When you’re building a website for your small business, you have a great opportunity to influence your user’s experience and your website’s rankings.

Now that is a big responsibility. I didn’t mean to put so much pressure on you this early in the post.

But seriously, you do have a responsibility to make your website as user friendly as possible.

After all, you want your clients to feel welcomed and be able to find exactly what they are looking for when they visit.

One way you can do this is by using a proper URL structure.

This is something that can get easily overlooked in the mad dash to get your business’s website up.

First this begs the question: what do I mean by URL structure?

Let’s take a look.

Website URL Structure

What do I mean when I say URL structure? It is simply how your URLs are formatted.

For example: http://yourdomain.com/page/

Now before I go further, this article isn’t meant to address technical silo structure.

And although I am a big fan of silos, I am not providing detailed instructions here on how to set them up.

Here is some silo insight by Bruce Clay, who has been called the godfather of silo architecture. Great stuff if you’re interested.

Oh, and this post isn’t really about permalinks (in WordPress websites) either.

But as a tip, choose the ‘Post Name’ option when setting up your site at a minimum. This eliminates the ugly default URLs WordPress automatically assigns and serves most websites just fine.

What I am specifically talking about is how you structure your business website based on the services you offer and the areas you serve.

Businesses I see struggle with this the most are typically multi-city, service-based businesses.

For example, maybe you are a plumber in Los Angeles, but also have offices in Pasadena and San Diego.

Because I see so many issues with multi-location businesses, let’s look at an example of a business that could improve on their website.

Proper URL Structure For Multi-Location Businesses

Johnny’s Plumbing [<= Not Real] operates throughout California with branches in several cities.

Specifically Los Angeles, Pasadena, and San Diego.

They also offer 3 main services: toilet plumbing, sink plumbing, and garbage disposal plumbing.

Within these categories, they also have 3 services: unclogging, repair, and restoration.

The ideal URL structure for this business would be: johnnysplumbing.com/City/Service/Service Category*

*Service Category is Optional

This is a logical flow of information for the visitor. This also keeps a ‘clean’ appearance across the website.

The top menu bar would list the cities, which when clicked, would lead to that city’s landing page listing the services provided (i.e., toilet, sink, and garbage disposal plumbing).

Each service page could list all of the information about the service categories (i.e., unclogging, repair, restoration), or each service category could have its own page depending on the amount of information you want to list about each category.

It might look like this:

Best Multi Location Business URL Structure

You can link to each of these pages could be put into the sidebar using a Custom Menu widget, or simply link within your page text.

Now let’s now look at single location businesses.

Proper URL Structure For Single Location Businesses

If you only have one location for your business, you would use the same concept without using the city pages.

Instead you might structure your URL like: johnnysplumbing/Services/Service/Service Category*

*Service Category is Optional

Using the above example list of services, your structure might look like this:

Best URL Structure For Single Location Business

This will give you an optimal flow for your visitors.

The SEO Side Effect Of Proper URL Structure

Ah yes. Here is what I love about a website that is built properly.

They tend to rank so much better than sloppy websites. Here’s why.

When someone enters a search term in the search bar, the search engines job is to go out and find the most relevant information to your search term.

Properly structured websites inherently create relevancy among page groupings.

For example, lets take a look at Johnny’s Plumbing. If you enter a search term related to Los Angeles plumbing services, Johnny’s Plumbing has a great chance of appearing in those search results.

Their website has an entire grouping of pages related to Los Angeles plumbing services.

In fact, the internal linking structure gives the Los Angeles page a whole lot of authority related to Los Angeles plumbing since it houses 12 website pages related to plumbing in Los Angeles in it’s URL structure.

This is an SEO’s dream since most of the hard SEO work has already been done!

The website has built-in relevancy to the search terms they want to rank for. And again, this is what search engines love. Returning relevant results for the searcher.

Do you see the power of a properly built website for this reason alone?

What To Do If Your Website Is Already Built

If you are reading all of this and realize you your website isn’t optimally set up, there are a couple things you can do.

One, you can leave it alone. This would be my suggestion if you are already have a steady flow of website traffic, and you are converting visitors into sales at a rate you’re satisfied with. You might also consider leaving it alone if you are ranking high for all of the keywords you want. Both of these kind of go hand in hand.

Another option is to restructure your website and 301 redirect the old pages. This will involve a little work, but can pay big dividends in the end. This might be your best option if you aren’t getting the traffic and sales results you’re looking for.

Simply change the URL structure of each page you want to group, and then 301 redirect the old ones. You can 301 redirect a page through the .htaccess file, or using a WordPress plugin like Redirection.

Be Relevant and Good Things Will Come

The main point on all of this is to build your website in a way that makes sense for the user.

Think about how you search websites. Think about how frustrating it can be not to find what it is you’re looking for.

The last thing you want is to get a potential client to your website, only to have them leave without getting what they came for.

Keep related items grouped together within your website. Don’t make ugly URL structures.

Your users AND the search engines will love you for it!