One of the common SEO issues that can mess up the ranking of your website, keep the website pages out of search engine indexes and take away the ranking authority from your complete website or a few pages is Poor URL Structure.
URL optimization is the easiest SEO task to perform, but it is a necessary step that you need to execute to make your website is SEO friendly. Most of the people depend on content management systems for URL development, but they don’t know the fact that some CMSs construct poor URL structures for their website. Some of them develop URLs using illegal characters that a website cannot afford to have in addresses. Other CMSs generate multiple URLS for same web pages, resulting in duplicate content. Moreover, Backlinko reports that URLs are a significant ranking factor. In a particular:
- URL length is listed as #46 in Google’s top 200 ranking factors
- URL path is listed as #47
- Keyword in the URL is #51
- URL string is #52
Considering above mentioned facts, it can be said that URL structure is vitally important and URL optimization is kind of a big deal.
What is an SEO-friendly URL Structure?
An SEO-friendly URL appropriately describes the web page using keywords that can be easily read by both search engines and users. From an SEO point of view, a friendly URL is:
- Simple: SEO-friendly URLs are simple and without any confusing redirects on the website. URLs with duplicate content should have proper canonical URLs specified for them.
- Meaningful: Always make sure that your URLs should have keywords on them instead of numbers and punctuation marks. It should be meaningful.
- Right URLs: It is not necessary that all URLs are equally important from SEO point of view. Some of them are even hidden from search engines. So, it is imperative that you should check that your important web pages are accessible to search engines and open for crawling and indexing.
How to achieve SEO Friendly URL Structure?
Given below are a few steps how you can easily achieve SEO-friendly URL structure:
Domain name: Domain name plays a very important role and once you have a domain, you have to use it as it is and you cannot make any changes to it. That’s why choosing a good domain name is important. A good domain name is one that is short, catchy, easy to remember, preferably .com, .org, .net domain.
HTTPS URLs: Websites with HTTPS in URLs easily gain user’s trust. Use of an SSL increases the website security and makes it more secure. A secure website always gains a little ranking boost.
Keywords in URLs: Including keywords in URL is a good thing, especially when you are trying to optimize a page or a blog post for specific keywords, including that main keyword in its URL will be a good decision. There are several benefits of having your main keyword in the URL, but make sure that it should look like as if it has been naturally infused. It shouldn’t seem unnatural or forced. This can turn up the status bar when someone hovers over the link. Also, another big advantage of using the main keyword in the URL is that users pay a lot of attention to the keywords in the search engine result pages. If you have the right keyword into your URL structure, it will increase your CTR.
The length of URL: There is a character limit for URL, i.e. up to 2048 characters, but it is recommended that you should keep the length of URLs as short as possible.
Making URLs More Readable: URLs that can be easily read by the users are known as good URLs. You don’t need good URLs for search engines only. You need them to optimize for human readers as they are the real readers who will actually click on your web page and read it. Moreover, search engines are constantly getting smarter with every passing day and they notice behavioral signals of the users to identify the worthiness of web page ranking on search engines. More readable URL structure can definitely increase the engagement rate from the search engine users.
Match URLs to Titles: An SEO process is not that simple as it seems to be. There are several factors that contribute to search engine rankings. One such factor that has its contribution in search engine rankings is URLs and Titles. By matching page URL and page title, you are taking care of one such factor. Matching URL and Title is considered to be a very good practice as it is expected that when users open the link of your page/post after looking at its URL and keywords used in it, they expect to read about a specific topic. If the title or page content is different from the keywords used in URL, then the chances of a bounce back increase a lot.
There are no magic rules, but you need to focus on certain important things related to URL structure. These tips could prove useful in creating user-friendly and readable URL for your web pages. Never over optimize your website by forcefully including keywords into URLs as it can lead to a Google Penalty.