An SEO-friendly URL structure should use the right protocol, have the right domain name, and specify the path for URL optimization in SEO.
There is only one chance to make a first impression, and you need to make the right first impression the first time. As far as your website is concerned, your URLs are the first thing that customers and Google will see. Also, URLs are building blocks for website hierarchy and help pass equity through the domain and direct users to the destination of their choice. It is challenging to correct URLs without a prior plan, as you may get redirect loops, and you do not want that. Therefore, it is important that you get the right URLs the first time. Getting the right SEO-friendly URL structure involves several factors that target accessibility and usability.
Getting an SEO-friendly URL structure does not require a one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are some things you can consider when creating your local SEO-friendly URL structure. This article helps you understand what an SEO-friendly URL structure is, and what it means to have an SEO-friendly URL structure.
What does URL mean?
The acronym URL stands for uniform resource locator. A URL is helpful in locating websites that are scattered on the Internet. URLs also make it easy for one to fetch information from different websites. Lastly, one can use a URL to access a website’s database, transfer emails, and files. URL optimization in SEO refers to the process of making the structure of an URL easily understandable by search engines and users.
SEO-friendly URL Structure
Every URL should have a defined SEO-friendly URL structure which consists of multiple components. These components include:
The Protocol Method
A protocol scheme tells the servers in the web the protocol they should follow when accessing a website. There are two common protocol methods: HTTPS and HTTP. HTTPS is a preferable protocol method because of a number of reasons:
It affects rankings
There was a statement by Google which said that sites that use HTTPS protocol in the URL structure have a higher rank in the SERPs. The higher rating is due to the security of this protocol. Google values the security of its users, and thus value website owners who value the security of their users.
The HTTPs protocol offers users a secure environment to perform their tasks on the Internet. HTTPs protocol implements a Secure Socket Layer that offers secure and safe transmission of data between a browser and the web servers.
This section is part of the main site domain. The subdomain helps in the creation and organization of different parts of the main domain to increase visibility.
A domain name in the URL is essential in showing website ownership. That way, a user can get to know the brand and more brand information.
This is the part which comes after the domain name. Top-level domain stores names in a domain name system. These names tell a user more about the website they are visiting. Top-level domains include the .net to show it is a network and .com to show it is a company.
Types of URL
There are two types of URL: relative and absolute URL.
Relative URL vs. Absolute URL
Relative URLs are short and do not specify the protocol and domain that pushes the web browser. Relative URLs are useful when one wants to link different pages within a website. On the other hand, absolute URLs give the complete path of any location. Absolute URLs give detailed information on a website, including the domain name and protocol. Web servers use the details of an absolute URL to locate resources within a website. Absolute URLs are helpful when you want to refer a domain from another one.
How does one make a URL?
Now that you understand the different types of URLs, what steps does one take to create an SEO-friendly URL structure? The steps are as follows:
Choose a Protocol
The protocol you use forms the first part of the URL and tells the protocol a browser will be using to communicate to web servers. It is advisable that you use the HTTPS protocol for an SEO-friendly URL in PHP.
Create a domain name
The domain of a website is the element of the URL that is most identifiable among many people. A domain name is an identifier for a particular website. The domain name should bring a user to a homepage if there is nothing after the domain name. A domain name contains the website’s name and the top-level domain. Most people use the .com top-level domain. However, there are many top-level domain options that you can use. The best top-level domain to use for your site in one that suits your field. It is critical for one to spend time in choosing a domain name as it is a key part of the URL.
The domain name should be attention-grabbing, catchy, clear, and easy-to-remember. When creating a domain name for your website, you can consider using an SEO-friendly URL generator to get more options. Afterwards, use an SEO-friendly URL checker to check how SEO-friendly your generated URL is.
Define the path
If you want to visit a site’s home page, the protocol and domain name will get you there. However, if you want to go to a certain page or access a particular file, you need more than the protocol and the domain name. The way to access a file or page in a website is to use the path, the part of the URL which appears after the top-level domain. As a website owner, you have control of what your path looks like. Your choice of paths determines how clickable your content is to users. Also, the path affects the SEO rating of your site.
What does it take to have an SEO-friendly URL structure?
Some of the important aspects that go into making an SEO-friendly URL structure include:
The readability of a URL is essential for both the user and search engines. A user can get more insight into the site they will be visiting by looking at the URL. Also, when a search engine comes across a readable URL, the website gets a higher ranking.
The length of the URL
A URL’s length plays a big role in the ranking of a website and user experience. The appropriate SEO-friendly URL length is between 50 and 60 characters. A lengthy URL provides bad user experience and affects the ranking by Google. Besides that, it is hard to share a lengthy URL on social media platforms. Lastly, a lengthy URL can create problems when you try to embed the lengthy URL.
Underscore or hyphen?
The debate on whether one should use an underscore or hyphen in the URL has been around for long. The appropriate punctuation mark to use in the URL is the hyphen. That is because Google treats the underscore as a word combiner and the hyphen as a word separator. Therefore always use a hyphen—the word separator when creating your URL.
Letter case to use
SEO writers often wonder the right uppercase to use when creating their URL. While it is a common belief that one should use the letter case that they prefer, your choice of letter case will affect your Google ranking. It is best practice to use the lowercase and avoid creating ambiguity with web servers.
