As a full service digital marketing agency, THAT Agency is responsible for knowing all there is to know about SEO, SEM, web design and more. Through our research of the latest digital marketing trends we learn a lot of tips and tricks that we can then share with our clients. Whether you are having trouble structuring your URLs or just feel like you would like some pointers, this article is just what you are looking for!
1) Keep it Simple
Readability of the URL is key. The easier it is for you to read your own URL, the better it is for search engines to read your URL. You want the URL of every page on your site to accurately reflect the content within the page itself. Though it is not always completely possible to have a clean and understandable URL (i.e. search results pages), effort should always be made to create easily readable URLs whenever possible.
2) Stick to your Keywords
As with all other aspects of your website, you need to stick to the script – your keyword mapping. Having keywords in your URL gives users a better sense of where they will be taken when scrolling over anchor text leading to that page. Another benefit comes when someone shares your link without manually selecting anchor text for it. When this happens, your URL becomes your link – if your URL has keywords, then you are still going to rank for that keyword. Finally, if a user is searching for a specific keyword and it exists in your page’s URL, this will show up prominently in search results. This is a very important element to searches when looking through search engine results pages SERPs for information.
3) Remove Dynamic Parameters
If you were reading a menu at a restaurant, which of the following would be more attractive to you: “Chopped Chef’s Salad” or “salad?type=3&dressing?type=1”? Obviously, the one you can read and make sense of becomes the best choice. However, some dynamic parameters are utilized when tracking clicks, in these cases you must weigh out the pros and cons at your own discretion. When these jumbled messes of a URL are avoidable, avoid them.
4) Keep it Short
In general, shorter URLs are preferable. Though big search engines like Google and Bing have little trouble in processing long URLs, shortening URLs mainly improves the experience for users. When your link is copy-and-pasted, shared, embedded, etc. it is much easier to work with a smaller URL. This can lead to more clicks, leading to more shares, leading to more inbound links.
5) Match URLs to Titles When Sensible
If you are writing about your 5 favorite types of cats you may likely title your piece “My 5 Favorite Types of Cats”, so create a similar URL for your content! If someone is searching for popular cat types they will be much more likely to click “kittycatzz.com/my-5-favorite-types-of-cats” as opposed to “kittycatzz.com/blog?id=23”. Not to mention this keyword consistency between your URL and title will improve your overall SEO.
6) Character Do’s and Don’ts
There are many characters that make a URL difficult to read due to the required encoding. See the list below of safe and unsafe characters from Perishable Press.
7) Less Folders is More
Instead of creating a more and more specific filing system within your website’s structure, keep your structure more general. Instead of “kittycatzz.com/cats/ears/pointed/calico” perhaps consider “kittycatzz.com/calico-cats”. It makes it easier to read and allows for overall shorter URLs.
8) Using Upper or Lower Case Does Matter
When creating a URL, make sure you are consistently using one case for all pages. The easiest thing to do is to use lower case throughout the structure.
9) Hyphens and Underscores as Word Separators
Spaces in your URL can work, however they render as “%20” which can make your URL harder to read and understand for your user.
10) Do Not Stuff Keywords
As with the rest of the content within your website, you do not want to stuff your keywords. Use your URL as an opportunity to rank for keywords, but be wary of creating a spammy-looking URL.