the, but, a, an — and so on. They’re not needed and it helps clean the slug up. What you’re trying to achieve is getting the slug down to its most basic form. Ideally it shouldn’t run very long but sometimes that’s unavoidable.
Site accessibility is another biggie. If you have a broken site, Google won’t be able to crawl it correctly. This could be 404 errors, broken links, password protected areas or something along those lines. You’re not doing your site any favours by neglecting it and having a site that can’t be indexed correctly.
Sitemaps! Give Google a sitemap of your site. Their spiders love sitemaps. You can do some sitemap stuff in your Google Webmaster account or by using the Google XML Sitemap Plugin. While we’re at it you should have a Google Webmaster account too. You’ll receive all sorts of tips on how to improve your site as well as notifications on broken links!
Some general internet users may not know this but the age of your domain has a lot to do with how you rank in the eyes of Google. The more powerful, coherent, SEO’d, large and older site you have the higher your page rank. You see Google has a rating system for assigning a page rank to a site. The system is scaled as such: NA, 0, 1-10
A NA typically means the site is still too new and Google hasn’t had a chance to figure anything out yet. A 0-1 is normal for most people I think. To move up on the ladder anywhere from there is quite difficult. What they’d be looking for specifically is the number of links pointing to your site. One aspect of this is the .edu or .gov extensions. These are naturally hard to get of course.
In general the more urls pointing to your website or page or post, the better off you’ll be. You see a lot of this in niche internet marketing. Hell, there are even software programs and services comprised of this exact process. The idea is that the more links there are the more possibility of web browsers finding your site via a Google search.
Some last minute thoughts — when selecting a website domain it’s always best to stick with a .com, .net or .org. Most people including those internet marketers have not found much success with any of the other domains. The same could also be said for subdomains. Having a separate domain is always better. ie. Avoid having a lookatme.blogspot.com if at all possible. You’re better off with lookatme.com
And lastly, hyphens in your urls is a good thing as well. It actually increases readability and will help your SEO.