A URL is more than just a web address used to locate a page. These links are an vital part of SEO, and knowing how to structure them correctly could mean the difference between ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPS) and not ranking at all.
While there are many components to a great SEO strategy, structuring your URL should be a priority. Let’s go over what URL structure is, why it is important, and best practices.
What is URL structure?
Here’s an example URL: https://www.yourwebsite.com/blog/post-title
Protocol → https://
The protocol is how the browser retrieves information about the page or resource.
SubDomain → www.
The subdomain is the part of the domain that comes before the main “root” domain. It’s created to organize and navigate different sections of your website.
Root Domain → yourwebsite
The root domain is the domain name. It’s the unique address for your site. It is the highest level of a website’s structure.
Top-Level Domain → .com
The top-level domain or TLD is the part of the domain that comes after the root domain. TLD can help users identify the site’s purpose, owner, and geographic location.
Subdirectory or Path → /blog
URLs can contain elements, like specific locations, folders, or subfolders on a website. A subdirectory is used to organize the content on your site.
Slug → /post-title
A slug is the unique identifier of a specific page.
Why are URL structures such an important part of SEO?
Although URLs do not have the ability to rank themselves, a keyword in the URL can improve page rank which provides better visibility.
A well-written URL can serve as its own anchor text when used in social posts, blog posts, etc. It gives readers information about the topic or content of the page.
An unoptimized link would look like this:
An optimized link would look like this:
A well-constructed URL will describe the web page, both humans and search engines. This improves click-through rates and limits the bounce rate.
Best Practices for Optimizing URL Structures
- Follow good URL structure.
A URL structure that’s simple, logical, and conveys meaning with the words used is optimal. (see example above)
- Keep URLs short.
Your URLs should be as short as possible while still being complete. It will look organized, be easier to share, and easier for users and search engines to understand.
- Insert a keyword.
Use 1-2 keywords in your URL that are relevant and tell Google what the page should show up for in search results. Don’t stuff your URL with more than that because it can come across as spam. A keyword from the page or post title is best.
- Use hyphens to separate words.
Never use spaces or underscores in URLs. SEO best practices use hyphens between words because this tells Google and users where the breaks between words are and they are so much easier to read.
- Be consistent.
You may encounter a scenario where you need to change URLs. Maybe you’ve just migrated a website. Add a permanent redirect so that you don’t lose the previous page rank.