June 4, 2018

The URL is one of the first impressions your customers will get of your website. You may think of a URL as nothing more than an address to a website and it can be difficult to see the value of the various components of a URL. However, once these components are fully understood, they can all be optimized to manage your link strategy and increase awareness of your brand. There are many benefits available once these different parts are recognized and used correctly. The end result can be a substantial increase in website traffic, and brand recognition.

URL Components

Protocol

The protocols form the first part of the URL. They are represented by scheme names. These names are followed up by ://. There are a variety of scheme names available; however, the most common is http:// followed by https://, mailto:// and ftp://.

The first two (http:// and https://) are the standard ones in current use. The other two are used for specialist pages which include opening a mail client and engaging in file transfers.

As a website manager, you will be faced with the decision of either going with http:// or https://. The “s” stands for “secure”. https:// is the newer protocol and also encrypts communications between your website and your visitors. Using this protocol can give you an instant SEO boost in Google rankings since the company has decided to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. Making a simple switch to https:// is one of the easiest ways to give your website more authority and more overall website traffic.

Hostname

The hostname is a combination of the domain name and the subdomain (sometimes called the machine name). For example, on this website, https://www.easyredir.com, the domain name is “easyredir.com” and the subdomain is “www”. The last part of the hostname is “.com” and this is known as the “top level domain” or TLD for short. There are many TLDs available to buy as branded domains, including .com, .org, .net and others. It can be helpful to use TLDs that are specific to your location and your business. Although Google has stated it sees all TLDs in the same manner, the algorithms sometimes give weighting to the relevance of TLDs. Therefore, using the correct branded domains can be influential in asserting your brand’s online presence.

The hostname is one of the most critical components of the URL and it can have a considerable influence on website traffic. This influence makes the decision of selecting a branded domain name incredibly important. This isn’t in terms of the actual name itself but rather the age and reputation it has. An older domain name is seen as far more authoritative. We also recommend choosing domain names that are easy to remember and type.

Path

One of the key components of the entire structure of your website is the path. The path signifies the way users access specific pages within your website. The path will include the filename of the resource being located by the user.

There are a number of ways to organize the paths of your website and one of the most common consists of a tree structure that will take advantage of dashes to organize the pages. Ideally, the path should consist of relevant keywords that are tailored to the content that is being presented. There isn’t one fixed structure that offers the best SEO for all websites. Instead, there are many recommended structures that can be tailored to maintain and increase SEO presence.

EasyRedir makes it easy for our customers to redirect the exact paths from one domain to another, with one redirect. This provides a significant long-term benefit as URL forwarding can be key towards retaining SEO power when migrating to a different hostname. Website traffic can be influenced dramatically by the structure of its path. It is important to use keywords in your path structure. The use of them will further reinforce the specific topic in the various Google ranking algorithms.

Query Parameters

A lesser-known component of a URL are the query parameters. Not every website utilizes these parameters which makes them an interesting proposition. When used wisely, they can be one of the most influential marketing tools at your disposal. Query parameters are frequently used for web analytics tracking. They are merely variables near the end of the URL, and they can consist of any text that’s represented as a “key-value” pair.

You can add separate parameters in your links to ascertain where the majority of your clicks are coming from. This can help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. It can also help you assess whether your domain name is appropriate for the demographics of the website traffic.

Fragments

The final component of a URL is one that is rarely mentioned. It is a fragment identifier and this is more commonly known as the “hash sign” or anchor. It’s represented in the URL as a “#” sign and some text that follows it. Fragments can be added to the end of the URL to signify a specific part of the resource being accessed.

Their most common use is for Wiki and FAQ pages. They allow a user to jump to specific parts of the page which can be beneficial for on-site SEO and simultaneously improve a user’s experience. They can serve a fundamental purpose for pages where there is a requirement for quick access to certain parts of the page. They can also improve your web presence since users may be inclined to stay on the page rather than leaving frustrated because there is no fast way to access certain sections.

Use your URL to its full advantage

You should now have a much clearer understanding of the various components that go into a URL and how they work together to contribute critically to your website performance, and customer engagement. It is incredibly important to understand the role that these components play and how to maximise them to promote your brand. They can be somewhat complicated, but this process can be made significantly more straightforward by taking advantage of reputable link management platforms.

You can easily use your URLs to your full advantage by incorporating branded domain names into your primary business strategy. You can customize these URL components and use short, branded domains that redirect your customers. Start your 14 day free trial with EasyRedir now and capitalize on your URL structure to create brand and SEO growth for your business.