The importance of URLs

The URL structure of your website dictates how easy it will be found. Imagine yourself commenting on the funniest meme on a social media platform only to spend hours finding it again for another look. Yes, the value of the content makes it stand out on the web, but the URL structure can sabotage the visibility, even if the content is fantastic.

Let’s take the case of Wikipedia and LinkedIn for example. For whatever term you search on the web, Wikipedia pops up on the SERPs. However, in the case of LinkedIn, their content is difficult to find. This is despite the fact that LinkedIn has a wide blog network, and some of the best content on the web.

You know what’s the difference between the two? Wikipedia’s URL is optimized based on the topic of the page while LinkedIn is filed by the person’s name or some post number. After all, we can’t blame LinkedIn. It’s an employment-oriented network that values people’s names more than others.

How users search the web

Sadly, for LinkedIn, about 80% of total queries searched on the web are what we call informational queries. These search terms include how-tos, answers to questions, and other generic keywords. Only 15% of tracked queries include actual names of people, companies, and brands. The remaining 5% in the equation is composed of transactional queries including numbers and product names.

These percentages rarely change even if the methods of SEO are rapidly evolving. In the end, users have one major goal: to get answers for day to day questions. If you’re writing a study, you won’t start by looking for people. You will search for topics and take it from there.

Why topical content rules

One reason why Wikipedia pops up on almost every search result is its approach to content. It has topical content. Its URL semantics are anchored to the topic, not to the people involved in it. This suffices the majority of users who are looking for ideas and topics rather than people they don’t even know about.

With URLs optimized based on the topic at hand, the page is then made available to the right places. Remember, URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. With locator, that means it’s the ticket to being found. With LinkedIn’s method of optimizing its pages’ URLs, it’s depriving writers and their possible audience a chance to meet.

The URL semantics

When a website submits a sitemap, it contains URLs of all the pages that the domain contains. If these URLs contain topics and keywords, the site is more likely to be crawled efficiently. But if you put the authors’ names or post numbering on it alone, the search engine will lose one important clue as to what your content is about.

Take note that Google understands content from a URL perspective among others. If you want to utilize all the ranking factors possible, it’s imperative that you make your URLs relevant to your content. This is the reason why many SEO practitioners prefer using the keywords on their links. It gives the page more edge when it comes to common query searches.