/ RapidWeaver

How to Create SEO Friendly URLs and Web Addresses

It's important that you customize the URLs for all of your pages. Generic /page-name URLs won't cut it if you're serious about SEO. In this article, I'll give you some practical advice on what you can do to implement SEO friendly URLs in your RapidWeaver projects.

What is a URL?

A URL — Uniform Resource Locator — is the web address for each individual page on the internet. You'll find it in the browser address bar and it's the link you share via email or social media.

A URL looks something like this: https://www.your-domain.com/page-title

If you want to watch a video covering SEO friendly URLs, here's one I made earlier. However this articles goes in to a little more detail.

SEO Friendly Domain Names

In this article, we are going to concentrate mostly on the page-title section of the URL, but before we do that, let's talk domain names.

Your domain name is an important part of your URL, for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Perhaps this goes without saying, but an easy to remember — and spell — domain name will help visitors remember your site.

My advice is usually to use longer domain names that include your company name and some target keywords rather than shorter domains that remove vowels or use trendy acronyms.

BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com is much better than Bens.coffee or bcs.biz.

The reason BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com is good is that it's it’s easy to remember, it contains my business name, and has some target keywords. I already have "Brighton coffee shop" in my domain, which is likely to be a popular search term. So before I start naming my pages I already have three keywords in all my URLs.

If you're not sure about your domain name, test it out on some friends or family members. Ask them to write it down, if they have to ask how to spell it, you need to choose something else. Ask them again in a couple of days and if they can't remember it, that might also be a sign that you need to choose something else.

Side note: I'd suggest trying to get a .com domain, but if everything is already taken there are hundreds of new TLDs available to choose from. So in my example above, I could go for something like BensCoffee.shop if pushed.

I use NameCheap.com to register domains as I find them to be reliable, professional, and competitively priced. If you purchase a domain with them I’ll get a small affiliate bonus — thanks in advance.

SEO Friendly Page URLs

So with the domain name covered, let's now look at the /page-name portion of the URL.

I always suggest using “Tidy Website Links”. This means that links to your pages will be /about rather than /about.html. It's shorter, cleaner and less prone to typos.

New RapidWeaver projects have this enabled by default, but you can enable this by going to "General Settings" and then clicking "Advanced Settings". You can also update old pages by ensuring the folder name is set correctly, and then updating the "File name" to be index.html (or index.php depending on your page). If you do this be sure to setup a 301 redirect to the new URL.

Describe Page Content

Your page URLs should accurately describe the page content and use some target keywords, but as I always say: don't be spammy, don't be keyword stuffing.

Taking my coffee shop example again; if I'm running some coffee training courses in Brighton, here are some good and bad examples:

👍 Good: BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com/coffee-brewing-courses
👍 Good: BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com/courses/coffee-brewing

👎 Bad: BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com/brighton-courses/coffee-courses-in-brighton
👎 Bad: BensCoffeeShopBrighton.com/brighton/coffee/coffee-courses-brighton

Always try and keep the URLs as natural as possible, Google is getting better and better at spotting spammy URLs. They also look horrible and unprofessional.

If your pages have great content and follow the good examples, you're on to a winner.

Small Sites

If you have a small site with only a handful of pages, then you can probably keep all your pages as top level pages.

A top level page is one that is in the root of your domain, this will likely be your homepage, an about page, and a contact page. They should not be nested in subfolders. So your-domain.com/about is great, your-domain.com/company/about is not so great. Don't create subfolders unless you really have to, keep your page at the top level whenever possible.

Examples:

👍 Good Homepage: https://your-domain.com
👍 Good About: https://your-domain.com/about
👍 Good Contact: https://your-domain.com/contact

👎 Bad Homepage: https://your-domain.com/homepage.html
👎 Bad About: https://your-domain.com/all-about-us
👎 Bad Contact: https://your-domain.com/say-hello

Firstly, a note about the homepage; you should always have an index.html or index.php file in the root of your server, otherwise nothing will be displayed on https://your-domain.com — RapidWeaver handles this for you and you can change your homepage at any time by right-clicking any page and selecting "Set as Homepage".

The reason I think the bad examples are bad is that they are hard to guess, look messy, and have no SEO benefit. But if you really want those types of URLs you should setup redirects to go from /about to /all-about-us.

page-inspector-folder-1

In RapidWeaver, you set the page URL by updating the "Folder" setting in the Page Inspector's General tab. Ensure that the file name is index.html otherwise your Tidy Website Links won't work. The URL Customization video displayed above covers this in more detail.

Large Sites

If you have a lot of content on your site you should organize them into sub-folders. Let's say we are listing a lot of products in multiple categories, we would have URLs like the following:

Products homepage: /products

Mens Category: /products/mens
Womens Category: /products/womens

Mens Shoes: /products/mens/shoes
Womens Shoes: /products/womens/shoes

These are all perfectly good URLs. They are easy to guess, concise, and importantly describe the page content. These URLs give you an expectation of what you'll see when visiting each page — search engines like this type of predictability. If they can match keywords from the URL to the page content, you're on the right track.

Live Example
The RapidWeaver Community is a perfect example for this. We list out all the available addons for RapidWeaver, categorized by type — themes, plugins, stacks, projects.

Here's the URL for all addons:
https://rapidweavercommunity.com/addons/

Here's the URL for all themes:
https://rapidweavercommunity.com/addons/themes

Here's a URL for an individual theme:
https://rapidweavercommunity.com/addons/themes/foundation

These URLs are good because they contain my target keywords and describe the page content. Imagine someone searching for "RapidWeaver addons" or "RapidWeaver themes", the above examples cover both of these search terms nicely.

Also, notice how you can guess the URLs, and delete each section after a / to go up a level. This is how search engines like to see content organized as it helps them to categorize your site into sections and provide more accurate search results.

If you have a large site, this is how your URLs should look. Again, the URL Customization video covers how to generate these types of URLs in RapidWeaver.

Roundup

If you have read any of my other SEO articles you'll know that there are many components that work together to improve your SEO and page ranking. You page URLs are just one of the components you need to focus on.

If you're serious about SEO then our RapidWeaver SEO Course is for you. It covers how to apply all of these SEO tips on to your RapidWeaver site.

Resources

If you want to learn more about RapidWeaver and SEO, I'd recommend the following resources: