Building perfect URLs is every business owner and web developer’s dream. It holds great value as it is the first thing that search engine crawlers and website visitors notice. URL structures have a significant impact on your website’s SEO and also help build the site’s hierarchy.
Search Engines and URLs
Search engines have now evolved to a point where you don’t have to spoon feed every tiny bit of detail about your business and the content you develop to them. Crawlers have grown smart enough to understand what you are trying to say and also what users search for on the internet. Their sole aim is to match the two correctly.
With that said, you have to ensure that the URLs you frame for your business website pages are not just easy to understand for your users, but are also search-engine friendly. What we are talking about here is more than just the specific URLs. We need to ensure that the entire framework behind your URL structure is clear, simple and focused on ranking and readability.
Purpose of URLs
Website URLs are considered an easy and foolproof manner to gain an edge over competitors. They not only help you rank higher for relevant keywords, but they also help in improving your site’s pagerank. The better the structure of your website URL, the better Google will rate your website for user experience. Google now holds user experience and interaction on high ranks to decide which business comes up first on search engine results.
Where do I start?
The easiest and most direct way to start off with your URL structuring is by working alongside the flow of your website folders. Follow a breadcrumb trail that starts off at the core website domain and then branches out to the subfolders. This also ensures that your URL structuring is scalable as and when your business and the website grows.
Shorter URLs are better for user experience. Web browsers allow 2,083 characters in URLs which should be more than enough for any business page out there!
Dynamic or Static?
There are broadly two types of URLs you can look at implementing - one is dynamic and the other is static. Simply put, static URLs are the consistent ones, while dynamic ones change depending upon the search trigger on the website database.
Static URLs are better for SEO and help for better ranking. Period.
Key pointers for structuring URLs
The most important factor to keep in mind while structuring the URLs for your website is that the crawlers should be able to pick them up easily. This means that the structuring should be in a way that the search engine understands your logic. To put it In simple terms, make your URLs readable, stable and static.
You should always ensure that your URLs are easy to read and make logical sense. This will help search engines and your audience understand your website better. If your visitors like a piece of content or a specific page on your website and the URL makes sense to them, they are bound to remember it and come back to it directly instead of visiting your homepage and looking for the page .
In order to improve local SEO, you can add language markers in URLs. For example:
Another important aspect for ranking higher on local SEO is the kind of keywords you use. Always do a thorough keyword research before framing your URLs. Add only the relevant terms and avoid keyword stuffing in URLs. Placement of keywords does not influence SEO. It wouldn’t make a difference if you have your keyword at the end of the URL or at the beginning. As long as the content, the URL structure and the keywords used are relevant, it shouldn’t matter.
A lot of your URL ranking depends on the strength of your domain and the credibility that search engines have given your business and the content. You should always try to host content on a trusted domain like “.com” or one of the region-specific domains like “.uk”, “.us” etc. Another major tip here - Google ranks https pages higher than http, as the content on https is considered to be more secure.
You should look at setting up canonical tags correctly on your website to avoid search engines picking up the wrong links. Your site might get marked for duplicity and end up getting blacklisted just by avoiding canonical tags.
Another huge no-no on URLs are unnecessary words like - a, an, the etc. You could also look at avoiding special characters($,!,@ etc) which reduce the readability and thereby make the UX unfriendly. Hyphens are a standard protocol used in URLs and accepted by all crawlers.
In conclusion, all you have to focus on while working on your URLs is the relevancy and structure. That will help you not only rank higher, but also improve brand recall.