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Knowledgebase : URL Building for International SEO

URL Building for International SEO

February 11, 2021 at 12:45 by Selim Koch

When you decide to do international SEO, you should step up your game in building your website. Paying more attention to details is a must. That includes how you build the URLs of your website. Because many little things have an unignorable impact on how likely your page will appear on the first page of SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

Here is the guideline you should follow for the most effective URL:

  1. Choose the Right Structure

If you plan to localize your website, you might hesitate on which URL structure to use. Since there is no one-size-fits-all, you need to see the pros and cons of each option to see which one suits your situation the most. In general, here are the options you have;

  • ccTLD ( examplesite.us )

Short from Country-Code Top Level Domain, this structure uses two letters at the end of the URL. For example, the code .sg is for Singapore, and the code .fr is for France.

This structure gives you the highest chance to rank better because it sends the strongest signal to search engines. However, it is more expensive to maintain and more difficult to gain domain authority.

  • Subdirectories ( examplesite.com/us )

With subdirectories, the localized pages are placed on a sub-category under the root domain. While this option allows domain authority more easily, the signal is not as strong as the ccTLD. Also, internet users might prefer local websites over a subdirectory page. This URL structure is most suitable for websites that don't have global brands yet.

  • Subdomain ( us.examplesite.com )

On subdomain structure, the country code sits in front of the URL. Compared to the other two structures, this one gives the weakest signal for search engines. Although it is the easiest to maintain, this option may also interfere with domain authority. Search engines might detect each subdomain as an individual site.

  1. Create A Neat Categorization

Directories make the URL neat when appearing on the SERP. Moreover, the systematic organization will make it easier for your visitors to browse around and find more related topics on your website.

However, you should limit the directories to keep the optimal SEO performance. Too many layers of subdirectories will make your website seem too deep. People dislike it because navigation will take too much of their time and data consumption. The structure of the subdirectories should be shallow enough to keep it simple, yet well-organized enough to get everything in order.

  1. Don't Go Overboard With Keywords

Many people think that using the right keywords is utterly vital to get ranked well on the SERP. Unfortunately, many experts have proved otherwise. While it is indeed useful to get the appropriate usage of keywords, going too much with it might not be as helpful.

The right way to use keywords is by using them once in the title, in the metadata, and a little bit in the opening paragraph of your article. Your URL should have the same name as your page title, while both should contain one keyword. Incorporating multiple keywords on the same content will confirm to the SERP algorithm that the page is legit talking about the subject.

Stuffing too many keywords in content will make search engines consider your pages as spam. Also, your content will sound unnatural, awkward, and even boring. Such a situation may increase your bounce rate instead of improving its findability.

  1. Avoid Duplication

It is not a rare case for websites to have multiple pages with the same content. There are even people who think this will double the possibility of appearing on the SERP. Unfortunately, this myth is untrue. Instead of getting twice the higher rank, duplication will devalue both pages, shoving your websites to an even lower rank.

  1. Keep It Clear and Easy

The strongest URL is the one that is simple, short, and easily readable. It looks aesthetic when people are sharing the links, and it is easy to type manually when copy-paste is not an option. If you have a page that continues to other pages, use a paginated URL system.

Use the same sentence as your title and eliminate the filler and stop words. Instead of space, try using hyphens or underscores to separate words. For example, if your blog title is "How to Boost the Traffic of Your Website", you can write the URL as "examplesite.com/boost-traffic-website".

  1. HTTP or HTTPs

The s on the HTTPS stands for secure, which means this domain provides better security for its visitors. The encryption is stronger and more reliable. Choosing HTTPS will surely cost more, but it can be necessary sometimes.

If your website requires and keeps sensitive data such as finance and personal information, using HTTPS is a must. It is the only way to gain the trust of your customers and prevent various possible digital crimes. On the contrary, if your website doesn't collect sensitive data from your audience, there might be no need to waste your money on HTTPS.

  1. Empower with Hreflang Tags Correctly

Hreflang tags work as a core foundation for international SEO for localized websites. While some websites are using this system, many of them do it incorrectly, which causes ineffectiveness.

For example, it is utterly necessary to use the correct ISO codes for language. You also need to include all the URLs in the hreflang groups. To see whether your hreflang tagging is working well already, use the Google Search Console data. It will show any errors on the tagging so you can fix them right away.

Before implementing the tips, you might want to analyze your existing website first. And then, conduct one more analysis to evaluate the difference before and after you fix your URL arrangement.

The result you expect doesn't guarantee to come instantly. Sometimes, it may take a while until you see progress. Furthermore, the impressive result you get today may go down after a while. Therefore, you need a regular checkup and improvement to keep your website stand out from your competitors worldwide.