For a long time now, having an SEO-friendly URLs has been a hot debate in the SEO and digital marketing industry. That is because a lot of factors are needed to be considered when making URLs such as the number of folders and the visibility of the primary keyword. With all these factors considered, SEO experts have come up with some ways on how to create a perfect URL and structure that a lot of bloggers and website owners use until now.
This post serves as your guide on how an SEO-friendly and user-friendly URL should look like. Let’s get started and I hope this guide can help you create good URLs for your future blog posts!
Inclusion of Main Keyword
You should include the main keyword in the URL if you want to optimize that specific blog post to that specific keyword. Many users are still using this method even up to this day.
A lot of bloggers and web owners are afraid of having their URLs look over-optimized. Putting the main keyword in the URL, in general, doesn’t mean that it will over-optimize. In fact, it brings a lot of benefits to your posts, like:
- It appears in the status bar when someone hovers over the link
- Search engine users focus more on vital keywords in the results page – having the right keywords in the URL structure means a possible increase of your CTR (click-through rate).
However, you have to consider the overall structure of the URL. Having a URL with the important keywords included may not really help if it looks stuffed and/or forced. Make sure that the URL can be read clearly. Speaking of read…
A Readable URL
Most, if not all, web users love a URL that is easy to read and understand. It’s not just the search engines you have to please but also human readers; their attention is very important to whether they will click your URL link or not.
Even though search engines have already come up with meticulous ways of identifying top search results-worthy URLs, users engagement still counts in the end. Make your readers engaged by providing URL structures that are readable and identifiable. Most of the time users already know what they’re looking for, so when they can read it in your URL they are most likely to click on it. To add, readable URLs also bring targeted traffic to your website.
Short and Simple is Key (And Forget the Stop Words)
Many bloggers and webmasters have debated on which is better between short and long URLs. Below is our explanation on the subject matter.
Search engines don’t really care about the length of your URL. However, longer URLs may affect its usability and user-experience. That is why users prefer shorter URLs because they are easier to copy, paste, or remember. In addition, shorter URLs are also handy with micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter.
So how short is a short URL? Article URLs on Google’s first page usually have an average of 37 characters. So, when your URL has 50 characters or less, then it is considerably a short one. URLs with more than 100 characters are needed to be cut short.
Another important thing: Consider when you include categories and subcategories in the URL structure. If you think this will help in the search engines, you are wrong and, thus, should be avoided at all cost. A URL with plenty of categories and subcategories looks something like this:
But what if your title or headline has stop words in it? What are stop words to begin with?
Stop words are words that search engines find very common and highly repeated. Words such as like, and, or, but, the, a, and etc are some examples of stop words. If you have any of these words in your headline or title, it is best that you discard them in your URL.
There are no known disadvantages when you add them in your URL, but they make URLs long. To achieve simple and short URL, avoid stop words as much as possible.
Make a Match
I know several users who match their Titles with their URLs. And no, it’s not because they’re OC about it; they believe that matching URLs with titles can help in the SEO process.
As I mentioned earlier, most search engine users already have a topic in mind and when they see their topic as part of your URL, they will most likely click on it. If they notice that the title doesn’t match with the URL, chances are they won’t open your page or may lead to a “bounce”.
The URL of a post sets expectations to users while the title is the one that delivers. By matching both URL and title, you would be able to create an impact to the users.
BE SENSITIVE… With the Case
Do you have a problem with people who use caps too much? Well, the same thing can also be a problem with URLs – to Linux/UNIX users at least.
For those who are using Microsoft/IIS servers, you can go ahead to Conclusion now. However, for those who use Linux/UNIX, be very case sensitive as it can cause trouble with the SEO processing.
Why is this so? It is because hosting with these servers can interpret separate cases. For example, www.dotcom.com/thisisplainurl may be different from www.dotcom.com/tHisIspLAinUrl.
SEO-friendly URL is not entirely magic and this guide proves that. By making your URL short and simple and by being cautious to not over-optimize it, you are on the right track in making your URL short, readable, and search engine optimization friendly.
But also remember that this is not just the way to make users read and revisit your website and eventually get your products and services. Having a high-quality content to match your short URL is what you should have in mind when thinking of an effective SEO strategy.
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