URLs are one of the most basic elements of SEO. But did you know that it plays a very important role in search engine optimization? When it comes to your website, your URLs are often the first thing Google and customers will see.
A good URL structure can help the indexation process of your website. In this article, we take a look at the various elements of a URL and how we can create a structure that will help us rank as highly as possible.
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator), also known as a “web address”, specifies the location of a resource (such as a web page) on the internet.
The URL also specifies how to retrieve that resource, also known as the “protocol”, such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.
They also identify the file structure on the given website.
Look at the example below. A URL consists of the following elements:
Top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last segment of a domain name, or the part that follows immediately after the “dot” symbol.
It’s ideal for your brand to use “.com” domain rather than “.biz,” “.pro,” “.tel,” etc. Why? Because it lends credibility to your brand and it implies that you are more established. Plus, most people will assume that your website ends in “.com”
The “SSL” or “SSL Certificate” is used interchangeably with HTTPS. For the most part, these are the same. An SSL certificate is a product that you are actually purchasing and installing on your server, and HTTPS is the result of having that certificate on your server.
Over 40% of the sites on the first page of Google are HTTPS because they want to achieve the safest web experience for their users. Also, Google marks HTTP sites with a red triangle with a “Not Secure” label written in red. Having HTTPS shows a secure connection which then gives your viewers a peace of mind that your website can be trusted.
The URL of a web page should be as descriptive and brief as possible. A short URL is quicker to type and read. Also, the fewer the words the more value each word receives from a search engine spider. Too many similar words in a URL can be viewed as keyword stuffing and could result in a drop in search rankings.
Using hyphens to separate words in URL phrases is important to both user readability and search engine optimization. Do not use capital letters in your URLs. Try to avoid unnecessary parameters like “?,” “&,” and “=”, which are common features of dynamic URLs. Avoid using stop words. If your URL structure still makes sense and is readable, including stop words is only going to make your URL longer and more complicated.
Simplicity and clarity are what you want to aim for when creating URLs. If it can be easily understood with a quick glance, you should be good to go.
The “Folders” are the slashes you see between text in a URL. A URL should contain no unnecessary folders. Just use the number of folders and characters that are needed for your URL structure.
Like most other aspects of URL optimization, it’s best to keep it simple with the number of folders you use in your URLs. Having multiple folders can create a perception of site depth for both engines and users.
It is a best practice to optimize every web page around one or two keywords, and these keywords should be included in the URL.
Do not overuse keywords. Search engines recognize keyword stuffing and will penalize your website for those actions.
In terms of positioning, it’s generally regarded as best practices to include your target keywords located toward the beginning of your URL.
Structuring URLs the right way can definitely make your web page rank higher. A key component to URLs, and all aspects of SEO, is the user experience. Always keep the user in mind.
To know more about the ways to improve your business on a web platform, contact us today!