Website structure and file/folder names for SEO

A regular question I get asked is “how important is my website structure and page names?” The simple answer is very important because it helps Google and the other search engines understand what the file or folder is about. Also you need to remember Google looks at file and folder names as a ranking factor.

Also, it’s a great way future proof your website by having it neatly arranged on the server, here’s a quick example:

Home (Root)
- About (Folder)
— Meet the team (Page or Folder)
- Services (Folder)
— Service one (Page or Folder)
— Service two (Page or Folder)
— Service three (Page or Folder)

Many SEO experts say site architecture is one of the three main points that are necessary to build an effective SEO campaign (the others being unique content and quality links).

Here are some further tips connected to producing and managing a websites construction and labelling for SEO success:

Point 1) Use descriptive file and folder names which are relational to the content on the page.

Point 2) Do not use underscores (_) as word spaces; instead, use hyphens (-).

Point 3) Never use more than a 3 tier approach, example: http://www.websitename.com/tier-one/tier-two/tier-three.php.

Point 4) Use 301 redirects if you move a file/folder or changing domain name. By doing this you will retain any links to this page and you won’t lose any rankings.

Point 5) Always use custom error 404 pages to retain website users on the website if you move a file or folder (as a rule of thumb, always set this up when you create a new website).

Credit: Glasses image from SXC.hu

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