Every time you go online either you use some website or an app with a domain or app name. Similarly, if you want to search for something online you go to search engines like https://www.google.com which is a URL to access Google. So having an easy to remember and SEO-Friendly URL structure is important for every website in this online world.
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a location of a web page on the internet. URLs can be seen in the browser when opened and within search engine results.
As can be seen here, a URL may consist of protocol, subdomain, domain or root domain, top-level domain, subfolder, and internal page name. Always consider making simple URLs for your web pages. Let’s look into the best practices which you should consider to make an SEO-friendly URL.
URL Structure Best Practices
1. Memorable Domain Name
The domain name of your website should be easy to remember for your users. It should be a short name without any number or hyphens to make it easy to say and write. You should try to use a broader keyword instead of using a targeted keyword within your domain name.
2. Add www or Not
These days many websites are made without www in URLs. Non-www websites are also called naked domains. You should prefer to add www in your website URL for the below-highlighted reasons:
- It helps to control your website cookies for multiple subdomains separately.
- Adding www helps in maintaining trust among your users as it’s being used in the majority of websites
- Add www if you have a large website or you expect your website to have plenty of pages in the future.
One more thing to consider for websites that add www as a prefix is the non-www version of these websites should be redirected to the www version to retain traffic coming from users who don’t type www in front of your domain name.
3. Use Relevant Keywords in URLs
Your webpage’s URL should include relevant keywords about which the webpage has been created. Try to leverage that keyword at the beginning of the URL.
4. Add Hyphens to Separate Words
Hyphens should be used within separate words in a URL name. Hyphens are treated as spaces in different words within URLs by search engines and are also user friendly. So use hyphen ‘-‘ as a separator instead of underscore ‘_’ within URL name.
5. Use Lowercase Letters in URLs
Add all the lowercase letters in your webpage’s URL. Search engines like Google consider the same URL in lower or upper case letters as different with duplicate content.
6. Avoid Parameters in URLs
You should create static URLs for your webpages which are both search engines and users friendly. Dynamically created URLs with too many parameters should be avoided or blocked using the robots.txt file. Static URLs rank easily in search engine results as compared to dynamic URLs because these are easy to understand by search engines and users.
7. Secured HTTPS URLs
Make your webpage URLs secured with HTTPS instead of HTTP protocol. HTTPS is also a ranking factor as highlighted by Google a few years back. By using HTTPS in URLs all the information submitted by users through your website is encrypted. Additionally, secured URLs also boost user’s trust in your website.
8. Keep URLs Length Short
There is not any specified limit of URL by Google or any other search engines. But browsers do mention their maximum character limits.
- Google Chrome has given no URL length limit but highlights over 40,000 characters’ length crash browser.
- Microsoft Explorer has a maximum limit of 2083 characters.
- Firefox shows a maximum of 65,536 characters in its location bar but there is not any specific URL length.
You should keep your webpages URL length short but it should be descriptive enough to convey what the page is about. Avoid using the same word more than once in a URL.
9. Avoid Stop Words in URLs
Stop words are the words that are not considered significant in searched queries and are the most common words in any language. So you should avoid using stop words like a, an, the, as, and, is, am, are, and can within your webpage’s URL name.
10. Use Dates Exceptionally in URLs
You should avoid using dates in your webpage’s URL name except you want to highlight a particular event or special date. Adding date within URL is neither search engines friendly nor user friendly. As most users prefer the latest content so adding date in the URL is not a good idea except it’s needed for some reason.
11. Subdomain or Subdirectory
When you create your website and try to expand with time then you might need to add a subdomain or subdirectory. Both have their own advantage and should be leveraged as per your business need.
- Subdomain should be used when you want to add some different businesses that can’t be covered within your main domain. A subdomain is treated as a different entity by search engines and doesn’t inherit ranking and authority benefits from the root domain.
- Subdirectory should be leveraged when you want to add some related and new sections based on your main domain. A subdirectory inherits the ranking value from the main domain.
As URL is also considered as a ranking factor by Google. So it’s crucial to create an SEO-friendly URL. Always remember to make a clear and easy to understand URL structure that should easily understandable by users and search engines. Hierarchy of URL should clearly show main domain > category/topic > subcategory / sub-topic of your website.
You should consider these best practices while creating a new domain, subdomain, subdirectory, or any webpage URL for your website.