Question: How much are you at a disadvantage if your page name embeds letters and numbers around your topic. For instance, myweb.com/courses/lperl3.php for a page on perl (the third language course).
Answer: Think like Google. Or rather think like a machine, which isn’t a human, and isn’t as sophisticated (yet) at humans are at pattern recognition. Humans can instantly recognize hundreds of faces, but computers struggle just to recognize a few. So it is with words as well.
A human can look at the file name /course/lperl3.php and especially if he or she landed on your home page, would easily conclude this was a ‘Perl’ course and perhaps even level 3. Google? Not so clear. While Google may be able to parse this word, and may be able to determine that this is about Perl (especially given a TITLE tag that contains the word PERL), all things being equal, and equally well optimized web page that has the simple file name as in myweb.com/courses/level-three-perl.php will beat you out.
That’s why I call website structure the ‘special swimsuit’ of SEO. It isn’t always necessary. But to win in the Olympics you have to do everything right, and sometimes just that tiny parsable clarity in your web page names will let you beat out the competition. So the rule of thumb: Make it very ease for Google to parse the words on your web directories and file names.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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