URLs for SEO and user experience. They even mentioned it in their SEO starter guide.
Creating a properly optimized URL is not tough and doesn’t require any advance level SEO knowledge.
Simply put, it replaces your long tail keywords with a hyphen in between and only focuses on words related to the content being used in the URL slug. This URL is called SEO optimized URL.
But we don’t want you to know only the limited or basic aspects of SEO-friendly URLs; in this article, we will discuss everything you need to know for creating and optimizing properly optimized URLs.
URL optimization seems difficult for big websites with many URLs, but tools like screaming frog can make it easy. Just crawl the website, export the report in excel, and filter out the URLs with an underscore, numbers, and special characters.
Just change the underscore to hyphens, and remove numbers and special characters. Redirect the old URLs to updated URLs; your URLs are quickly fixed using this method. You can also use professional SEO services help for website technical audits and fixing errors.
Now you have learned URL optimization at a higher level, let’s look at tips to create new URLs. But before that, let’s understand the Structure of the URL
Structure of the URL
URL consists of the following elements:-
- Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Elements of URL explained in detail
Protocol:- Protocol defines how the browser is receiving information from the server. There are two defined protocols http:// and https:// (HTTP stands here for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, and S in HTTPS stands for Secure)
Sub-domain: Subdomain is located before the domain in the URL; there can be many sub-domains for a website depending on the website’s requirement. The most common sub-domain used by websites is ‘www.’
For example – https://www.example.com/
Here, www is the sub-domain, and example.com is the domain.
Sub-domains are also created to manage content, for example.
There are two popular URL structures for managing website content subfolders and subdomains.
Search engines consider subdomains as separate websites, and subfolders are considered part of the same website.
Domains- Domains are the address of the website. It’s like the identity of your website.
Top-level domain – Top-level domains represent the type of domain. The most common TLDs are .com, .net, .info, etc. Different types of TLDs are Generic TLD, Sponsored TLD, Country code TLD, Infrastructure TLD, Reserved TLD, and Test TLD.
Sub-folder – Sub-folders are used to manage content inside the folders. Examples of sub-folders are category, product, services, etc.
Here technical-SEO is the sub-folder. In this sub-folder, there can be different posts related to technical SEO. Technical SEO can be considered as a category page here.
Slug – This is the most important part of URL structure for SEO. You have to optimize the slug to have an optimized URL structure. You can decide the slug of the URL based on keywords and content of the page.
How to Create an SEO-friendly Slug
Here are the best practices for creating a user snd SEO friendly URL
1. Use Keywords
Use your primary keyword in the URL. It tells the users and search engines about the content of the page; using URLs, search engines understand the context of the page.
“URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site.”
Include your targeted or primary keyword in the URL so that the search engine can understand the page easily. You can also consider using LSI keywords in the URL if its highly relevant.
2. Use Hyphen in the URLs
You should use hyphens to separate the words in the URL. It makes search engines and users figure out the targeted keywords for the page.
It has all the words separated by hyphens making it easy for users and bots to read the URL and understand the page context.
3. Keep URLs Short
Your URLs should be short and should not contain any junk words.
Extra words confuse the user and search engine bots.
Keep the URL simple, relevant, and targeted.
4. Only Use Lowercase Letters
It is not a big issue as most servers consider lowercase and uppercase letters the same, but some servers might take them differently and return errors when the user is trying to visit the webpage.
5. Don’t Use Dates in the URL
Using dates in the URL is a bad idea.
There are multiple reasons behind it.
- Dates make it harder to update the content. For example, if you wrote an article on the best SEO blogs to follow in 2023 and included 2023 in the URL, then it will be hard for you to update the content for 2024
- Using dates in the URL will make them unnecessarily longer.
Avoid using dates in the URL, and keep your URL simple and short.
6. Sub-folder Structure
Arranging content is important for giving Google bots a structured website architecture to crawl.
Have a sub-folder type structure for all the products, services, and resources. It helps in user navigation and clean website architecture.
For example, Backlinko has created and categorized its content into the sub-folder structure and decided all its informative content into hubs such as technical seo, seo, etc.
Google also says navigation is important for search engines:-
“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the website owner thinks is important.”
7. Don’t Keep URLs the Same as Title
CMS will keep your title, URL, and H1 the same by default.
But there is a difference between H1, title, and URL. All three elements are an important part of your SEO strategy and should be different, but all three should contain your targeted keyword.
Keep your URL simple; having the URL the same as the title will make it longer, and sometimes the title has dates, and your URL can’t have dates.
A simple URL helps you update the page content later based on new industry updates and trends.
For example, if you have a page related to SEO algorithms but your URL slug is seo-algorithms-2023, you won’t be able to update it with 2024 algorithm updates. But, if your URL slug is a seo-algorithm, it will be easy for you to update the content as soon as Google releases a new update.
8. Don’t Use Parameterized URLs
Parametrized URLs are important.
But they can hurt your SEO.
From an SEO standpoint, parametrized URLs create multiple issues like duplicate content; they get indexed and compete with your original page, long URLs, hurt organic CTR, and ruin user experience.
You need to avoid parametrized URLs for better SEO.
In the end, this guide boils down to two words. Keep your URL short and simple. Short and simple URLs are SEO friendly and enhance user experience as well.