URLs are incredibly important but often overlooked. That’s because the URL structure of your website will dictate how easy your content is to find and how well Google ranks your content.
Take the example of Wikipedia and Linkedin. For almost any information-based search term that you use, Wikipedia ill pop up at the top of Google. But that’s not the case for Linkedin. Their content is difficult to find, even if you are specifically looking for an article that you have read previously. This is despite the fact that Linkedin is an incredibly popular site with a huge amount of blog content.
What’s the big difference between the two? It’s that Wikipedia’s URL is optimized based on the keyword and topic of the page. Linkedin, on the other hand, creates a URL based on a person’s name or some arbitrary post number. That’s not Linkedin’s fault per se — it is a huge website that relies on user-generated content.
Users are looking for information
Unfortunately for Linkedin, the vast majority of total search queries, about 80% in total, are informational searches. These are terms that include how-tos, questions, what ifs and other similar keywords. Only 15% of search queries include the names of companies, brands or people. The remaining 5% of queries are transactional searches. These percentages rarely change even when SEO tactics are changing all the time and they are unlikely to change in the future.
Topical content and URLs rule
One of the other reasons why Wikipedia is so prevalent in Google’s SERPs is its approach to content and the way that it optimizes the content, including the URL. Everything is incredibly topical and the URL is based on broader topics and then narrower topics. Everything links together and makes sense. This means that even though Wikipedia has hundreds of thousands of pages, everything is neatly organized and easy to find. Your website should be exactly the same. Whatever topics you cover, everything should be placed into buckets and structured in a way that is easy for the reader (and Google) to follow.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to your website’s sitemap. Google uses your sitemap to crawl your website and find its way around. The better organized your site’s content is, the better organized your sitemap will be and the easier Google will be able to crawl your website. This means, in theory, that Google will crawl all of your pages meaning that you’ll be able to generate as much traffic as possible.
URLs may seem like a small thing but they are actually very important. Don’t let them be an afterthought.