Your website URL is the first thing Google or any other search engine sees when crawling the web. Google’s SEO starter guide clearly states that “spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible is a good practice” which will definitely help your SEO ranking in the future. But how do you create an SEO Friendly URL Structure?
The tricky thing about creating the URL structure is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach because the URL depends on the content. However, this blog will give you an overview of some basic tips and suggestions you can use for URL optimization.
Best Practices for SEO Friendly URL Structure
1. Include Specific Keywords
You no doubt already know the importance of using relevant keywords in your content. But did you know that your URL should also include specific keywords? Including keywords in your URL will help web crawlers understand the content on the page and rank it accordingly.
One helpful tip will be to put the most important or the most relevant keywords at the beginning of the URL because that is more significant for search engine crawlers. For example, if you write a blog post about financial services, the term “finance” and “service” should appear in the URL, preferably close to the root domain.
2. Avoid Unnecessary Words
The general rule for an SEO friendly URL structure is that the user should be able to identify the purpose of the page with a simple glance at the URL. Building on this rule it is quite clear that your URL should not include a single preposition or conjunction.
Additionally, since we are on the point of unnecessary words, you should also be careful not to repeat keywords in any URL. Apart from the fact that it increases the length of the URL, search engines will be able to recognize keyword stuffing and will penalize your website.
3. Use Static URLs
In a recent blog post, Google stated that it was “advisable to use static content with static URLs as much as possible” because it makes it easier for Googlebots to crawl your website. It is also observed that static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of click-through rates when compared to dynamic URLs.
However, you need to keep in mind that the decision to use static URLs or dynamic URLs depends very much on the content management system you use. The bottom line is that search engines don't have trouble crawling websites, whether they use static URLs or dynamic URLs. The only thing is that your URL should reflect the page accurately without any misinformation or misrepresentation.
4. Correct Use of Canonical Tags
The canonical tag is an HTML element that helps to prevent duplicate content issues in search engines. In simple terms, canonical tags are used by developers to tell search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.
The reason canonicalization matters is because when Google crawls many URLs with very similar content, it can cause problems in terms of SEO and ranking. The correct use of canonical tags will help you avoid these problems and guide search engines to the right page.
Canonical tags can be used for any website but they are especially helpful when included in the URL of an online retail store.
5. Choose a top-level domain
The domain of your website is a sort of badge of honor or authority stamp to highlight the trustworthiness of your website. SEO experts suggest that using a top-level domain (TLD) is a sure way to attract more traffic.
While using a top-level domain like “.com” rather than “.pro,” or “.tel,” may not impact your ranking directly it will definitely increase trust for human users and will benefit your overall SEO. Even though it may be difficult to get your business website with a “.com” domain, you should no doubt keep this point in mind when choosing a domain in the future.
6. Create an XML Sitemap
The sitemap is an integral part of SEO because it lets search engines know about all the URLs on a website that are available for crawling. An XML sitemap is especially useful if your website has a lot of content and there is a chance that web crawlers may overlook some recently updated content.
There are two main reasons why you should create a sitemap, one is because it helps search engines find your site’s pages more easily. The other reason is that it can be used as a reference when choosing canonical URLs on your website.
To Sum Up…
As mentioned earlier, creating the right URL structure is a complex process because there are many factors that come into play. However, if you follow the points mentioned below there is no reason why you cannot get an SEO-friendly URL structure:
- Search engines should understand the content by looking at the URL.
- Keywords should be included in URLs, but don’t overdo it.
- As far as possible stick to static URLs on your website.
- Try to minimize the number of redirects and avoid changes to URLs.
- Focus on the main content and supplementary content to maximize visibility.
- Use canonical tags and create an XML sitemap to increase visibility
There you have it if you follow all the points mentioned in the blog you should be able to create SEO friendly URLs that will appeal to both search engines and human users. If you need help with the more technical aspects of website building and URLs you can also contact the best digital marketing agency in your area and work with a team of SEO experts to get the job done.