Sign that says Hollister arches over street at intersection of San Benito Street and Fifth Street in Hollister, California.

Including the city name in the URL can provide several potential benefits for SEO, particularly for local businesses or businesses targeting specific geographical areas.


Using these two URL examples, which one do you think conforms with SEO best practices — name of city first, or “search engine optimization” first?
or -seo

Both URL structures have their merits, and the choice between them can depend on various factors, including your specific SEO strategy and target audience preferences. However, generally speaking, the second URL structure “” conforms more closely to SEO best practices. Here’s why:

  1. Keyword prominence: Placing the target keyword (“SEO” in this case) closer to the domain root can potentially give it more weight in search engine algorithms. In the first URL, “SEO” appears closer to the root, which might improve its SEO relevance.
  2. Readability and relevance: The second URL structure, with the city name preceding the keyword, provides a clear indication of the topic and location of the page. This can be more user-friendly and intuitive for both search engines and human users.
  3. Consistency with search queries: When users search for “SEO Hollister,” they are more likely to encounter the second URL structure in the search results, which could increase the click-through rate as it matches the search query more precisely.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of URL structure is just one aspect of SEO. Other factors such as content quality, website authority, backlinks, and user experience also play crucial roles in determining search engine rankings. So, while URL structure is significant, it should be considered as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Relevance to local searches

Including the city name in the URL not only helps search engines understand the geographic focus of your content but also aligns with user intent. To capitalize on this, ensure that your URL structure consistently includes relevant city names for each location you target. Conduct keyword research to identify commonly used local search terms and integrate them naturally into your URLs. This targeted approach can improve the relevance of your content to local search queries, increasing the likelihood of appearing in search results for users in specific geographic areas.

Improved local search rankings

To maximize the impact of including city names in your URLs on local search rankings, focus on optimizing other on-page and off-page SEO factors. This includes creating high-quality, location-specific content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience in each area. Additionally, optimize your website’s metadata, such as title tags and meta descriptions, to include relevant city names and keywords. Building local citations and acquiring backlinks from reputable websites in your target locations can also strengthen your website’s authority and visibility in local search results.

Local SEO focuses on optimizing a business’s online presence to improve visibility in local search results, making it easier for users to find relevant products or services in their geographic area. This strategy involves various tactics, including optimizing website content with location-specific keywords, creating and optimizing Google My Business listings, and acquiring local citations from reputable online directories. Local SEO citations play a crucial role in establishing the credibility and authority of a business in local search results. These citations consist of mentions of the business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on external websites and directories. Consistent and accurate citations across multiple platforms signal to search engines that the business is legitimate and trustworthy, which can positively impact its local search rankings.

Google Maps and Apple Maps are two prominent platforms that play integral roles in local SEO and online mapping services. Google Maps, being the most widely used mapping application, allows businesses to create and optimize their listings to appear prominently in local search results and on the map itself. This includes providing accurate business information, such as address, phone number, website URL, and business hours. Similarly, Apple Maps provides users with mapping and navigation services on Apple devices and integrates with Siri for voice-guided navigation. Optimizing business listings on both Google Maps and Apple Maps enhances a business’s visibility to local customers and improves its chances of being discovered when users search for relevant products or services in their vicinity. By leveraging these mapping platforms as part of a comprehensive local SEO strategy, businesses can effectively reach and engage with their target audience in specific geographic areas.

Increased click-through rate

In addition to including city names in your URLs, optimize your page titles and meta descriptions to highlight the local relevance of your content. Craft compelling and descriptive meta tags that incorporate location-specific keywords to entice users to click on your search listings. Consider leveraging structured data markup, such as LocalBusiness schema, to provide search engines with additional context about your business’s location and offerings. By aligning your URL structure, metadata, and content with local search intent, you can increase the attractiveness and relevance of your search listings, driving higher click-through rates from users seeking local services.

Enhanced user experience

Beyond including the city name in your URLs, prioritize user-friendly website navigation and clear calls-to-action to streamline the user experience for visitors. Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and loads quickly to accommodate users searching for local services on various devices. Incorporate location-specific landing pages or sections on your website to cater to the unique needs and preferences of users in different geographic areas. By delivering a seamless and tailored experience to users seeking local services, you can increase engagement, foster trust, and ultimately drive conversions for your business.

Location-specific landing pages are tailored web pages designed to target users in specific geographic areas, providing them with relevant and personalized content based on their location. These pages typically feature localized information such as address, contact details, and services offered in the targeted area. Location-specific landing pages serve as entry points for users searching for local businesses or services, offering them a seamless and tailored experience that aligns with their search intent. By optimizing these pages with location-specific keywords and ensuring they provide valuable and relevant information to users, businesses can improve their visibility in local search results and increase the likelihood of attracting qualified leads and customers from specific geographic regions.

But if your business operates in multiple locations or if the city name is not an important part of your branding or targeting strategy, you may opt to leave it out of the URL and rely on other signals (such as content, metadata, and backlinks) to indicate the location relevance to search engines.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your specific business goals, target audience, and SEO strategy. Conducting thorough keyword research and analyzing your competitors’ strategies can also help inform your decision.