The Best SEO URL Structure
Before we dive into the best practices on how to build a good SEO URL Structure, let us start with the basics and explain what a URL is and what it is divided into.
The term URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator, and it is the address you enter in order to access a certain website.
Having an optimized SEO URL is important for your site viewers, as it divides your website’s hierarchy and clarifies the content of each page. It is also important for your website’s ranking, because just like it clarifies the structure of your pages to users, it clarifies it to search engine algorithms too.
In the image below, is a common URL structure type commonly used.
Not necessarily all websites follow the same URL structure. It depends on the type of the website and its needs. For example, a blog might use a different structure than a government website or an e-commerce website.
How to Create a SEO URL Structure
There are several practices you can use in order to optimize your website’s URL structure for better user experience and better ranking on Search Engine Results.
Let’s take a look at some of these practices that you can apply:
Good URL Structure
As we mentioned above, the SEO URL structure depends on the purpose of your website. However, using a structure that is simple, logical, easy to understand and clarifies the relationship among your website’s pages is the best tactic to use.
Use the https Protocol
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, HTTPS, the S stands for secure. This will invoke trust within your users, giving your website more credibility.
Hide the Subdomain (www)
It just takes up more space in the address bar and looks outdated. Without the www prefix, your URL structure looks neater and gives your domain name more importance.
Optimal URL Length
You have to be careful not to make your URL too long or too short. The optimal URL length is between 50 and 60 characters. Keep it simple and clear.
It is of absolute importance that the focus keyword is included within your page’s or post’s URL. Just make sure that you don’t randomly stuff the keyword within the URL, make it look meaningful.
Do not Include Non-ASCII Characters & Capital Letters
Capital letters and non-ASCII characters like À È Ì 网络 are not supposed to be included within your SEO URL. So, if your website is not in English and the language that you are using includes non-ASCII characters, do not use them even if the focus keyword includes these characters.
Use Hyphens (-) as Separators
Use hyphens (-) to separate between words within your page link. URLs do not apply spaces between words, and underscores are out of the question! Hyphens are the simplest and clearest way for Google Algorithms and your readers too.
See for yourself the difference below:
Remove Stop Words
Remove stop words like an, a, and, or, on, of…etc from your URL to make it more readable. They just make your URL unnecessarily longer and less clear.
If you ever edit the URL to make it more of a SEO URL structure, you should add permanent redirects to make sure that no broken links appear and see that famous 404 Error Page.
Add a 301 redirect so that when a user clicks on your page’s old URL, he/she will be redirected to the new one. You can check out some SEO plugins, they often include tools that help you with redirection. However, do not overdo it with redirecting links because it slows down the speed of your website, which is bad for SEO.
Spell Out Numbers
You don’t always have to do this. Look at our domain name for example best4seo.com, it does have a number in it. That’s okay because there are certain precautions that can be taken.
For example, if a number is to cause some confusion, either spell it out, or buy the domain name of the spelled out version too. This way you guarantee, that even if users confuse your domain name for example, Best 4 SEO or Best For SEO, they will be redirected to your website.
Readable By Humans
The SEO URL must to be easy to understand and should not contain any difficult characters that have been combined together. It need to be simple enough for an average person to understand.
Match The URL To The Title
In other words, let the URL be precise in expressing what your page content will be about.
The DONTs of SEO URL
After we have covered the DOs for making a SEO URL structure, it is time we discuss the DONTs.
- Create Complicated URLs: Complex URLs that make no sense do not give the user the idea of what your page is talking about and that affects your website negatively.
- Ignore the Canonical Tag: These tags tell search engines when you have duplicate pages one of which is the ”Master” page.
- Have Multiple Homepage URLs: Many web developers ignore the fact that there should be one link to the homepage. If you have multiple, you can use the 301 redirections to fix this issue.
- Use Stop Words: Even if a stop word (the, is, a, an, or, and…) is part of your keyword, you should not excessively use them in your pages’ URLs. It is unnecessary because search engines do not consider these words anyway.
- Have Lots of Redirects: Only use 301 redirects when necessary like changing the URL or moving the content to a new page. Make sure you do not overdo it with the redirects like directing to an invalid page or having a series of redirections for the same page, this is bad for your site.
- Overdoing It With Keywords: Do not stuff keywords inside a URL to rank for those keywords. It will do more harm than good as the URL will appear less user-friendly.
Are SEO URLs Still Important in 2022?
The definite answer is yes, having an SEO URL is definitely still important to Google bots as they crawl your website.
Have you ever viewed seen a URL that makes absolutely no sense?
For instance, first, it contains the website’s domain name and then just a bunch of characters stuck together.
Not only does this look ugly, but it also distorts the content on your page and confuses users.
Search Engines care a lot about the user experience and yes they can analyze the level of satisfaction each user has when accessing a certain website.
A URL that is not SEO-friendly will decrease the level of user satisfaction which will ultimately harm your website’s rank.
Over the past few years search engines have become more and more aware of the human user’s experience and are using algorithms to assess SEO practices of online websites accordingly.
SEO URL: A Conclusion
These were the ten most important things to keep in mind while developing an SEO-friendly URL structure for the pages or articles on your website. Because the function of your website is the most important consideration, the structure that you choose is irrelevant to the decision.
If you do follow these 10 best practices, however, you will have a URL that is optimized for search engines and will earn you a higher ranking in the results of searches.
SEO URL Structure FAQ
What are 301 redirects?
When something in the SEO URL changes, that page will not be found by users unless you use a 301 redirect. This means that you should set up the old page URL to go to the new page URL so that users can access your new page.
What is the best SEO URL structure?
The best SEO URL structure is a chronological, short yet informative URL that clarifies what the page content will be about whilst including one keyword and be simple and clear to all users.
Is having an SEO URL important?
Yes, having a decent URL for SEO is still crucial since it makes it clear, both to visitors and to search engines, what the content of your website will be about.
What is a 404 error and how to fix it?
When you change the URL of a page or move your contents to another page and people click on that old link the error ”404 Page Not Found” will appear. In order to solve this issue, you must use a 301 redirect so that the search engine understands that this new link has the contents of the old one and it automatically redirects the readers to the new valid page.
What is a good SEO URL example?
Here is an example from our website http://best4seo.com/en/our-services/arabic-seo. First, it has the HTTPS protocol which means that the website is secure and protects the data of users. Then comes our domain name. After that the language in which the page will be because our website is offered in three different languages. Then comes the URL slug which is the parent category of the page which is ”Our Services” then comes the permalink which is the focus topic here in which case we are talking about Arabic SEO which is part of ”our services”.
What is a link farm?
On the World Wide Web, a link farm is any group of websites that all connect to other websites in the group for the aim of raising SEO rankings. The goal of these hyperlinks is to drive more traffic to the member websites.