June 1, 2007, 12:00 AM

Putting the URL back in Google indexes

Evogear.com, a retailer of sports gear and apparel, has produced a sharp increase in Google natural search rankings by redesigning the URLs of product pages and developing brand-specific content. The changes have led to more thorough indexing of pages by Google’s spiders and, in turn, improvements in Google natural search rankings.

Everyone knows that Google keeps the formula behind its natural search rankings top secret, but there are ways to peek behind the curtains and improve how a web site gets Googled. Evogear.com, a retailer of sports gear and apparel, has produced a sharp increase in Google natural search rankings by redesigning the URLs of product pages on its web site and developing brand-specific content pages.

“We’ve released a number of site improvements that are having phenomenal results in our organic search campaign, and I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” senior manager of e-commerce Nathan Decker says.

Evogear’s in-house IT staff has reconfigured product page web addresses displayed in URLs, or uniform resource locators, to specifically reflect the featured products or product categories, Decker says. The URL for K2 Public Enemy skis, for example, was changed to include “skis/k2-public-enemy-2007” instead of a more obscure identifier like “cat-id-12345”. Likewise, a category page for skis now includes “ski-shop” in the URL instead of the former coding.

The changes have led to thorough indexing of these pages by Google’s spiders, resulting in improved natural search rankings, Decker says. “Google has been picking up more pages, the total has gone up significantly,” Decker says.

He figures the changed URLs also provide a better shopping experience because shoppers can read the URLs while browsing through the site.

Evogear also has developed brand-specific content information pages, such as for K2, that link from several related product pages. The increased links and traffic between these pages has also helped to boost Google rankings, Decker adds. “Google looks closely at what links are linking to certain pages, so if we have many iterations of links from product pages to a brand landing page, Google’s spider understands that landing page is relevant to that brand.”

The retailer also modified its web page linking structure so it can continue to analyze clickstreams that lead to product pages, even after deleting that clickstream data from product page URLs. Keeping the URLs clear of all that clickstream data makes it easier for Google spiders to index them, Decker says.

paul@verticalwebmedia.com

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