Boost Your Website’s Search with Branded URLs

An easy way to increase the chances that your website will be found is to brand each page’s URL—the address line that shows up when you click on that page—with keywords relevant to your business.

It’s a step that often gets missed, because web content management systems (CMS) generate URLs automatically, based on the title for each page. With some systems, when you click on a page within the site, you’ll see your website url followed by a slash and a series of numbers, letters and symbols in the address line; in other systems, you’ll typically see your url followed by the title of the page, say “About,” like this: www.yourwebsite.com/about.

But you can make your page urls work harder for you by customizing those addresses to boost search. For example, let’s say you’re a CPA who specializes in tax returns for small businesses. You’ve done some basic keyword research using Google’s free keyword tool and learned a few interesting facts:

Identify Relevant Keywords with Robust Search
The phrase you think people search on, “small business tax accountant,” has a lot of AdWords competition (which means that a lot of CPAs are buying Google ads using that phrase because they think it’s relevant), but surprisingly little actual search—about 390 searches in the U.S. per month!

As you look down the list of related keywords, however, you notice that “accounting for small business” has 40,500 searches nationwide per month. (It’s also a competitive phrase for AdWords, but you don’t need to worry about that for branding your URLs.) And you see that “cpa tax accountant” gets some decent search. You also discover that “small business tax” gets good search, about 33,100 searches nationwide each month, as does “tax savings.”

Integrate Your Best Search Phrases into Your Page Addresses
So, now it’s time to put those phrases to work for your website. Let’s assume your business is called Acme Accounting, so your url is acmeaccounting.com, and you have four basic pages for your website: homepage, about (your bio/credentials), professional services and contact. You want to include your name, Jane Doe, in your branding, because people may search for you by name instead of your business monicker. You also want to include your geographic location, because many people search for local services. For this example, let’s use Worcester, Massachusetts.

Here’s how I would set up the URLs, using the best keywords we’ve identified, above:

  • Homepage: www.acmeaccounting.com
  • About: www.acmeaccounting.com/about-jane-doe-cpa-tax-accountant-worcester-massachusetts
  • Professional Services: www.acmeaccounting.com/jane-doe-cpa-accounting-for-small-businesses-central-massachusetts
  • Contact: www.acmeaccounting.com/contact-jane-doe-cpa-small-business-tax-savings

You can have your web developer customize your URLs for you, or, if you have a user-friendly CMS like WordPress, you can easily set up these branded addresses yourself. In the user interface for each page, you’ll see a line below the page’s title called “Permalink.” Click on the Edit button, and you’ll be able to add your custom url extension for your page.

As you can see, your page addresses are now working much harder for search phrases relevant to your business. In addition, never take search phrases for granted: always check a keyword tool to see how your target audience looks for your line of work. The results, as noted above, are often surprising and always helpful for sharpening your marketing strategy.

Marketing consultant Evelyn Herwitz loves to help you tell a great story about your great work. She specializes in search-optimized web content that positions you as an approachable expert in your field and helps you grow your business. Contact Evelyn for a free half-hour consult for new clients.

 

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