Do you know how important the “common” URL is? When it comes to using good URL structure, we should be more SEO-friendly, which is oftentimes neglected. Due to the fact that we use it so often in this day and age, URLs don’t seem so important – and to an SEO manager’s chagrin, even web developers forget this crucial piece in making a website.
However, if we can keep the following tips in mind, there is a likely chance that your site will get a significant boost in traffic because of it.
What is the Elements of URL Structure?
Protocol: HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) Its the first noticed part when you browse any website, sometimes it might be FTP when you transfer files from the web to your computer.
Domain: Your domain name and sometimes its subdomain when you have a blog (blog.example.com)
Subdirectory/Folder/Path: This is usually your categories path url.
Page: This is the last part of your URL Structure which is the most important piece for your visitors.
How to Create a SEO-Friendly URL Structure?
Website URLs need to be SEO-friendly in order to get hits on the site. They have to be unique and have to stand out from all the others. If they aren’t unique, what most people see when they use Google or any search engine is a sea of URLs and websites that look mostly the same and not knowing which one will actually help them.
It’s a veritable guessing game that makes for a lot of work and a lot of lost time. In this article, let’s try to remedy that situation by helping you make better and friendlier URLs instead. In order to make URLs SEO-friendly here are The Best SEO practices for URLs Structure:
- Be Direct
- Be Relevant
- Be Accessible
From my own observations and research, I have found out there are two kinds of URLs: the “pretty” (Static Pages) and the “ugly” (Dynamic Pages). In terms of being user-friendly, static pages get a better chance of popping up on Google searches, rather than the dynamic ones.
Dynamic pages mean, there are additional parameters at the end of its URL like “&id=” which lead to duplicate content issues. So, rewriting or redirecting (canonicalization) your dynamic pages is the best way to URL Structure optimization.
This essentially means making sure that URLs with any duplicate content should be canonicalized! This is very crucial if you don’t want to cause a massive decrease in your visitor traffic. By canonicalizing similar content, you have a better chance of ranking and earning more visits from people.
So when canonicalizing your content, either use a 301 redirect or a rel=canonical. With a 301 redirect, it means you don’t have any reason to keep the duplicate and therefore are just redirecting to the more important page. In a rel=canonical, you want to keep both versions because they both have slightly different content.
Placing your most important keywords at the Beginning of page URLs will help search engine spiders for a better understanding of your page content and eliminates some of the guesswork your potential visitors will have to do. At the same time, don’t stuff your URL with keywords. Also, it’s a good practice to avoid using category and sub-category names in the URLs for pages with long keywords.
Not all URLs have to be given equal importance. Some need to show up on the search engines which are the important ones, and some should stay in the background. Emphasis on the right URLs is important so that ultimately, there are greater chances of getting visitors hits to a page, instead of splitting the visitor traffic across multiple pages.
For example: Paginated pages (page2/ page3/ ….. etc) has the same title and description of the homepage as well as Tags, Categories and Authors archive pages. So, it’s very important for your site structure in search engines to drop and de-index all these pages to show your killer and important content in the front of search results. In order to do so, you should prevent crawling of these useless pages or other auto-generated pages by robots.txt or meta robots tags.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow"/>
Hint: Learn more about de-index useless pages using WordPress SEO plugin for better URL Structure wordpress optimization.
URL Structure Best Practices
- As Google recommended “Keep a simple URL structure”
- Make your URLs as shorter as possible with descriptive keywords for better rank.
- It is highly recommended that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.
- Don’t use dynamic pages url structure because they take much longer to be fully indexed than static pages.
- Websites are the product and the visitors are the buyers and in a sense, URLs are the pretty packaging the product comes in. If the packaging doesn’t look great, then no matter how awesome the product is, the buyers will most likely skip over it in order to find more appealing ones. So, next time, when thinking about how to structure those URLs, think about your users and what they find appealing.
How well does your site on URL Structure practices, Will you neglect it like most other webmasters? Share with us your opinion by writing a quick comment below.