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The importance of site url structure for SEs

     

WebSamurai

1:38 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)



I'm running a niche site which has about 1000 different sections each dedicated to a different widget.
So basically I have urls in the structure of:

mydomain.com/green-widget-article
mydomain.com/green-widget-resources
and a few more pages in the same widget section.

Because of my CMS limitations my forum module was not installed separately for each section but instead I used the same module for all sections. That decision I made a few years back lead to urls of this kind:

mydomain.com/forums/green-widget-forums

In G eyes, there's one big forums (with a lot of categories) and only a few pages dedicated specifically to Green Widgets.

Since the discussions in my forums contribute most of the quality content to my site I'm now in a point where I need to decide whether to put the effort and make the url structural change that will bring all of Green Widget pages including the forums under the same url "folder":

mydomain.com/green-widget-article
mydomain.com/green-widget-resources
mydomain.com/green-widget-forums

Any thoughts whether this change will make a significant change SEO wise and bring more traffic?

I have to mention that my discussions are well indexed and currently bring most of the traffic to my site.

goodroi

4:00 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



imho url structure is not as valuable as it was many years ago. url structure still has implications with setting your theme & siloing and it does impact seo.

there are over 200 items that impact google rankings. in general i just dont think url structure will give webmasters the biggest impact for the effort. for me it is way down on my to do list. as long as the url looks good to users who are browsing the serps, i am comfortable with it.

if you have a large & established website i really wouldnt want to make massive changes to the url structure. these types of changes can lead to big headaches.

HuskyPup

5:12 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)



for me it is way down on my to do list


Interesting, it's actually the first thing I do when constructing any site, I feel the directory structure is the most important and basic elements however I do agree with you that if it is working well now I wouldn't make any drastic changes, that really could do more damage than help.

WebSamurai

5:32 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)



thanks goodroi and HuskyPup

It's seems that so far everyone think that it's better not to mess with the current structure as it can bring more damage than benefit..

I'd be happy to hear more thoughts and opinions

goodroi

6:16 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



HuskyPup, i do agree with you that is is important when planning a brand new site. i was referring more to ongoing maintenance and making changes to pre-exisiting urls.

tedster

6:28 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If you are using a CMS that ties your URL structure to your internal linking structure, then it matters a lot. But it is the internal linking that matters, IMO - not the URL structure itself.

I've worked with several redesigns this past year that went to a very short and simple URL with no sub directories at all, or in some cases, just one. The new designs with short URLs are thriving.

harsh2k218

8:23 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



i think the new structure domain.com/page

will give you high rankings for all of your pages, googlebot can easily find your page on the follow.

ken_b

8:31 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've worked with several redesigns this past year that went to a very short and simple URL with no sub directories at all, or in some cases, just one.

How does the overall number of urls/pages in a site play into that?

Easier with a site that has say less than 100 urls/pages than for a site that has 10,000 or more urls/pages?

tedster

8:44 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



One redesign was for a site that launched with 20,000 pages and adds a couple hundred a week. The URL structure is:

example.com/important-keywords-from-title

Sort of a modified Wordpress thing. But yes, if the site is going to be immense, then there is more challenge.

WebSamurai

11:20 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)



So short urls are more important than sectioned url structure?

But it is the internal linking that matters, IMO - not the URL structure itself.


I agree. I put a lot of effort into the site sectioned to be highly usable. I believe my members don't even notice the different structure of the forum vs. other pages in the same section.

tedster

11:27 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Right - but searchers DO notice a short and simplified URL in the SERPs, even if subliminally. I think a short URL says "this click will not lead you into chaos". Many long-time web users are still quite afraid of getting lost and confused.

buckworks

11:59 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I agree with Tedster that users have more confidence to click URLs that are concise and meaningful. I'm also convinced that other webmasters are more willing to link to such URLs.

Something else to consider: If your URLs are shorter you can save a lot of characters from your site navigation menus even with the same number of links. I can't prove whether that would have any effect on SEO, but it certainly wouldn't hurt, and anything that improves loading speed by even a tiny fraction has to be considered a positive.
 

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