The 15 best SEO practices for URL structure – WAU
Many people believe that the importance of URLs (the addresses of the pages) has decreased considerably after the organic search service has improved so much over the years. Ledo mistake, and anyone who has a blog and understands the minimum of SEO knows this. A well-structured URL is one of the most important factors for […]
Many people believe that the importance of URLs (the addresses of the pages) has decreased considerably after the organic search service has improved so much over the years.
Ledo mistake, and anyone who has a blog and understands the minimum of SEO knows this. A well-structured URL is one of the most important factors for search engines to improve the qualification of a website in terms of ranking.
Thinking about it, our post today brings unmissable tips on practices for structuring URLs that can make your site or blog close to the top positions. Check out!
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1. Whenever possible, always try to use a single domain and subdomain
It may seem a controversial opinion, since the creation of several subdomains gives the idea that in this way the possibilities for improvement in ranking are more real. But the truth is that it ends up decentralizing the focus and your traffic may decrease.
A good alternative for optimization in this sense is to use the keyword for which you want to rank in the subdomain, if it is really necessary for the dynamics of your website or blog.
This causes these subdomains to increase in possibilities of localization and end up increasing their relevance in search engines.
2. Make sure that the URL is easily interpretable by the user
The easier the URL is for human beings to read, the better it is for your website’s reputation in search engines.
Accessibility has always been part of the SEO criteria, but not as much as it is today.
Nowadays, search engines are able to interpret (using advanced criteria) what type of URL is capable of causing more engagement. And an easy-to-read address, in this case, makes all the difference.
Imagine an address described like this:
This address already gives the user what he will have and what makes him feel more encouraged to want to know what it is about.
In another situation we have the following URL:
This situation still provokes some curiosity in the reader, even with some unintelligible terms. But see the following address:
The user who encounters such a URL probably thinks that his computer or cell phone will catch fire if he tries to access it.
The address does not need to be clean and perfect as in the first example, because it is a little difficult to obtain for all subdomains and links, but do your best to make it at least understandable and that your reader can easily understand.
3. Use keywords in URLs
When you want to improve your search rankings, using keywords in URLs is still a great idea.
First of all, keywords in the URL help the user to preview, in a certain way, what he will have ahead of him in relation to the content, whether on social networks or on links that make up his email marketing. Even if the redirection is done by creating a hyperlink, the user can easily see the original address on the monitor, on its lower left side.
Second, it is common for users to copy and paste URLs all the time. When these URLs do not come from anchor texts, the keyword contained in the address is used for this service. Know that anchor texts, that is, the word or text that will serve as the basis for the hyperlink to be created, are powerful ways to improve the ranking of your content.
And thirdly, understand that URLs are not beaten in search results. They do matter when the user chooses which website to click on and having an attractive URL ends up being synonymous with more traffic and the positive results that this provides.
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4. Two URLs that serve the same content? Keep only one!
If you have two URLs that serve very similar content, consider using the redirect 301 feature, which directs the wrong address to the desired page, if there are no reasons to keep both.
If necessary, such as redirecting to the presentation of a specific product, for example, so that indexing is not divided by Google, there is the rel = canonical (canonical tag) feature. We suggest that you study these redirection features on your own for the time being, as this is a subject that we will cover more deeply in another article.
5. Exclude dynamic parameters when possible
If you can avoid using URL parameters, do so. If you need to use more than two of these parameters, it may be time to invest in the reconstruction of these URLs, so that they become static and easy for users to read.
Most content management platforms have managed to move forward over the years so that URLs that are considered confusing and “ugly” are replaced by something more “popular”.
Some dynamic parameters are used for tracking clicks (such as those inserted by popular applications for sharing on social networks, such as Buffer). In general, this does not cause big problems, but these dynamic parameters can end up generating long URLs and without any appeal of attraction.
In 2014, a survey conducted by RadiumOne suggests that sharing on social networks through applications directly impacts SEO, despite having some advantages as well.
With short URLs it is possible to clearly find the location and content better than in URLs that are too short or in long strings of words, which, in the end, also do not transmit any type of information.
6. Minors> major
Short URLs are more effective in their purposes.
But don’t worry about wanting to shorten it too much if your URL is already less than 50-60 characters long. But if the address size gets close to 100 characters, it may be time to rethink its length, in order to generate more value.
This is not a direct problem with Google, Bing, or other search engines, which can process large URLs without much difficulty. The problem in this case lies with the usability and user experience.
