What Is SEO Friendly URL
Something you see mentioned a lot on the internet these days is the acronym SEO – Search Engine Optimization. SEO is much more simpler than you’d think. It refers to the process of optimizing your website, usually through keywords and other factors to rank high in the algorithm that returns search engine results.
The purpose of SEO is to bring traffic to a website organically without having to pay for a higher ranking in the search engine results. Part of SEO that is often under-utilized or outright ignored is the URL structure.
URLs are the first thing a user sees and it can consciously or unconsciously cause them to click onto your site or go to another site instead.
There are ways to optimize your URL to subtly convince users to visit your site over the other sites in the search results.
What are SEO-Friendly URLs?
User-friendly URLs are URLs that are easy for the user to remember, encouraging users to revisit the page frequently by putting the URL in the address bar of an internet browser.
A long URL with numbers and symbols is more difficult to remember than a simple “www.example.com/faq” for the FAQ section of the company’s website.
With the importance of optimizing websites to show up in search engines, SEO consultants focus on SEO-friendly URLs. These addresses are meant to be user-friendly and garner high rankings in search engine results. SEO-friendly URLS are often short and keyword-abundant. Find out more below on how to make your URL SEO-friendly.
Why Are URLs Important for SEO?
The incoherent jumble of words and numbers in a URL doesn’t just confuse internet users; it confuses search engines too. An unfriendly URL will likely end up buried in the pages of more relevant websites in the search engine results.
URLs are important for SEO because a short, to-the-point URL that uses keywords to describe the content of the website will give the website a higher ranking, often including the web address within the SEO meta description.
The SEO meta description is the 120 characters (or so, depending on the browser and device) that show up in the search engine results for each relevant website listed. Users are more likely to click on URLs that indicate in some way what the website is about and the relevancy to what the information they are seeking.
For example, a blog that includes tips for an iPhone 10 may have a URL “blogspot.com/2019/07/iphone10.html”. A more SEO-friendly URL would be “blogspot.com/iphone10-tips-and-tricks”. (FYI: Adding dates into the URL is a bad practice and makes it more difficult to update the page in the future.) Short, descriptive URLs are designed to please both users and search engine algorithms.
Benefits of SEO Friendly URLs
The trick to making the most of your URL is to ensure that it is both SEO-friendly and user-friendly. Keeping the URL short is a user-friendly trick that enables users to memorize the address of the website.
When it comes to SEO, a short URL allows for a longer meta description. The characters in the URL are included in the allowable length of the meta description. Utilizing an SEO-friendly URL gives the webmaster more chances to make the meta description keyword-rich by using the keyword that describes the content of the website into the URL address itself.
Steps for Creating SEO-Friendly URLs
Describe the Website’s Content
This is more in regards in being user-friendly than SEO-friendly. An internet user should be able to skim the search engine results and make an educated guess as to the content of the results just by reading the URL.
It’s impossible to go into detail about the website’s content just in the URL, especially when short URLs are recommended. However, putting a relevant phrase that relates to the website in the URL is an easy way to characterize the website’s content. The relevant phrase is often referred to as a keyword.
Include Keywords in the Sites URLs
Putting a keyword at the beginning or middle of the URL boosts the chances of a higher ranking in search engine results. However, search engines often ignore words at the end of the URL, so try to avoid putting the keywords at the end. Put the keywords close to the root domain to optimize your URL for search engines.
You might be tempted to put the keyword in the URL multiple times. Unfortunately, that’s known as keyword stuffing and search engines penalize websites that do that by placing them lower in the search rankings.
Going back to the earlier example of “blogspot.com/iphone10-tips-and-tricks”, repeatedly using the keyword “iphone 10” would give the URL a spammy structure and harm your SEO.
Use Hyphens Instead of Underscores to Separate Words
Hyphens indicate to users and search engines that there is a space between the two words. On the other hand, underscores are read by the search engines as one word.
Of course, you don’t want a long URL, so keep the hyphen use to a bare minimum. Remember – the shorter your URL, the more leeway you have for the meta description.
Use Lowercase Lettering
Some search engines are case sensitive, meaning a search using capital letters could return different search results as those using lowercase lettering. It’s recommended that URLs stick to lowercase lettering to prevent duplicate URLs, which risks losing rank in the search engine results. Also, all lowercase lettering streamlines the URL, making it easier for users to read.
Keep URLs Short
Many search engines truncate the URL in the results after it reaches a certain length. For example, Google has a 512-pixel limit. Keeping your URLs short gives the fewer words more value in the eyes of the search engine’s algorithm.
A short URL is also easier for the user to read, remember and type in the address bar for repeat visits. Keep in mind that similar words in the URL can be considered keyword stuffing by the search engine and lead to a lower search ranking.
Avoid Parameters (&, ?, =, etc.) and Articles (and, the, etc.)
Unnecessary parameters in the URL, such as “&,” “?” and “=” are the marking of a dynamic URL. It’s recommended to have static URLs that are easier for the user and search engines to read.“blogspot.com/iphone10-tips-and-tricks” is an example of a static URL.
In this case, the “and” is necessary but often “and,” or “the” can be stripped from the URL to keep the URL short without affecting the URL’s readability. The average user is able to understand the topic of the website without the extra words that take up important real estate in the URL.
Keeping URLs short and uncomplicated, but keyword-rich boosts the website’s overall SEO ranking.