More threads by JoyHawkins


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Aug 23, 2014
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I wanted to start a discussion around URL structures for a website and see if anyone has any case studies to reference.

1. What URL structure do you use for a city page? Do you include the keyword ( or just the city (

2. If a business has tons of folders on their site, do you shorten the URLs? Ex: vs
Hi Joy,

Great questions.

It all depends on the actual keywords you want to rank for.

Lets say your website is:
And you want to rank for "dentist Chicago"
It would be enough to go with (since both dentist and chicago is mentioned in the url)

So a rule of thumb, try only to mention 1 keyword once in the URL/slug.
If you have a Branded domain, example:
and the he wanted to rank for "dentist chicago"
Then he would definitely need to use

So first, Identify the keywords that you want to rank for, via example (keyword research tool).
Then decide upon the most suitable URL Structure.
Doing proper Keyword Research is like 90% of the SEO game. It?s crucial to identify all the most searched for keywords within your niche. So that you can optimize your article/website for those keywords.

To answer your second question. I usually want to keep my urls as short as possible. It looks better, cleaner and is more scannable.

Hopefully all this makes sense :)

- Max

So when clients come to you and they already have a URL structure that's bulky and has lots of folders etc, do you update it?
It depends.

1.) If all the articles with bad URL?s don?t have any links going to them. Then I?d consider changing all of them. Even if they did have links, you could always do a redirect.
Use for example, see if all those bad URLS have any significant links going to them. If they don?t, it won?t really matter, SEO wise if you change them.

If all the bad URLS goes to rather nonsignificant pages, then they could be ignored. And just do better slugs for new upcoming articles.

2.) I?d definitely change the bad URL?s for the most crucial pages. If the main page/article you need to rank has a bad URL, I?d definitely consider changing at least that one.

But again, it all depends from case to case. It might be hard to change all URL?s if the website is huge.

So summary:
- Make sure that the most significant pages(the ones you need to rank) have a good URL structure.
- Change the others if it make sense.
- The most important thing is that the keywords are in the URL, mentioned at least once.
I would go with or etc .
Thank you!

I should have given a different example where the keywords weren't the URL itself.

If you had a plumbing service for leaks, but the URL was
Would you still recommend


Or would you simply have


I would like to eventually target the surrounding smaller areas in Brooklyn but most people type in “plumbing Brooklyn”

Thanks in advance.

I would have assumed the homepage was targeting plumbing keywords so I would still go with
Thanks joy! I have been hearing differing opinions about whether a SAB should use geolocation in their page URL’s or to just use a page URL with the keywords and then work the location (city/town) into the body of the page, H1 and title tags etc.

Thank you
Thanks Jeff.

Yes, the keywords are mentioned once but I struggle to know if my URl isn’t “ranking well”. I know it’s subjective but in a big city like Brooklyn, according to GSC the page has 41 clicks, 15k impressions and an average position of 41. (for a 3 month period)

This doesn’t seem to good to me which is why I am considering changing the URL to include the city in it as well.

Do you think that page is ranking well? Maybe I have unrealistic expectations? Thanks in advance.
Last edited:
Have a look in GSC under links - side menu near the bottom. Check 'Top Linked Pages' - see if you can find the page and how many links it has. You can also check for backlinks in Bing Webmaster.

If your page doesn't have many links and from the data above I would say you could change it. Make sure to 301 the old URL to the new.

However - it's claimed the URL length is not a ranking factor. From the mouth of the horse earlier this year -

Also - if you have other pages on your site that rank high - top 10 on avg position consider internal linking the two, but only if topically available.
Thanks Jeff, that was helpful. According to GSC “Top Linked Pages” I have none. Only my other pages linked to it. No external links coming in from other domains. I guess that makes sense since it’s a local service page and not an informational long post, evergreen page, or something super interesting.

When you say “If your page doesn't have many links “ I’m assuming you mean from domains other than my own? Just checking,.

Thanks again.
Yes, from outside your website. Have you linked from social accounts to that page? Sometimes GSC doesn't show everything, but it's pretty good.

If you do change the URL, make sure you change all internal links from the old URL to the new URL. Don't let your internal links 301.
Great thanks!

I have not linked from social accounts to that service page. I have a few services and my social accounts go to my home page. Should I make my social accounts go to my service pages instead?

Yes, I will 301 the URL and go through the entire site and will update all links that were pointing to that old page. Is there an “easy” way of finding all of the pages that were pointing to the old service page?

I can use the list I just saw from GSC but thought there might be an easier way to do it, maybe with a plugin “find-replace” feature or screaming frog?

Thanks again.
If the site is small enough you could use internal links in GSC. I do think there is a plug-in but I cannot recommend anything. Screaming Frog shows this too. On the bottom of the app - inlinks - I believe.

If you're talking about a specific service anywhere and you have a page that focuses on this you should link to it for UX. As a customer, if I need a plumber for a leak - I don't want to see all your services. I need to know if you can get here ASAP and how I get in touch. If this is easily linked on the homepage - that's okay. But if you have a choice send them directly to that 24-hour emergency service page.

Or if I need a builder to do a sunroom addition to my house I would really want to see you can do sunrooms - while the home page can work too because a ton of people want to know who is doing the work as if they can do the work and sunrooms can be similar to other add ons.
Hi there,

A question on service areas...

I have a client who runs a trades business and has one office location but services 3 main areas within one city.

Service areas are: 2 council areas and one additional adjacent suburb.

The client wishes to rank on page 1 for 'service name + council area’ for one of the council areas. That’s the priority.

At the moment the homepage is the only page ranking for the service name + local council area keyword (page 2).

Would I be better simply optimising the homepage to see if it is enough to get to page 1 or should I be creating location pages so that it has a better chance of competing? All the sites on page 1 seem to have numerous location/ service area pages.

I was thinking of creating 3 new pages for the service areas, with a service areas navigation so that I cater for all the locations and have a chance to rank for all.

Prioritising the council area he wants to rank on page 1 for, the structure might be:


The domain name contains the service name (so excluding this from the folder structure). However they do offer another service, so would I be better to include the service as well in case I need to do location pages for the other service later on?​

Then later possibly creating landing pages for all suburbs in those council areas with unique content. I've seen other websites doing this, some of them hiding from the navigation and just appearing in the sitemap.

Appreciate any advice on the best way to set this up.
If the domain includes the service name, I would leave it off the URL structure. You can always include the 2nd service in the URL structure if it's not already mentioned when you create these down the road.

I usually only target 1 geographic location per page but make sure to optimize it both for the city and state.

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