URL’s are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. But if you’re still trying to wrap your head around SEO, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure your URL’s are structured for successful SEO and great user experience. In this blog, we’re going to share our advice on structuring URLs for SEO.
What Is A URL?
We are fairly confident you already know what a URL is. But for those of you that don’t quite understand what a URL is… it is the thing that usually begins with www, HTTP, or https. It acts as your websites address and is the most direct way for a search user to reach your website.
On search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google, URL’s appear directly above or beneath the page title. This means they are very visible to the search user and should be clear and easy to read.
The structure of your URL will usually be made up of four parts: the protocol, the domain name, the top-level domain (TLD) and the path.
The protocol is usually https, www, or HTTP.
The domain name is the name of your website, for example, growtraffic or facebook (take note of the lower case letters!).
The top-level domain is the few letters that come after the dot at the end of your domain name, such as .com .org or .gov.
And finally, the path follows the TLD and directs search engines and users to the correct landing page, website category or subfolder.
Why Is Structuring URLs For SEO So Important?
Correctly structuring your URL’s is important for both SEO and user experience. To start with, URL’s are a basic yet important ranking factor.
According to Google, the length of your URL is number 46 in the top 200 ranking factors, the URL path is number 47 and having a keyword in the URL is number 51.
Aside from being a ranking factor, URLs are also great for improving user experience. When structured carefully, URLs provide an easy-to-read link that gives the user a good idea of what the web page is about.
Similarly, a well-written URL is more likely to be linked back to in blogs, forums and on social media, which will improve your backlink profile.
Top Tips For Structuring URLs For SEO
Now we have covered what URLs are and why they are so important, let’s get to those tips we mentioned.
Choose The Right Top-Level Domain
If you are structuring your websites URL for the first time, aim to choose a TLD that search users are going to trust. Good choices include “.com” or “.uk” (or whichever geographical location you are in). Try to avoid “.biz”, “.net” and “.pro” etc. as users are less likely to trust these TLDs.
Stick To A Standard URL Structure
Once you have created a URL structure, try to stick to it.
To keep your URL structure simple, avoid having too many paths (categories). Once you have decided on the categories and sub-categories you will be using, stick to them.
Sticking to the main categories will keep your URLs simple and easy to navigate for both search engines and search users. SEO guru, Neil Patel, recommends sticking to a maximum of two categories.
Also, use hyphens to separate words when writing URLs. Hyphens make it easier for search engines to separate the words.
Think About Your URL Protocol
We recommend using https as your URL protocol, as this stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a secure version of HTTP.
With cybercrime on the rise, many search users will look for secure signals when browsing the web. You can upload your SSL certificate to update your site and use the https protocol.
Write The URL Based On The Page
When adding a new page or post to your website, some web builders often generate a URL for the page. However, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember to edit the URL to ensure it is relevant with the page.
Keep It Short
URLs should be kept short to minimise confusion. Avoid overstuffing the URL with keywords as this can do more harm than good. Also, remove stop words such as the, of, how, it, or, etc. When it comes to search engines, the shorter the URL the better.
Include The Keyword For That Page
When optimising a page or post for search engines, there are numerous places where your keyword should be included. And your URL is one of them.
The keyword should be a common search term used by your target audience. It should also be relevant to the page you are writing the URL for. Your keyword or phrase should always be in the H1 tag, so think of the URL as a shorter version of the page title.
However, do not repeat your keyword in the URL as search engines may see this as your trying to manipulate the SERPs.
Get In Touch
GrowTraffic is an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Lancashire and Yorkshire. We specialise in SEO, content marketing and social media – but we offer a range of digital marketing services.
If you would like some help with SEO, get in touch with the GrowTraffic team. You can email us on [email protected] or give us a call 0161 706 0012.