Automating URL Optimization Has Its Advantages

Before we talk about giving the traditional URL a facelift, let’s start by reading what Google says on their site about URL structure.

“A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you’re searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link.

A URL like:
http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1.

is much less appealing to users. Consider using punctuation in your URLs.

The URL http://www.example.com/green-dress.html is much more useful to us than http://www.example.com/greendress.html. We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.”

Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76329?hl=en

A quick word on Mobile: When someone searches Google from a smartphone, they are searching through the same index as they would from a desktop. Google clusters the desktop and mobile pages.

What you might consider with your URL optimization:

First, dynamically generated URLs comprised of meaningless query strings are not search engine friendly. You need to enable keywords using directory style URLs in the base string rather than the query string.

And promote maximum link value in URL with compressed navigational parameters removed from the query string. The goal is to promote links to popular categories while promoting maximum link value.

Second, automate your efforts as much as possible. This might include automating the inclusion of descriptive keywords into URLs. Automatically deriving keywords from existing dimension names, values, and dimension ancestors from guided navigation states. Automate how the string values are to be formatted.

Third, regarding simplification: Shorten URL (under 256 characters); remove dynamic parameters and separators like question marks, ampersands and separators; prevent duplicate content by ensuring multiple paths to the same place are ‘ordered’.

Example:

http://www.somesite.com/wines/Red-Merlot/California/_/N-12-34-5678
http://www.someite.com/wines/California/Red-Merlot/_/N-5678-12-34

Canonicalized URL organizes parameters and keywords the same way, regardless of browse pattern as shown in two paths above:
http://www.somesite.com/wines/Red-Merlot/California/_/N-12-34-5678

All of this sounds pretty time consuming with diminishing returns. Is it worth it?

Making changes to URLs is always risky, however using the right tool to automate the process that takes into account inherent problems with URL modifications will make a tremendous difference.

Automating URL optimization helps you avoid the problems of dynamically created pages that don’t contain relevant keywords; creating duplicate content; non-user friendly URLs; and long URLS.

Best of luck in your efforts.

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