Shorter URLs are easier to analyze, copy and paste, to share on social media and to embed on your own websites. This detail can bring good results in the propagation of your links on Facebook, Twitter and blog posts.
7. Try combining URLs with titles
It is more or less the same idea that we explored in item 2. When a URL of an article approaches the maximum of its title, the possibility with which the user is encouraged to click on it increases considerably.
Suppose a friend sent you a message via a messenger with a link full of numbers and letters that seem disconnected at first, or even when someone shares an address of this type on a social network.
The possibility that you have no interest in clicking on that link, or even imagine that it is a type of virus, is very great. So be affectionate with URLs, just as you treat the composition of your content.
8. Articles, link verbs and other add-ons are not required at the URL.
As we described in topic number 6, smaller URLs are usually more effective in attracting the user.
In this way, the omission of articles, link verbs, and others, in an attempt to relate the URL with the title of the content, does not compromise the understanding of the Internet user when he reads that address.
For example, on our blog, we have a text with the title: “SEO for videos: the complete guide”, in which the access URL is: https://rockcontent.com/blog/seo-para-videos/.
Note that the article “o”, as well as the nouns “guide” and “complete” have been omitted. And the URL never lost its function of making the user understand what the post talks about.
Furthermore, it is a short title – and quite easy to read – which makes it an ideal example.
9. Take care of uppercase and lowercase letters
This explanation is a little more technical, so let’s get to the real point here. Different types of servers work with uppercase and lowercase characters differently.
For example: a Microsoft server does not differentiate, but if the content is hosted on Linux / Unix servers, the risks that your site will not be found for this reason are considerable. So, when in doubt, choose only lowercase letters.
10. Remove problematic characters
There are characters that are difficult to read when inserted in a URL and the ideal is not to use them.
Check this link for a list of these symbols we are talking about. It may seem like a very poor argument if we only talk about the difficulty of reading these characters, but the reality is a little more complicated than that. Most browsers have some problems when they encounter some of these symbols in an address, so avoiding them is really the best for the health of your publications.
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11. Limit redirection to two or less
Suppose that your URL redirects navigation to another address (which is common), but that this second address ends up leading to a third address and so on. This is not a tragedy, but be aware that one of the criteria for improving rankings is the speed of data loading, and the more redirects, the longer your site will take to open.
12. Use hyphens and underscores to separate words
In the past, people with more experience in SEO recommended that the underline should not be used to separate words, due to some difficulties that browsers experienced with this type of URL.
But this has changed for some time now, and nowadays browsers see both the hyphen and the underline in the same way and without any problem.
Another issue that should be taken into account is the use of spaces. These are still incompatible with some browsers. Therefore, the ideal is to avoid them, which can be easily solved with the most modern content management platforms.
13. Don’t use too many separations in folders
Human beings are very fond of organizing their data and creating separations and divisions for everything, but a website is a place that you don’t need a folder for everything.
What we call “folder”, here in this case, is what is contained between the bars, as in the following examples:
- Bad example: http://meudominio.com/animais/estimação/cães/filhotes/brinquedos/ossinhos
- Good example: http://meudominio.com/brinquedos-para-caes/ossinhos
This does not necessarily mean that your website’s performance will suffer, but it does create a perception of depth that can be confusing for both users and content management platforms and search engines.
14. Repeating keywords in the URL will only hinder you
After you have learned several things about SEO here in Content Marketing, you may want to be smart and use repeated keywords in the URL, with the intention of improving search engine rankings.
But know that this is not the way the band plays! With the change in algorithms, mainly Google and Bing, these search engines have become extremely prejudiced against those who do this. This way, if you don’t want to undermine your SEO strategy, avoid doing so.
15. One more thing …
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others, check a number of factors to determine whether a page is optimally configured and the first thing to look at is always the URL.
In case your URL is not well structured, both your target audience and the search engines may end up not giving your site proper relevance. So pay close attention to the tips we offer above.
If you already have a website and want to change its URLs to SEO, be very careful. From the moment the site presents a new address, the relevance to the search engines drops to zero, taking some time for the new job to work and its position in the rankings to be recovered and improved. An alternative is to learn about 301 redirects so that your previous work is not compromised.
You may also like our Beginners Guide to Content Marketing for SEO.
Did you like our article? We hope it has been very useful in your SEO strategies. Now feel free to answer your questions or add something that was missing, we love to hear from you!
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