Most visit your site by clicking on its link. But, you might be wondering whether it does matter what’s in a URL of a particular page. Well, you might be surprised to realize that the appearance of your URL is essential, especially when it comes to on-site SEO.
So, what’s a URL structure?
The URL of your site acts as your address on the internet. In fact, it’s the easiest and direct way for users to visit a web page on your site. Now, if you don’t really know what a URL is, it’s the words that start with either HTTP or www.
When creating your website, you will need to sit down and determine a standard structure of the URLs that you will use on your website. However, you might need some extra work if you have an already established and growing site.
A good URL should always be with the website’s root domain, and then define what follows in the individual web pages. E.g. www.nameofyourwebsite.com.
When creating your URL, you need to note that its structure directly relates to the large architecture of your website. Here, your URL should reference what’s on a specific web page, as well as assist in situating the visitor to the page’s location on the website. For instance, the URL for a blog on your website should look like www.nameofyourwebsite.com/blog/titleoftheblogpost.
When looking at the URL, anyone who visited the post via an external link can quickly note that they are in the blog section. In addition to this, they will also have some information about that particular blog post on the web page.
Importance of a Good URL structure in SEO
As the good old saying goes, “…the first impression is the last impression.” This also applies to a website’s URL structure. If a website’s URL structure is confusing, people will not be interested in the site, which means it will have high bounce rates. Moreover, the website will not rank well since the URL structure is a ranking factor that Google takes into consideration.
It can be a bit challenging to have a good URL structure, but it’s still possible with proper planning. Although there isn’t a fixed formula for getting a good URL structure, there are some basic rules that can assist you to get most of your URL.
The following are the befits of having a good URL structure
Helps in improving user experience
A good URL structure will benefit both the user and search engines. Both can understand what’s on the landing page, which means bounce rates will be reduced. Let’s take a look at this URL: www.mywebsite/blog/seo-tips-for-2020/. Now, the user will have a clear idea of what’s inside that page and this will increase the website’s CTR.
URL doesn’t play a major role when determining the rank of a page in search engines. However, inserting your target keyword in the URL can boost the page ranking. It’s important to note that although URL can improve the visibility of a website, the URL alone doesn’t have a significant impact on the ranking of the web page.
A good URL structure serves as a link if you want to share information across different social media platforms. With such a URL, it’s easy to copy and paste it on different platforms, which can help to drive more traffic to your page from these channels.
How to create a good URL structure
A URL is the basic part of any on-site page optimization. However, it’s important to make sure that you get your URL right from the start. The following are a few tips that will assist you to create a good URL structure.
Make sure that you edit the URL to remain relevant
Most website owners usually use URLs that have been automatically generated—and most of them are hard to understand. Doing that will be a waste of a major SEO opportunity, and you will end up creating something that will be confusing to your visitors.
So, what you need to do is to customize the URLs on your website depending on the content on the web pages. This can assist your visitors to have a clear idea of the contents on these pages before they click on the page.
Make sure that you follow the standard URL structure
As we said above, this is also related to the overall organization of your site, and you should make sure that you follow this important rule. Therefore, you must determine the categories and sub-categories that you want to use, and how you will display them in the URLs of each different web page category.
Always makes sure that you follow the main categories that are bound to make your site better in terms of its organization. Also, the URL structure that you use on your website should be consistent.
It should be short and simple
A good URL should be brief and to the point. Avoid filling your URL with unnecessary characters and words, as well as keyword stuffing. Having the same keyword appear more than once in your URL will not be of any benefit.
While many online users normally use bookmarks or links to access particular pages of your site rather than using the URL, you need to make it reasonable, so that someone can remember a particular URL—if need be.
Use your main keyword
You should always have a target keyword for each page on your site. The keyword should something that describes the content on the page, and also a common search term used by people searching what’s on that page.
With that said, you should make sure that your target keyword is inserted in the URL of the page. To make things easier, you can consider using the target keyword as the category of the URL specific to the web page.
For example www.mywebsite.com/category/target-keyword/
If your page is for a blog post or an article, you can get the main words from the article’s headline if you want to create a compelling headline that comprises of the main keyword, and that describes the content of the web page.
For example, if the title of your post is “Top 10 SEO Tips for 2020,” and the target keyword is “SEO tips for 2020,” the URL should be www.mywebsite/blog/seo-tips-2020/
Separate the words with hyphens
A URL shouldn’t have spaces at all. So the best thing to do when creating a URL is to separate the words with hyphens. This sends a signal to Google where the word breaks are, and also makes it easier for visitors to understand your URL better.
Don’t use stop words
Your URLs should be simple and short, meaning that you don’t need to add articles and pronouns. So, when converting the title of your page into a URL, don’t use any stop words like a, the, or, but, of, an, and, etc.
Use canonical tags if needed
Now, this is a bit technical but still essential. The last thing that you’d want as a website owner is Google registering various versions of the same web page on your site as individual pages. Therefore, in case you have the same page that has more than a URL for whatever reason, you are watering down its SEO value.
Here is an example of such pages: www.mywebsite.com and http://mywebsite.com, or you have a secure version of the same web page at https://mywebsite.com alongside the other two versions highlighted above.
If that’s the case, you will need to communicate with Google via canonical tags on each variation of a web page. A canonical tag clarifies which URL should be considered the primary URL to represent the other versions.
How do you set your URL structure?
You need some planning and time to get your standard URL into place. However, when you get your main structure defined, selecting the right URL for every page on your site will be one of the easiest parts of your on-site SEO strategies. You should make sure that you customize your URLs if you want to achieve the best results. This is an easy way to boost your SEO and also create a good user experience.