URL optimization is crucial for both SEO and user experience. URLs are one of the factors that search engines use while making ranking.
What are SEO-friendly URLs?
SEO-friendly URLs are those that are tailored to the demands of users and search engines. URLs designed for SEO, in particular, are brief and keyword-rich.
SEO is growing more complicated and changing faster than ever. You may, however, continue to acquire knowledge, use what you’ve learned to rank your website, and make a significant difference.
A well-structured SEO enhances the user experience by giving a short, straightforward, and SEO-friendly URL. URLs that have been optimized can appear at the top of search engine results pages.
The Anatomy of a URL
URLs are composed of multiple elements.
The slug is likely the most crucial aspect in building an SEO-friendly URL. You must select one every time you make a page or post.
So, we’ll focus mostly on the slug, but we’ll also go through SEO best practices for the complete URL.
SEO-friendly URLs Best Practices
Personalize URLs Based on Your Content
A user should be able to make an educated prediction about the content of a web page merely by reading the URL. A URL should include a phrase or word to describe the content.
Include a Keyword to Optimize the URL
Your URL should contain keywords. Put the most relevant keywords towards the beginning of the URL, as keywords at the end are less relevant to search engine crawlers.
From the perspective of the user, inserting keywords plays an important purpose. When your content is copied without anchor text, the URL can function as the anchor text. In this manner, readers can tell what your content is about with a single glance.
However, avoid stuffing keywords. Each URL should contain no more than one or two keywords.
Use Hyphens in URLs
You cannot use spaces in URLs. Browsers convert them to “%20”. To separate words, Google officially recommends using hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in URLs. Words joined by underscores are treated as one word, but google considers hyphens as spaces between words.
Recommended URL Example:
Not optimized: yourdomain.com/blog/Use_Hyphens_URLs
Use Lowercase Letters in URLs
Uppercase and lowercase characters in URLs can be deciphered by search engines as the same, resulting in duplicate URLs. Additionally, using capital letters may cause redirects or 404 problems on some servers. To avoid any duplicate content and 404 errors, always use lowercase characters in URLs.
WordPress users need not be concerned because the system automatically assigns lowercase characters to URLs.
Create Short URLs
According to Google, a web page’s URL should be descriptive and simple. A shorter URL takes less time to input and read. Furthermore, the fewer words there are, the more value each word receives from a search engine spider. Search engines can consider keyword stuffing if they find too many similar words in a URL.
According to Backlinko, shorter URLs outperform longer URLs in search engines. According to another Backlinko survey, the average URL length for a top 10 Google result is 66 characters.
Static URL vs Dynamic URL
It is preferable to utilize static, non-changeable URLs wherever possible. Static URLs do not change with each page load. Avoid using extraneous arguments like “?”, “&”, and “=”. These characters are typical in dynamic URLs. Static URLs are more SEO friendly. Audiences and search engines can easily understand them.
Carefully Use Subdomains
Search engines can view a subdomain as a distinct entity from the original domain. This can influence many aspects of SEO.
Subfolders, according to several SEO experts, are preferred over subdomains. Several instances have surfaced of traffic surges following the migration of content from a subdomain to a subfolder. So, only use a subdomain for specialized purposes.
Use Necessary Folders in URL Structure
There should be no additional directories in a URL. Enter the number of folders and characters required for your URL structure.
Not Recommended: yourdomain.com/blog/SEO/tips/post-title
Use of Special Characters
It is not recommended to use URLs that contain backslashes (), square brackets (), or any other special characters. Special characters Like commas, colons, semicolons, etc, should be avoided in URLs.
As you can see in the sample below, the page title and URL both carry a number. However, if we update the post like “50 Cool, Unique and Useful ….”, we also need to update the URL to “45-cool-unique-and-useful …”.
It is preferable to avoid including numbers in the URL. If you make minor modifications to the page title in this manner, you will not need to update the URL.
Blog Title as URL
Long blog titles lead to lengthy URLs. To improve your URL, you need to remove the unnecessary characters from the URL. You can select a suitable target keyword connected to the web page. Then add one or two extra words to make it more descriptive.
In addition, if you modify the title or content of the blog, your URL may become obsolete. The goal is to build keyword-focused descriptive URLs, so the user is not perplexed by the content.
How to Use Stop Words
Should we use Stop words like a, an, and, of, Etc. in URLs or not?
According to Neil Patel, including stop words in your URL isn’t a significant concern. Search engines frequently overlook stop words and give them little weight as a ranking factor.
If your URL structure is logical and readable, inserting stop words will make it longer and more complicated. However, if you believe that a stop word is required for your URL to make sense and be more understandable, go ahead and use it.
If it makes reading simpler for people, that’s what you need.
How to Use Dates in URL
There are two reasons why dates should not be included in URLs.
First, dates lengthen your URLs.
It is better to use this.
Second, dates make updating your content more difficult. For the below example, “Black Friday Tech Deals 2022“, if you want to update the content for 2023, the date in the URL will confuse the audience.
HTTPS is more concerned about security than URLs. However, since HTTPS is part of your URL, it’s worth including here. Google has also said that HTTPS-secured websites have a ranking advantage.
Choose a Brandable Domain Name
If you are considering creating a new website. If you haven’t chosen a domain name for your website yet, don’t worry about getting a keyword-rich name. Choose something memorable and brandable.
Choose a Relevant TLD
Google treats all gTLDs the same when it comes to SEO, however, “.com” is usually the best if you can get it. Because TLDs like .cool, .club, and .name are traditionally associated with spam, selecting one of these may hamper the ability to earn high-quality backlinks.
Use a gTLD or a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) such as .co.uk or .fr if you want to target clients in a particular region.
Why SEO-friendly URLs are Important for SEO?
URLs have three main advantages.
1. User Experience
A well-crafted URL informs users and search engines about the destination page’s content. The human-readable, structurally accurate URL can convey a clear picture of what the destination page is about, resulting in a better user experience for visitors.
URLs play a minimum role in ranking. Search engines may evaluate it while judging the relevance of a particular website or resource to a search query.
While utilizing a keyword-rich URL can boost your site’s search exposure, URLs do not have a significant influence on a page’s ability to rank. So, while it’s worth considering, don’t design otherwise meaningless URLs to add a keyword.
When copied and pasted as links in forums, blogs, social media networks, and other online places, well-written URLs can act as their anchor text.
Begin Creating SEO-Friendly URLs
The URL format of a website might vary based on the demands of the website. We’ve gone over several strategies for designing SEO-friendly URLs. Whether you build a new website or not, an SEO-friendly URL is crucial to your SEO success.
Usability is an important part of URLs and all areas of SEO. Always keep the user in mind. Another thing to note is that Google likes to modify the rules. Keep an eye out for developments in the realm of SEO.