This article will cover one of the most basic building blocks for search engine optimization of a website, i.e., URL structure. Search engine optimization of a website can be improved in many ways. The strategies explained in this post don’t necessarily have to be applied to all your web pages.
One thing you should keep in mind is that following these strategies is not the only way to improve your website’s SEO, but it can be very helpful. This is because search engines are evolving every single day, and so are their guidelines for SEO.
Using these tried and tested SEO strategies can make your website easier to rank for search engines.
A URL was designed to replace the IP address. Computers used IP addresses to communicate with servers. URLs are human-readable texts. A URL displays the structure of a website.
A URL also displays subfolders and subdomains. The domain name points towards a specific location where the website’s data is stored.
There are several examples present where website owners have seen a tremendous increase in organic traffic after moving their content from subdomains to subfolders. However, many also report that their website is losing organic traffic after they have transformed a subfolder into a subdomain.
Subdomains do not improve the rankings of their parent domain, and the rankings of a parent domain have no impact on the rankings of a subdomain.
This doesn’t mean that subdomains should never be used, but they should only be used where necessary. For example, if subdomains are the only way you can set up a web page, using them is better than not setting up your web page.
Setting up an important web page like a blog can help your website in gaining more organic traffic. Web pages like blogs perform relatively well in the rankings.
In this example, “blog” is a subfolder
In this example,” blog” is a subdomain
URLs that are easily readable by users perform better in the long run. The easier a URL is to read, the better it performs. Therefore, accessibility is a significant part of SEO. As search engines are evolving, accessibility is becoming more and more important.
Today, search engines are using advanced technologies to determine the kind of content users are engaging with.
Readability is subjective. What one person finds readable, another person may not.
Replacing random numbers with keywords can help your URL in becoming more readable.
Take a look at this URL. Almost all users will be able to tell that this URL leads to something related to measuring website engagement.
An understandable URL is more compelling for the users.
This example contains a URL string that is not comprehensible to the users.
Adding keywords in URL is still a great idea. Keywords that are used in the URL should be relevant to your content.
Using Keywords can be helpful for social media users because when they hover their mouse over the link, they’ll be able to read the keywords. For example, a URL with keywords “Dog” and “Food” will tell the user that they’ll find content related to dog food if they click on this URL.
The keywords healthy and food indicate that the content is about healthy food. Email users can also view the full URL, so an explanatory URL is also helpful for them.
A URL also serves as the anchor text if no anchor text is present in the link itself. Keywords used in a URL show up in the search results, and relevant keywords can help search engines display the correct results to the users.
The keywords present in the URL can also help users in deciding which search result to click on.
If you have URLs that serve a similar purpose, you should canonicalize these URLs. For example, many websites contain different versions of the same content, e.g., print version. Google and other search engines can flag this kind of content as duplicate content.
Google won’t penalize your website for duplicate content, but it can still affect your search engine rankings. Low rankings mean lesser organic traffic. However, if two pages with similar content are canonicalized, one of these pages will have a better chance of getting ranked.
Excluding dynamic parameters from the URL
Automatically generated URLs contain parameters. Therefore, you should manually remove them from your URL. A URL should not contain more than 2-3 URL parameters. For better results, consider rewriting your URLs to make them more readable for the users.
Many free and paid tools can help you in generating readable URLs. Short and clear URLs work substantially better than long and unclear URLs.
Short and clear URLs are also more likely to get shared on social media.
This URL string “Locale=en-GB” is a URL parameter and should be removed when rewriting this URL.
An ideal URL should only contain 50-60 characters. Shorter URLs are easily readable, and thus they perform better than longer URLs.
Your URL should never contain more than one hundred characters. If your URLs are crossing the hundred characters limit, consider rewriting them.
Long URLs are not problematic for search engines because Google and other search engines can easily process longer URLs.
The problem lies with the user experience. Long URLs are difficult to read and understand from a user’s point of view.
Short URLs are easier to share because they can easily get copied and pasted. Short URLs are also easier to embed.
The example with the shorter URL is more understandable than the one with a long URL string.
Similar URLs and Titles
A URL doesn’t have to be a perfect match to your title, but it should be similar.
If the title of your blog is “10 refreshing summer drinks.”
Your URL should be
Your URL can also be a variation of the one I have mentioned above.
Your page title should also be a close match to your article or blog title. The page title is displayed in the search results. A page title that is similar to your headline will generate more organic traffic.
An explanatory URL gives the user an insight into the content they’ll find on that web page.
The link mentioned above will take you to this web page. As you can see, both the title of the blog and the URL of the web page contain similar keywords.
Anyone looking for information on SEO and voice search will find the keywords in this link very useful.
Coordinating conjunctions are used to connect different words and phrases. Coordinating conjunctions are words such as “are, “if,” “or” etc. These words are very commonly used in headings, but you should avoid using them in URLs.
Leaving these coordinating conjunctions out will help you in shortening the URL.
In some cases, adding coordinating conjunctions to the URL can make it more readable. On the other hand, shorter URLs are preferred over longer ones. First, weigh the pros and cons of adding coordinating conjunctions to your URL. Then, make a decision based on these pros and cons.
As you can see in the examples above, adding “and” to the URL string will make it unnecessarily long.
Fewer folders in the URL
A URL of a webpage should not include more than 3-4 folders. More folders mean a long URL string. The longer your URL string, the less readable it will be for the users.
A URL that contains many folders will also be more difficult in terms of editing.
When comparing both these URLs, the one on the bottom is more readable.
Avoid keyword stuffing
A URL with keyword repetitions looks spammy. Avoid repeating keywords when writing a URL. A URL should only contain 50-60 characters, so adding a keyword once is more than enough.
Search engines like Google don’t reward websites with stuffed keywords. Keywords should always be used in moderation.
Users can also get various URLs with keyword repetitions, impacting the number of clicks your web page receives. Less number of search clicks will lead to lower rankings.
This URL contains the keyword “food” twice, and it will not leave a good impression on the viewer.
URL can be a powerful tool for increasing the search engine rankings of a web page. Unfortunately, people often ignore their URLs when it comes to search engine optimization. Optimizing a URL for search engines as well as users can generate great results.
A short and explanatory URL can compel users to click on it. However, rewriting every single URL can take a lot of time and energy. Instead, you can use a tool for rewriting your URLs.
Try to keep your URL short because shorter URLs are more likely to get shared.
Are you considering rewriting your URLs?
URLs play an important role in the search engine rankings of a web page. Therefore, rewriting your URLs and making them more readable will generate great results.