Use URL structure SEO to drive customers to your website

When you created your business website, you probably wrote your copy according to SEO guidelines to increase the chances of people finding you on the internet. To improve your business visibility, it is essential to use SEO strategies when creating content for your blog, videos, social media posts, and other digital marketing tools. But there is one component of website optimization that is often overlooked – URL structure SEO.

A URL is made up of a protocol, a domain name, a webpage path, and a webpage name. Basically, it’s the unique address that directs a user’s browser to your content. Each subpage and document on your website has its own URL.

Read on to learn why you should use SEO principles when choosing your URL and how to implement them on your website.

Why should you use URL structure SEO?

Using targeted keywords and phrases in your website copy not only helps search engines find your website, but also improves the user experience. The same principle applies to referencing the URL structure. The URL is the first piece of code read by search engines. When your URL is clean and easy to read, more search engines will find it.

Simple URLs encourage users to click on your links. They clearly communicate what is presented on each page. Using a vague, auto-generated URL doesn’t give people an idea of ​​what they’ll see when they click on your link, which means you’ll have to rely solely on meta descriptions and titles to inspire them. clicks.

SEO Best Practices for URL Structure

1. Always be top of mind with your domain

Whenever you create new content on your website, the URL should start with your domain name. This tells users that the content is yours and allows them to connect different parts of your website. For example, if you publish a blog, the ideal URL is:

nameofyourcompany.com/blog/name-of-your-article.

When someone finds your blog post through an internet search, this URL structure lets them know they’re on a blog and they’re on your website. They can easily find your homepage to browse the rest of your site, or they can stay on your blog.

2. Follow a standard structure

Take the same approach to creating URLs as you do for the rest of your branding. All elements of your brand should be consistent to build awareness and solidify your place in the minds of customers. When creating your URLs, follow a standard structure for all pages on your website.

Don’t get carried away with your subcategories or your URL will be too long and confusing. Limit yourself to one or two subcategories per page.

3. Make it readable

Custom URLs for your website’s subpages and other content on your page should be easy to read. Use as few words as possible while still conveying the overall purpose of the page. Some experts suggest that you should eliminate unnecessary words called stop words, including “a”, “the”, “and”, etc. If removing these words significantly changes the meaning of the page, leave them in the URL.

For example, you can post a blog titled “Designing the Perfect Wedding Cake.” In this case, removing the word “a” doesn’t change the meaning of the title, so you can remove it from the URL. Yourcompany.com/blog/designing-perfect-wedding-cake.

If another blog is titled “What is a destination wedding?” removing the stop words gives the URL yourbusiness.com/blog/what-destination-wedding. In this case, removing stop words is likely to confuse a search engine.

4. Include keywords

Use targeted keywords in your URLs. These are the words you want to associate with your business. Think about the phrases and words people will use to land on your website when they search on a search engine. You probably won’t get a significant boost in traffic just by using URL keywords, but they can improve your performance, especially if you use SEO on other parts of your website.

Stuffing your URL with keywords could cause your site to be flagged as spam by various search engines, so use them sparingly. Stick to one or two per URL.

5. Separate words with hyphens

Search engines cannot read spaces, which are necessary for readability. Since part of URL structure SEO is keeping your URLs clean and easy to read, use hyphens between words. Underscores not only look clunky, but they also confuse search engines. Hyphens signal to a search engine that a word has ended, which is a necessary part of finding keywords.

6. Use canonical tags

While you probably won’t be penalized by a search engine for duplicate content, it can often cause your page to drop in search results. A canonical tag (commonly written as rel=”canonical”) tells a search engine that the page is the master copy.

There are various reasons why you would have duplicate URLs or even URLs that are similar enough for a search engine to read as duplicates. For example, if you run an e-commerce site with a variety of similar products, they might have similar URLs such as yoursite.com/shop/black-handbag and yoursite.com/shop/black-handbags.

Defining one of these pages as the primary copy using a canonical tag tells the search engine where to direct users, allowing them to load the correct page in the results.

7. Use fewer folders

Most website building tools have storage on the back-end which is part of what determines the URL. Whenever you see a slash on a website, it indicates the page is in a subfolder. These include subpages like your blog, sample projects, resumes, and other content that appears on a page within a page.

To keep your URLs clean, use fewer subfolders and subpages at the back of your site. This will reduce the number of slashes in your URL, making it easier to read.

8. If possible, delete the settings

Some functional parts of your website will end up being written in the URL with codes and characters. For example, if your e-commerce site has a feature that tracks the number of times people look at certain products, you might end up with a URL that looks like:

yourcompany.com?productid=1234.

These settings won’t necessarily lower your website when it comes to search engine results, but they do create confusing URLs. Some website building platforms allow you to clean up these URLs automatically without disturbing the functioning of the page. When possible, opt for the clean tag.

9. Pay attention to your characters

Search engines read URLs as code, so a title that makes sense to you can confuse a search engine or even break the link altogether. When coding a website, some characters are either meaningless or serve as commands, telling the website how it looks and works. Using them in your URL renders it non-functional. These characters include spaces, square brackets, less than or greater than signs, equal signs, percent signs, and others. Examples include: { } =%| [ ].

Using these characters won’t always break your links, but search engines may replace them with other characters, resulting in a long URL that’s hard to read. For best results, stick with words, hyphens, and numbers.

10. Pay attention to formatting

Some website hosting platforms are case sensitive, which means that if you create your URL with a mix of upper and lower case letters, a user must match the uppercase letters to find the page. Other platforms work around the case sensitivity issue by redirecting the incorrect URL to the master page. You can check your page by typing an existing URL with incorrect case into your web browser and see if it redirects to your site.

You can completely eliminate this problem by using only lowercase letters when writing your URLs. Lowercase letters make the URL easier to read and remember.

What to avoid

Some practices cause search engines to flag your website as potential spam, moving it down the search results. Avoid keyword stuffing and repetition. You should include keywords in your URL, but if you include too many, you’ll likely get flagged.

Also, you should avoid modifying existing URLs if they are not damaged. When you change a URL, you risk losing visibility, especially if the page is already getting a lot of traffic. If you want to change an existing URL that is popular, consider using a 301 redirect to alert search engines to the change.

Global optimization

Your URL is the first step in the overall SEO optimization of your website. As this is the address used to find your website, it is also the first step in directing customers to your meta descriptions and content. Use the guidelines above to create URLs that effectively direct users to your web pages so your content can be seen.


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