Optimizing website page names for SMB clients: A guide to naming conventions and page hierarchyBy Lawrence Dy
For Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), optimizing website page names is critical to creating an effective online presence. Knowing the proper naming conventions, URL structure, and page hierarchy can significantly affect search engine rankings and user experience.
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There are many ways of doing this, but at the end of the day, we all have one goal: making sure that your client’s website is accessible to everyone. In this guide, you’ll learn how optimizing website page names can help businesses get ahead of the competition and establish their presence online while optimizing for user experience.
Questions to Ask When Naming Website Pages
Your website is not just a place where people can find your products and services. It is an extension of your brand identity and the experiences users will have navigating will directly impact how they feel about your client’s business or brand.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when creating website page names for your clients.
1. What is the purpose of the page?
By understanding the purpose of each page, you will be able to create influential names, URLs, and hierarchies that accurately reflect its content. An accurate and descriptive title can increase user engagement by giving visitors a better understanding of what they are about to explore, which can help with achieving higher click-through rates and conversions.
Knowing the purpose of a website page will also help you choose keywords relevant to its content and determine its overall intent to optimize visibility.
2. Who is the target audience?
Having a clear understanding of the target audience's needs and objectives will make it easier to create pages that accurately reflect what the user is looking for on the website. From an SEO standpoint, keeping your target audience in mind can help you determine relevant keywords to include in your website page names that your users would likely search for online.
3. What keywords will the page target?
Keyword research should be conducted to determine which phrases are most relevant to the page's content and identify related terms users are searching for online.
When targeting keywords, you should always keep the intent of those keywords in mind and ask yourself why someone searched for a specific query. Ensure your website page names are built for the intent of that keyword, whether it's a user looking for more information online on a specific topic or wanting to purchase a product they've had in mind.
To maximize SEO efforts, you can even include relevant and unique keywords in meta titles, descriptions, the URL slug at the end of the page, and even image file names.
4. How does the page fit into the website's overall structure?
Creating an organized navigation structure creates a positive and consistent user experience, helping them understand where they are on your client’s website and quickly find the information most relevant to them.
You should make sure to understand the purpose of each page, so you can properly organize them within the overall structure of the website and determine which pages are most important to include in your navigation.
How website page names relate to website structure and page hierarchy
Consistent web page names and naming conventions are vital to the overall website structure and page hierarchy. Here are some other reasons why creating well-thought-out and consistent page names is essential when creating your client’s websites.
Combined with good UX design, well-named web pages can help users easily navigate your client’s website, as they provide clear and concise descriptions of the content on each page. Descriptive titles that accurately reflect the page’s content can help users quickly identify relevant information and enter the material. Additionally, consistent and logical naming conventions throughout the site will ensure users are comfortable navigating the website.
Creating an intuitive navigation structure is also essential when building a website page hierarchy. This means grouping related pages under a parent page title and creating sub-pages with more specific topics. For example, a gallery page could contain multiple child pages like “paintings,” “sculptures,” or “photographs.”
Page names are vital in determining a page's relevance to a particular topic or keyword. By choosing page titles that accurately describe the content of each page, including target keywords, website owners can improve their search engine rankings and attract the right audience through search.
The most important pages to crawl are the home page, product pages, blog posts, and any other pages with high-value content, such as contact information or sales pages. Having well-named pages and a well-structured page hierarchy helps with creating a website design with SEO in mind, allowing search engines to better understand the purpose of your website while crawling through each page.
Creating a page hierarchy is an integral part of website structure. It helps search engines understand the structure of your site and prioritizes certain pages for indexing and crawling.
When creating a hierarchical structure for a website's pages, it’s critical to consider how individual pages relate to each other. Parent pages should be given broad titles that reflect their primary topics, while child pages should have more specific titles that go into further detail. Creating a clear hierarchy with concisely named pages will make navigation easier for users and search engines.
Consistency in your website page hierarchy is vital to ensuring optimal user experience. Having consistent page names and structure allows visitors to easily navigate the site with minimal confusion, as they will have an easier time understanding where certain types of information can be found. This consistency also applies to navigation menus and the website's overall structure, as any changes here could drastically affect user experience and accessibility.
For example, a website with separate pages for 'About Us' and 'Contact Us' labeled consistently across all pages allows users to quickly locate important information without manually searching each page, making their experience on your client’s website seamless and stress-free.
Page names play a significant role in website branding and can be used to reinforce a unique identity. This includes selecting descriptive, page titles that accurately reflect the content found on each page and including brand elements in the page names.
This helps differentiate it from competing websites but also aids in helping users more quickly identify the pages they're looking for. Consistent page naming conventions across the entire website can help establish a recognizable brand image and improve brand recognition.
Tips and best practices for website page naming conventions
Page naming is an important factor in website branding and user experience. Here are several tips and best practices you should consider and keep in mind when creating page naming conventions for websites.
