Every details counts. For example: choosing a URL with an underscore (_) can relegate your hotel’s website to the last positions within the search results. Jorge Simón, expert on the subject here at Innwise, gives us his views on the tight relationship between organic traffic (SEO) and the website’s structure.
To set up an address correctly we must first understand what URL friendly means when applied to SEO: The term is used in a web analytical context to designate the pages that have a proper organization, and therefore, optimal positioning in the search engines. To start with, URLs must be:
– Clear. Addresses with duplicate content must have canonical URLs (preferential addresses). This way, erroneous redirects are avoided.
– Significant. It is necessary for each address to be formed by at least one keyword. It is not advisable to include numbers or punctuation such as dashes or underscores.
- Emphatic. Every now and then the really relevant URLs must be made to stand out, these are the addresses that you want to show from your hotel so they can be indexed by the main search engines. For example, offers. On the other hand it is best to avoid ones such as legal policy.
Following the previous comments, our specialist proposes eight steps to help achieve a Friendly URL (in harmony with SEO):
1) Consolidate domains with and without www. As a general rule, there are these two types of web addresses. They are both indexed in the search engines. The most popular strategy is to redirect one or the other through a 301 code, designed for this purpose. When visitors cannot be re-directed, the alternative is to manually establish which of the addresses is preferential from the Google Web Master Tools configuration options. But this option does have some inconveniences:
– It only takes into account Google out of all the search engines.
– If the website depends on a broader domain (WordPress, Joomla, BlogSpot, etc.) it is not the most convenient way as it can displace the page.
2) Avoid dynamic URLs or ones with variables. It is preferable to implant static addresses as they contain keywords and the name of the whole domain. Also, with just seeing the address one can deduce the websites theme. On the other hand, dynamic addresses are not SEO oriented as they are made up of illegible variables for search engines.
3) Make use of the rel=canonical link. At times, we give the user the chance to organise the information to suit their preferences or we have various pages showing the same information. When this happens we need to use a special label to show the search engines which of the different URLs is the preferential one.
4) Use absolute URLs on the links. When within our content we generate links to other pages it is advisable to use absolute links, in other words, links that include the complete domain. That way we enable the copy of the source code on behalf of a visitor that has shown interest.
5) Create a XML map. This is a list that contains all the addresses made on the page and is sent to the search engines with two aims:
– Help the search engines to find the pages on your website easily.
– The search engines can use the Sitemaps as a reference to distinguish canonical URLS from the rest.
6) Close pages that are irrelevant for the SEO with robot txt files. This involves visitors having access restricted to files that are insignificant in relation to organic traffic. For example: terms and conditions, legal policy.
7) Mark canonical URLs with a special tag. This point refers to differentiating the canonical addresses (preferential) from the rest that show the same content. This distinction is a guide for the search engines, this way they know, out of all the URLs that are the same, which one is preferential.
8) Multilanguage structure. It is important to bear in mind the additional HTML code fragments so the robots, and more specifically Google are able to identify the language the page is running or indexing. For a correct Multilanguage web structure this is essential, as well as understanding that the Google robot starts with a US IP, therefore if we serve up content by IP we must remember that the content that it detects by default will generally be assigned to the English language. Therefore, if we fail on the Multilanguage structure, it will be very hard to achieve a correct visibility in the other languages.
At Innwise we have a great offer for web design services where all these conditions are contemplated. We promise to make your hotel website URL friendly