URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is essentially a standardized form of representing different documents, files, websites, services, etc.
URLs are capable of providing each document or service with a unique address, either on the Internet:
Internet Image URL
...or even locally on your computer:
URL Computer Image
The expression "the first impression is the one that sticks" is a reality also in the digital environment. A user-friendly URL with an easy to understand structure is extremely important for Google and for users.
The main goal of any website, e-commerce or blog is to be easily found and to attract the attention of visitors. An organized and well-structured URL is one of the first items to be observed in any SEO checklist, given its extreme importance. It is a fundamental good practice in any digital marketing campaign.
In this article, we will discuss some techniques you can implement in your new or even existing project, to improve your search engine ranking and thus attract more visitors.
Before learning how to create an ideal URL structure, we need to understand how a URL is structured:
A URL is essentially composed of 4 elements: protocol, domain, path and resource.
Protocol: Protocols are nothing more than a set of standards that allow any device connected to the Internet (or to the local network) to communicate with another device also connected. This is how any user can send and receive messages, emails, download files or access websites. The most common protocols used to access websites are "http" and "https".
Domain: This is a unique and exclusive name used to identify your website on the Internet, it is the part of the URL that immediately follows the protocol, for example: https://domain.com.
A domain is composed of three elements: the domain name, the domain category (.com, .org, etc.) and the identification of the country to which the site belongs (.ca, .us, .jp).
Note that the country identification will not always be present, see domain ".com".
Path: specifies the location (usually on a file system) where the resource is located, in the server that hosts the site or service. For example: https://domain.com/images/blog/photo.jpg
Resource: This is the object that the web browser will present to the user, for example: https://domain.com/images/blog/photo.jpg.
Note that the resource will not always be shown to the user via the URL.
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Whenever possible, use short URLs
There is no hard and fast rule dictated by search engines as to the ideal size of a URL, but it is suggested that the shorter the URL, the easier it will be to remember, copy and share, making it easier to distribute.
This is more of a web usability issue than a technical SEO issue itself. According to Google itself, the size of a URL will not necessarily influence the ranking of a website, but a short and easy to remember URL will always be more user-friendly than a long one.
Upper and lower case
URLs can contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, but it is best to always use lowercase letters, as it creates a pattern and makes it easier for users to read.
Keywords in the URL
First, you should know that the use of keywords in the URL is crucial for your site to perform better in search engines. Keywords should be used in a descriptive, unique, and personalized way. A well-constructed, unique, and descriptive URL will give the user a clearer idea of what they will be dealing with in relation to the content of your site. This can be a decisive factor in choosing which site to visit.
If your website has two URLs that point to the same content, consider implementing 301 or 302 redirections, which is exactly what is used to direct the incorrect or duplicate address to the correct page.
If necessary, such as in the case of a redirect to a specific product or service page, to prevent the indexing from being split by search engines, use the canonical tag function.
Beware of problematic characters
Some characters can make it very difficult to read a URL and therefore its use should be avoided, but that is the least of the problems.
The use of certain special characters can even make it impossible for the site to function properly, as it may be a character reserved and exclusive to certain platforms.
For example: The use of the question mark (? ) in URLs should be avoided as much as possible, as it is a special character used to make database queries and the misinterpretation of these characters in a poorly crafted URL can lead to site malfunction.
Another example to avoid is the use of quotation marks ( " ), because in some systems they are used to delimit URLs.
Separate words correctly
A few years ago, the use of underscores to separate words in URLs was not a very recommended practice, as some browsers had problems interpreting these characters, but this has changed and today the use of underscores or hyphens is recommended for the separation of words in URLs.
Be careful, however, with the use of blank spaces, these remain problematic and are not recognized by all browsers. Therefore, avoid using them.
Avoid using subfolders
I know, you are an organized person and you like to put everything in its place, right? I understand you, but keep in mind that a URL with several subfolders, i.e. containing several items divided by bars ( / ) can generate some confusion for the user, which makes it preferable to a simpler and easier to understand URL site.
Avoid using articles, linking verbs and other complements
As we described in rule number 1, shorter URLs are generally more effective in attracting the user.
If the word separation rules, as described in rule number 6 (hyphens and underscores), are properly applied, the omission of articles, linking verbs, (the, the, of, of, of the, etc.) will in no way compromise the user's understanding of the URL.
Beware of repetition
Some people believe that the repetition of keywords in the URL can bring some advantage to the positioning in search engines, but it is exactly the opposite.
Excessive use of keywords in the URL will most likely cause your site to be considered "spam" content by search engines and with that you will lose positions.
Matching the URL with the page title
When the URL of a page comes close to the title of the content, the chances are much higher that the user will want to click on it.
Suppose you received a page URL from a friend that contains a random sequence of numbers and a few disconnected words. Chances are you'll be suspicious of the veracity or origin of such a link. On the contrary, if you receive a well-written, descriptive, and clean URL, the chances of you trusting the content and clicking on that link increase significantly.
If your website's URL is not well structured, your target audience and the search engines may not give your site enough relevance, which will cause you to lose your audience. Therefore, the proper implementation of the tips presented here will help you to plan well and build effective URLs.
If you still have questions, our site of SEO specialists can guide you through your project. Contact us today.
1- Short 2- Upper & lower case 3- Keywords 4- No repetition 5- No problematic characters 6- Replace spaces with "-" or "_". 7- No subfolders 8- No linking words 9- Make sense with the content
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