1. Keep it Relevant
Keeping page names relevant is essential to create an effective website naming structure. Descriptive page names that accurately reflect the page's content make it easier for users to understand the purpose and intent of the page.
This helps them quickly assess if that page contains what they are looking for, allowing them to easily navigate the website. Having descriptive page names also helps with boosting organic search visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, including target keywords in a page name can help increase its chances of appearing in SERPs.
2. Use Target Keywords
When creating website page names for a website, it's important to include target keywords pertinent to the page's content. Doing so can help boost search visibility in SERPs and draw more organic traffic to the page. Additionally, using specific keywords in page names can make them easier to find and remember.
When selecting keywords for page names, consider both short-tail and long-tail terms related to the page's content and consider any relevant trends or popular phrases used by your target audience. Also, pay attention to how you use these keywords in your page name. Aim for clarity over creativity, and remember that there is a limit to how long your page name should be.
3. Keep it Concise
Page names should be kept as concise as possible. Using long or simple page names can make them easier to understand and remember, so strive for brevity and clarity.
Also, when choosing the words to use in your page name, use terms that are easy to comprehend and rely less on jargon or uncommon acronyms. Where possible, avoid using extra words such as a, the, or of as they do not add any real value and may only serve to elongate your page name.
4. Avoid Special Characters
You should avoid using any special characters, symbols, or spaces in page names. The only exception is using hyphens (-) when separating words. When using hyphens, make sure not to put more than one together and that there are no spaces between the words in your page name.
Some search engines may prefer underscores (_), but it is recommended to stick to hyphens for the best results. Finally, remember that page names should be easy to read and understand — avoid overly complex phrases or duplication of letter combinations, as they can confuse visitors and search engine bots alike.
Consistent website page names and structure are critical for both SEO and user experience. To ensure consistency, use the exact words to describe a type of content or product across all pages. Additionally, make sure that hierarchical words (e.g., “home” and “products”) are used consistently throughout your website.
Try avoiding using two different terms (e.g., “home page” in one-page name and “main page” in another). Moreover, use consistent capitalization, hyphenation, spelling, and numbers when writing page names. This will make it easier for search engine bots to recognize them and for users to understand their meaning quickly.
6. Follow a Logical Structure
It’s essential to ensure that your page names follow a logical structure that accurately reflects the website’s hierarchy. This makes it easier for users to understand the website’s structure and navigate between different pages.
For example, if you have a “Products” section with sub-pages for specific types of products, each sub-page should start with the parent page name (i.e., “Products/”) followed by the type of product (e.g., “Widgets” or “Gadgets”). Additionally, make sure that all parents and children are in sync.
Changing a website page name may require changes to other related pages as well. You should also avoid using long page names, which can be challenging to read and interpret for most users.
7. Avoid Duplicate Names
Avoiding duplicate page names is important, as this can confuse users and search engines. To ensure that page titles are unique, consider adding a short descriptor before or after the primary page name — this will make it easier to distinguish between pages with similar titles.
It would also help to use the same name for the same page across different sections of your website (e.g., “Products/Widgets” should be used for both the top-level Products page and its child Widgets page). You can also use version numbers or date stamps in the naming conventions to help differentiate between different versions of a particular page if needed.
8. Be Brand-Specific
When naming pages on your website, consider using brand-specific elements to reinforce the website's brand identity. This will help with brand recognition and make it easier for users to quickly identify the company behind the website.
For example, you could use acronyms or abbreviations specific to your company, include words in your branding language, or add industry-specific terms relevant to your target audience. Additionally, you can combine these elements with page descriptors or numbers to create page names that are both descriptive and memorable.
9. Test it Out
Test out your page names with users to ensure they are easy to understand and navigate before you finalize them. This can help identify any potential issues with the naming conventions that may need to be noticed.
Here are a few tips for testing page names:
- Create multiple versions of page names, including the one you think would work best and variations incorporating different brand-specific elements or descriptors.
- Ask for user feedback on which versions are the most descriptive and easy to remember.
- Make sure to provide specific questions that pertain directly to the naming conventions, as this will help narrow down helpful feedback.
- Consider using A/B testing tools to more accurately compare different versions of page names and quickly identify which titles resonate better with users.
Frequently asked questions
Should website page names be the same as the page title?
Keeping page names and titles consistent is the best practice. Doing so ensures clarity and helps with SEO rankings. A consistent structure for page names and titles also makes it easier for search engine algorithms to index your website pages effectively, resulting in better visibility and more traffic.
Can website page names be changed without affecting SEO?
Yes, website page names can be changed without affecting SEO. This can be done by creating a 301 redirect, which allows you to set up a link between the old URL and the new one. This helps ensure that any visits to the old page are directed to the correct new URL and that search engines are aware of this change.