If you have a question about best urls for seo, you are certainly not alone. I had the same question and spent untold hours trying to find a clear and concise answer. Since that time, I have created a list of the best urls for seo I could find on the net.
Looking for the best urls for seo? I’ve started a tutorial where I list 10 different options that you can use. Now I’ll be honest with you and say that these are only one of the many important considerations when it comes to ranking your site in the SERPs. But, they’re an important consideration.
Developing the best urls for seo is more than just about structure. It’s about the meaning behind it. Creating a url that includes keywords will certainly help, but there is much more to it. Your url should have meaning, and also be tied in with your search engine optimization. Check out our guide for tips on how to create the best url for SEO.
Best urls for seo
What is a URL?
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the web address that we enter into a browser to access a web page.
Web URL’s are also called links. Many people will click a link to access your website directly. So does it matter what the page URL is? Yes, it does! What your link looks like matters.
What is URL structure?
A URL is an address on the internet. It’s made up of a protocol, domain name, and a path.
The protocol is how the browser gets the information about that page, either http:// or https:// (“s” stands for secure).
The subdomain is the part of the domain that comes before the main “root” domain. You can create multiple subdomains, but they are essentially different website so you don’t want to have lot’s of subdomains unless your really need them. Subdomains are created to organize content on your website. You can use any string of characters for a subdomain, not just www.
The domain name is the unique address where a website is located.
The top-level domain (TLD) is, for example, com, org, net, and there are many more!
The path refers to the exact location of a page, post or file.
URL structures can be different
Not all websites use the same URL structure. And that’s ok.
The URL structure of a website depends on the unique needs of the website.
For example, an international site’s URL will likely be structured for multiple languages or locations. URL structures for a blog website might differ from an eCommerce or a membership site. And a government website’s URL structure will likely differ from a social network.
Depending on the purpose of the website, the URL structures will vary, but no matter what structure is chosen, basic best practices still apply to maintain a proper URL structure.
Why does URL structure matter for SEO?
URLs are the organization of your website’s content. They’re the link between your content and a user. URL structure matters for these main two reasons:
1. User Experience
Great user experience is the most important factor when it comes to SEO.
Improve your user experience by using a logical URL structure with page hierarchies. Intuitively organized content makes your website easier to navigate for humans.
You want to make your website as easy to browse as possible, so people can get around the site with confidence, not confusion.
In addition to structuring your URLs with logical organization, use SEO-friendly URLs. URLs that are simple, easy to read, and include keywords that describe the content on a web page are SEO-friendly.
For example, if you’re searching for information about pancakes, a URL like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/pancake will help you decide to click on that link.
A URL like https://www.example.com/index.php?id_wca=470&clcp27sap does not clearly explain what the destination page is about and is not friendly.
Simple URLs provide the best user experience. Optimize URLs with descriptive keywords that provide a clear understanding of what the page content is about.
You want to optimize your URLs because it helps search engines deliver relevant results to searchers, and so searchers know exactly what they’ll see if they click the link.
URL structures tell Google what different pages of the website are about and how they relate to each other. Internal linking (links to pages within your site) helps with this too.
When you optimize your URLs for people you also make it easier for search engine bots to crawl and index your website to provide relevant content to searchers.
URLs are a ranking factor in Google.
This means optimized URL structures promote Google PageRank (PR). PageRank is the way Google measures the value of a web page and its relevance to a search query.
Root domains usually have the most PageRank and while using keywords in your root pages can improve your rankings, you don’t want to rely on URL keywords alone to rank. Avoid stuffing URLs with every keyword and only include what’s useful.
SEO-friendly URLs increase the likelihood of the link being clicked and this can also increase your PageRank.
After your site goes live and anytime you do page URL edits, (re)submit your sitemap in Google Search Console. You want to submit your sitemap so search engines immediately crawl and index your pages to keep SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) up-to-date with your site.
12 SEO best practices for URLs
1. Follow a good URL structure
URL hierarchy is essential to figure out before you start building your website.
There’s no set rule for the absolute best URL structure. And URLs can be different depending on the site’s purpose.
But a URL structure that’s simple, logical, easy to remember AND conveys meaning with the words used is considered the best.
Make your URL structure intuitive so that users and search engines can quickly and easily understand the connections between different pages on your site. Once your URL structure is in place, it’s fairly simple to pick the right URL keywords for each page.
2. Use HTTPS protocol
HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP protocol. A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts communication between your browser and a website so even if hackers manage to trap the data, they can’t read it.
HTTPS makes your website more credible because it instills trust in users—they feel more secure making a purchase with their credit card info., address and phone number.
This one seems straight forward but only 69% of all websites currently redirect to HTTPS.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I NEVER buy from a site that’s not secure. If your site is only HTTP, you’re probably losing potential business from tech-savvy users.
HTTPS is also a Google ranking signal and prefers websites with SSL. In the Chrome browser, the padlock icon in the URL bar indicates if that website has a secure connection or not. Click on the icon for more details about the connection.
