A URL or the address of a web page is very important for search engines. During optimization of websites for better search traffic, one cannot overlook the optimization of URLs. There are a lot of opportunities for optimization in terms of keywords, structure, dynamic or static nature, etc., in a URL. This article deals with all the major SEO opportunities in URLs.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a pointer that refers to the location of a web document. It is a part of the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), which can be essentially the address of anything over a network. URL doesn’t apply just for pages, but also for all kinds of resources on the web, such as music files, images, videos, game downloads, etc. Most people know the URL as a website’s address. Here is an example: https://ehikioya.com.
In order to attract more traffic to your website, you have to do search engine optimization. Inspecting and optimizing the structure of URLs in your website is a key part of this process. In this article, you will see how this is done.
SEO and URL
In the URL of a web resource, there are several opportunities of optimization for improved search traffic. Search engines look into the properties of a URL before it is presented to the search users.
Some of the important aspects of a URL include:
- Length of the URL
- Dynamic or Static nature
- Presence of relevant keywords
- Format of the URL
Structure and Format of a URL
An elegant URL begins with the name of the website (this may be the brand name). It may have forward slashes separating categories or folders within the website. These folders may be named using the relevant keywords; this makes the URL relevant for search engines. Let us look at an example:
Just by looking at the link above, you can identify that the URL belongs to the US government, and it is a directory listing of the federal agencies. You can decipher a lot of information from that URL.
Keywords relevant to the page should be present in the URL; however, this should not be overdone. Keyword stuffing could get the URL into troubles, such as getting banned from search results.
The above URL works much better than the following example:
Google search engine suggests that you use hyphens to separate keywords in a URL. Using underscores to separate words does not work; search bots ignore underscores.
URLs are case sensitive. However, domain names are not case sensitive (gOoGLE.com is the same as Google.com). Hence, the following URLs may not point to the same location:
There may be URLs, or parts of URLs, where case doesn’t matter, but identifying these may not be easy. Users should always consider that URLs are case-sensitive.
Length of the URL
Another important aspect of a URL is its length. Descriptive text on a web address usually gives a negative impact. Unnecessarily long addresses tend to have many keywords that create the impression of keyword stuffing. Hence, search engines including Google have warned against the use of long URLs.
Related Reading: The Top 7 Ways to Improve Search Engine Optimization
Website depth is a factor affecting the length of URLs. If you have too many categories and subcategories, a web page URL can get too lengthy by including the names of all those subcategories. This becomes in turn a bad URL.
Static vs. Dynamic URLs
Static URLs help in search engine optimization much better than dynamic URLs. A static URL is an already existing URL that has content in it. On the other hand, a dynamic URL is like a search engine results page. It is dynamically created, based on what you are looking for.
For instance, on a cell phone sales website, you may be able to search for devices meeting only certain criteria. The website does not already have such a page built in, but it uses such server side languages as PHP or ASP.NET to generate the page you are looking for in real time. Here is an example of how a dynamic page looks like:
As you can see, that URL has no room for improvement in terms of search engine optimization. Dynamic pages created on a website can be blocked from view of search bots with the help of the Robots.txt file.
You have seen some important aspects of URLs to be considered for search engine optimization. When you buy a new domain, try to get the main keyword in the domain name. Search engines consider many different aspects for ranking websites in search results, and URL structuring is an important one among them.