A URL is the location of a specific website, page or file on the Internet. Every URL is made up of multiple parts and the way yours are built will have a variety of effects on your site’s security and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Think of each section as a leg supporting your website’s name. A strong support system makes for an effective foundation. Each piece plays an integral role in how Google views your site, with some being more important than others depending on what you are trying to accomplish. It is very important that all components are included. The three main sections are domain, path/directory, filename; here they are separated by slashes (/):
Your domain is your website address, it includes the custom top-level domain (TLD) you choose and company name in front of it. The most popular TLDs are .com, .net, .org, and country specific domain extensions like .uk or .ca. You can purchase a new TLD if you want to create an original identity for your site. Make sure that whatever you choose is very relevant to what you plan on doing with the URL so the content doesn’t get confused with other internet searches when potential clients look for you online. If possible try to find a descriptive TLD which can help communicate what you are trying to accomplish.
Your company name will follow the TLD, and is usually part of your domain unless you choose not to create one. If you have created custom TLD it may be obvious that there is no company behind it; if this isn’t the case make sure the name represents who is responsible for maintaining and updating content on this URL. Having a domain with .com at the end implies that there is probably an organization around this website but some very small sites can be registered in any extension including .net or .biz. Having a “home business” type domain (for example uk-business.co) can be effective because it tells people right away that you are a business.
The directories need to be in lowercase and separated by slashes (/). The most common URL path is the one in which the directory is called “www”, so when people refer to it they say “go to www.website.com” - this implies that the site must have a domain with “www” in it. In reality you can use any word or phrase as your directory, but it has to be relevant to what you plan on using this URL for and should obey standard naming conventions (more on that later). Filename:
The file name is usually the same as the page title; Google and other search engines will use this in their search results. The page title is an important factor in SEO because it is what people see in the search engine result when looking for your site - if you are missing a keyword there it will be harder to show up when someone searches for something relevant to your site. It is even more important if you own a custom domain with no corresponding TLD, because there will be no other words or numbers to help tell Google what your site is about; people assume that the page name and the domain name are the same. The most common file names end in .html (hyper text markup language), this tells your browser that it is a webpage and not just an image or document so it can format accordingly.
By now we’ve covered the three main components necessary for every URL: domain, directory and filename.
It’s also very important to create relevant link text - this refers to the visible words on each of your pages that link back to another page within your site or to another website entirely. It may be beneficial to have the title of each page double as link text so it can help convey what is on that specific page, but if you are trying to use more than three words for a title this could become ineffective.
Where Does HTML Fit Into All This?
HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language files are used to create your webpages. They are not visible to visitors, but they describe how everything will look and most importantly what links exist on your site. These files end in .html, which makes them easy both to recognize and remember. If you want to create html content without using html files simply write code into any file name extension that shows up under “text editor” options when creating new content (for example, .txt or .doc).
Can You Use Multiple Directory Names?
It is acceptable to have more than one directory name on your website, but it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If both directories will be linking back to the same page there is no problem with this. If the second directory leads to a different page this could create user confusion so use it sparingly if possible.
URL Structure for SEO Purposes
You should try to follow some basic naming conventions when creating your URLs because they will help convey information about what is on that page and how relevant it is in relation to other information online - for example if someone searches Google for “website design company” he/she would expect to find a company’s website in the search results, but if instead he/she finds a site about web design for dogs they will likely be disappointed.
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