3. Hide the www prefix
The www prefix used to prevent confusion because it’s very obvious that meant a website domain. But nowadays it’s not necessary to include it.
And if you do include it, it looks antiquated, takes longer to type and takes up more space in the address bar. In fact, the Chrome browser hides WWW and HTTPS:// in its address bar because it’s the information isn’t really all that important to display since they have the secure lock icon indicator. If you want to see it, just double click inside the address bar, it’s still there.
Hide the www prefix to make your domain “naked” and cleaner. Redirect the www version to the naked domain.
4. Edit the page URL to be relevant
When you publish a page on your site it should have a clear purpose. Don’t use randomly generated numbers that are confusing and don’t have any relevance.
Customize your website’s page URLs to be descriptive of the content within the page. This improves your user experience and can increase click-thru rates.
5. Keep it short and simple
Most URLs automatically use the page or post title as the default URL but sometimes the title can be an unnecessarily long string of characters for the URL. The shorter URL the better—short URLs tend to rank higher too.
6. Use meaningful keywords
Use 1-2 keywords in your URL that are relevant and tell Google what the page should show up for in search results. Don’t stuff your URL with more than that because it can come across as spam. Use a keyword that’s in the title of the page or post.
In addition to the URL, you also want to add these keywords into your page meta description because Google bolds these words in the search results and that makes your page stand out more.
7. Use hyphens to separate words
URLs do not use spaces to separate words. Don’t use underscores either.
SEO best practices use hyphens between words because this tells Google and users where the breaks between words are and they are so much easier to read than one all the words smashed together.
Here’s an example of the difference hyphens makes: designpowers.com/blog/urlstructureseobestpractices designpowers.com/blog/url-structure-seo-best-practices
8. Eliminate stop words
Stop words (the, and, or, of, a, an, to, for, etc.) do not need to be in your URL. Remove these words from your URL to make it shorter and more readable. You can see in the URL of this post that I removed the word “for” because it’s shorter and easier to read and remember.
9. Use lowercase letters
URLs are case sensitive for everything after the domain name. This means that DesignPowers.com will still take you to designpowers.com, but designpowers.com/Contact will take you to a 404 page instead of our contact page.
Always use lowercase letters for your URLs and if you happened to use uppercase then update your links and redirect to the new ones.
Squarespace automatically defaults to use lowercase so if that is your website platform you have nothing to fret about when it comes to case-sensitivity.
10. Redirect old URLs
It’s likely you’ll make changes to your site over time and you may choose a URL structure and then decide to change it later on to improve usability. In this case, it’s best practice and recommended to add permanent redirects.
Redirects ensure there are no broken links for people and bots.
Anytime you edit or change a URL add a 301 redirect so that if someone clicks the old URL they will automatically be taken to the new URL and won’t see a broken 404 error page.
However, avoid too many redirects because they can slow down your site. One or two redirects is fine but it’s best practice to make the page accessible without any redirect loops. That’s why it’s so important to pick a good URL structure at the beginning of your website’s life—to avoid redirects!
11. Remove dates from blog posts
Removing postdates from the blog post URL keeps content relevant to searchers because people always want the most up-to-date content. URLs without dates can improve click-thru-rates from search engines and help content rank for years.
Unless the post relates to a specific event or day, there’s no need to format your posts with the date, and doing so can even lead to a declining click-thru rate because folks are less likely to want to read an outdated post from 2013 than a current source.
It also allows for evergreen content so you can go back and update high-performing posts with new content, then re-publish the post with a new date, without having to redirect the old URL. Refreshing and republishing old content is a strong SEO strategy.
But overall, it’s best to remove the post date for a good user experience! Not including the postdate makes the URL easier to navigate for users.
For example, with the postdate (it’s always 11 character’s longer):
vetcare.com/blog/2018/10/18/obesity-in-our-pets-an-ounce-of-prevention-is-worth-a-pound-of-cure — with the postdate and full post title.
vetcare.com/blog/pet-obesity-prevention — without the postdate and simplified URL with keywords that still explains what the post content is about (this is what you want!).
12. Spell out numbers (sometimes)
Numbers can cause some confusion, but not always.
If your business name has a number in it and in the root domain, take precautions and also purchase the spelled-out version of the domain name.
Then redirect it to the primary domain. That way, if someone is confused or just doesn’t know the spelling they will guarantee end up on your site.
For example, seveneleven.com redirects to their domain https://www.7-eleven.com
For all numbers after the root domain, try to avoid using them altogether. Think about how people write. When searching for something online, 4 can easily get mixed up in place of “for” or 2 instead of “to” so it’s best to just avoid the confusion.
Obviously, if the number in question is a year or specific date, use the numbers and don’t spell it out. Most of the time, the longer the number, the more likely it’s an actual number like 47, versus spelling out forty-seven. You get the point.
Using numbers in your URL depends on the situation. Just make sure to weigh the factors and decide if it’s best to include or exclude them and spell them out or not.