URLs that do not redirect a web user to the right page are misleading URLs. From an SEO’s point of view, these URLs are famous as bad URLs. Not only do bad URLs cause a bad user experience, but also can cause cloaking from Google. Cloaking is one of the malpractices according to Google standards which attracts a penalty fee and affects your website rankings negatively.
Build a sitemap
SEO writers should embrace the practice of building and submitting a sitemap. Doing this informs on the hierarchy, structure, and the details that Google will crawl in your website. The sitemap will give an idea of the pages that Google will crawl in your site. This practice helps in offering a quick discovery of new articles and proper indexing to get a better SERP ranking.
HTML sitemap vs. XML sitemap
The HTML sitemap is designed for human users, while the XML sitemap is for search engines. In this case, you should focus on creating an XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is a list of URLs in your site, and you should submit this list to search engines. An XML sitemap helps search engines find the pages in your site easily. Also, when choosing canonical URLs on your site, search engines use an XML sitemap as the reference. For SEO reasons, you should include only the web pages that you want to appear in your search in your sitemap. You can give a detailed account of the URLs in your site in the HTML sitemap.
Proper use of canonical tags
A canonical tag refers to a piece of code when you have different versions of one page. Incorporating a canonical tag in your URL tells Google your preferred version. One should use a canonical tag when you want a search engine to make the decision on your canonical URL. When you want to redirect site pages, use redirects in the URL. Canonical tags are particularly helpful for online retailers.
Include keywords in the URL
Every page you launch on a website’s domain should have a specific purpose. The purpose of the page could be administrative, transactional or informational. Whatever the purpose of the page is, it should be clear from the start to the end. Since there is a target audience in mind, it will be beneficial to do some research on keyword and include the relevant terms. When incorporating the keyword in the URL, you should incorporate it close to the domain. While adding the keyword to the URL, ensure that you do not add it excessively and cause ambiguity.
The SEO-friendly URL structure should have provision for the future
One of the biggest challenges when defining a site URL hierarchy is seeing that it serves the defined purpose at the moment and in future. This is the reason why some websites have subdomains which are conflicting paths to the same products. The result of this scenario is that Google obtains mixed signals on your categorization of your products. On the part of a user, the conflicting pats create a bad user experience which may stand in your way of customer satisfaction.
The main cause of this confusion is when a product team launches an item on the website without consulting. Also, failure to incorporate future plans when launching a product can cause this confusion. The best way to curb this case is to have a structured layout beforehand. Also, every team on the company should have an idea of the direction that the company is taking. Incorporating SEO knowledge on this will help in building an SEO-friendly URL structure. It might be hard at first; however, the more you do it, the fewer errors you will make in future.
Do not use extra characters and words
A rule of thumb is that a user should get the details of your webpage by a simple look of your URL. Therefore, you want to make sure that the SEO-friendly URL structure is direct to the point. Both Google and users can understand a topic without conjunctions and prepositions. Such words do not add any meaning to the URL, and stripping them does not alter the URL. Word repetition in the URL will create a spammy URL structure instead of the perceived improved rank.
Use static URL strings
It is hard to minimize the use of dynamic URL strings as that depends on your content management system. Dynamic URL strings are unsightly. But search engines can crawl and index dynamic URL strings? You argue. Well, search engines can find their way around dynamic URL strings. However, dynamic URL strings are not appropriate for SEO-based reasons. Static URLs follow a logical folder structure and use descriptive keywords. That way, a user can tell what your site is about by looking at the URL. So how does one ensure that they have static URLs? One, you can utilize rewrite rules if the system your webserver runs on allows for that. Also, you can adhere to the use of absolute URLs as they are a preferred choice by search engines.
Consolidate the Multiple Site Versions
Search engines index two different versions of your site domain. The two versions are the www version and the non-www version. SEOs utilize the 301 redirect when pointing one site version to another. That tells search engines when a URL has moved to another destination permanently. Is there a concern on the version to use? Yes. That is because backlinks point to the www version of your site while some may point to the non-www version and cause conflict. It is therefore important to ensure that you have consolidated all the versions. You can use a canonical tag or the 301 redirect to create the link between these multiple versions.
Add topical authority
Google has stipulated clear guidelines for search quality evaluators. Every SEO writer should read that guideline document. The guideline document has stipulated the references for supplementary and main content. Main content refers to the lead page in every web section. The main content sets out the category of your content and the stall as a relevant source for a particular topic. On the other hand, supplementary content provides extra information that may help the user navigate the topic and further make an informed decision.
Ensure that your content is SEO-friendly too
When creating a website, there are many elements that you need to consider before completing your website. URLs are a critical element for a website as they act as the signposts in your website. The URLs will help your website user s to access certain content from your website. Besides that, the URL will be helpful in providing better user experience and improving your Google ranking. It is thus important to ensure that you keep in mind your users and the search engines when creating an SEO-friendly URL structure. Following the above techniques will prove useful in creating an SEO-friendly URL structure.
Besides having the right and SEO-friendly URL structure, you need to provide SEO content in your site for an overall good SEO rating. If you need a properly optimized URL example and SEO content, look no further. Script Millers offers top-notch SEO writing services to their clients in different industries. The team at Script Millers deliver the quality work within the stipulated deadline and at affordable costs. Furthermore, you will receive tips and guidelines that will help you become the leader in SEO. Check out scriptmillers.com for some of the SEO articles and SEO-friendly URL structure examples that the team has delivered in the past to their clients. The number of return clients is proof of the great work that Script Millers offers, and you can trust them to do the same for you.