SEO best practices – using keywords in the name of your web pages

In this article we will look at the why you should include keywords in the names you give your web pages and how to name your web page effectively.

Why you should include your keywords in the name of a web page?

The filenames used in your website form part of your URL and so the files names are a really important part of your HTML.

In addition to naming images and videos strategically by including your keywords, you should also use a similar strategy for your web pages.
Internet users are typically picky about what they search for using the search engines and they pay attention to the URLs and the links to see what the web page is going to be about and if it is relevant to them. If the filename for your webpage is clear to the user then it gives them more confidence in your site and will more than likely make them click on the web page.

Example

Imagine a customer is searching for engagement rings from jewellers in Tunbridge Wells and searches Google or some other search engine.

Of the two example results, which would they customer choose to click on?
www.payneandsonjewellers.co.uk/jewellery/engagement-rings.html
www.tunbridgewellsjewellers.co.uk/jewellery/rings.html

The first example if the more likely target because the keywords “engagement” and “rings” is in the file name of the webpage, and the webpage is in a folder called “jewellery”.

Search engines also read the URLs of web pages and so including your main keywords as shown is important. A good tip to help search engines find your pages is to use hyphen to space out the words. This can really help indexing.
Resist the temptation to stuff your web page name with keywords because this will do more harm than good and put both customers and search engines off.  

How do you name your web pages effectively?

Keep your filenames short

Note that total URL length is up to about 2000 characters approximately. It is a good rule of thumb to keep your web page as short as you can, say no more than four or five words in length (30 to 50 characters).

Use hyphens, not use any spaces!

It is recommended that a hyphen is used for really long web pages names.

Most operating systems can handle documents that use spaces in the file name, such as my document.doc and my accounts.xls. The same thinking shouldn’t be applied to web page, especially those with long names.

The problem is that when a web page that has spaces in its file name is displayed in the search engines it is usually displayed with an underline. Many users will interpret a space as being the underscore character instead. When they click on the link to your web page they may find that they can't get to your web page.

In addition, in order to use a space in a web page file name, many Internet browsers require that that space be encoded. That is adding plus-sign (+) or %20 in the actual web page name.

Use all lowercase

Using all lowercase file names is not an absolute requirement, but it is a recommended course of action for maintaining your website. Computer operating systems are typically “case insensitive”, however most web server operating systems are “case sensitive”. This means that your computer might see "MyPage.htm" as the same as "mypage.htm" - but your web server would see that as two different web pages.

Do not use special characters!

It is strongly advised to use the letters a-z, A-Z, the numbers 0-9, hyphens (-), underscores (_) and periods (.). Any other character could get you in trouble with search engines, or the web page not to load, or the web page to load incorrectly

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