SEO Question: How do you structure a website correctly for SEO purposes?

Website SEO

Image from SXC.hu

Another great SEO question around site structure:

“I’m currently redesigning my website – the old structure of the website was www.domain.co.uk/product/index.html.  The new files are basically the same, but index.php. Am I best having them top level rather than in a subfolder?  So www.domain.co.uk/product.php? Will it make a difference?

On a similar note, I’ve seen sites where extensions aren’t used/visible at all – is this done with code in an .htaccess and is it of benefit too?”

Great question – in a nutshell you need to structure the site correctly and consider scaling/website growth.

Having everything in the root is basically a flat line, left to right, having a hierarchy of folders and sections looks more natural and in my opinion the search spiders will prefer this.

As an example, here is how I’d build a site:

— Domain (root)
—— Service Page (folder)
——— Service Information Page (folder)

Look at this URL – www.autotrader.co.uk/carmakes/renault/clio – the end part (Clio) is a journey for the spiders and all the pages flow from one to another – very user friendly which Google likes and I’ve found to be the best method from an SEO point-of-view for some time now.

With reference to extensions, take the following URL: http://www.davecain.co.uk/about/. You can access it via two methods:

  • http://www.davecain.co.uk/about/
  • http://www.davecain.co.uk/about/index.php

I typically suggest sites are built folders within folders. Within each folder you may have index.php or index.html etc and then it’s down to you which you link to internally and externally. To avoid indexing issues I always use the canonical tag as this defines which page to rank. Google defines the canonical tag as follows

“If your site has identical or vastly similar content that’s accessible through multiple URLs, this format provides you with more control over the URL returned in search results. It also helps to make sure that properties such as link popularity are consolidated to your preferred version.”

And lastly, I’ve never seen much difference with extensions (i.e .html) but as I’ve said before I like to keep URLs short, easy to remember and clean.

Below is a video by Matt Cutts who also talks about site architecture:

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