Have you ever wondered what the role of your URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or your web address in your SEO rank is? We all know the importance of SEO in marketing. And for that purpose itself, we always optimize the content we upload. But did you know that your URLs also play a role?
URLs are a minor ranking element that search engines employ to assess how relevant a page or resource is to a given search query. While they do take into account the domain’s overall authority, keyword inclusion in a URL plays a role in influencing rankings.
Now, just about any URL cannot help you increase your rank. Like your content, your URL needs to be optimized for better ranking. Before getting into the tips to effectively execute your URL optimization process, let’s first look at the basic structure of an URL.
The basic structure of a URL
An internet address is known as a URL. It consists of a protocol, domain name(subdomain, root domain, top-level domain), slug, and article permalink. Understanding the structure will help you better understand the optimization process.
It is either HTTP:// or HTTPS:// (the “s” stands for secure) that the browser uses to obtain information about that page.
The domain name
The domain portion located after the primary “root” domain is known as the subdomain. Subdomains are built to arrange the material on your website. Although you can build several subdomains, you shouldn’t have many unless you need them, as they are essentially separate websites.
Any combination of characters, not only www, may be used as a subdomain. The root domain name is the distinctive address of a website. The top-level domain (TLD) is, for example, net, org, and com, among others!
It is the exact location of a post, page, or file.
The URL portion that indicates the precise web page it goes to is known as the slug.
A permalink is a web address that will always lead to a certain information source, like an article, ebook, video, catalog record, image, or database. Different websites employ different URL structures. And that is completely okay! The specific demands that the URL meets determine a website’s URL structure. For instance, the URL of a global website will probably be divided into sections for different locales or languages.
A blog website’s URL structure may differ from an eCommerce or membership site. A social network’s URL structure won’t likely be the same as a government website. The URL structures will change depending on the website’s purpose, but no matter which structure is selected, fundamental best practices remain applied to ensure a proper URL structure.
Now that you know the structure of a URL, you should know how to optimize it to help you get a better rank on SEO.
Nine tips to effectively execute your URL optimization process
Maintain a good URL structure
Maintaining a good URL structure has to be the most important tip! What exactly does a good URL structure mean? Search engines, like readers, examine the words in your URLs to determine the page’s topic. Maintaining a proper structure means that readers and search engines must have clarity of the URL while reading it.
You can achieve this clarity by not using dynamically created URLs. Instead, you can tailor them to ensure that your content and aim are fully understood.
Make your URL structure logical so that visitors and search engines may understand the relationships between the various pages on your site quickly and simply. Choosing the appropriate URL keywords for each page is quite straightforward once you have established your URL structure.
For example, if your article talks about how to make a hat, then your URL should be https://www.companyname.com/how-to-make-hats-tutorials/
Use the power of keywords efficiently
Why should your URLs contain the keywords you want to rank for? When someone sees your URL on a social networking site, in an email, or as they pause over a link, they can know they will be sent to the website they want and expect. This assurance comes because of the included keywords in the URL.
The URL serves as the anchor text when a link has no anchor text because it is regularly copied and pasted. And everyone is aware that anchor texts have a significant impact on rankings.
Finally, since terms in the URL display in search results, it is one of the most crucial things that searchers consider when picking which site to click on. Use the keyword that best describes the web page’s content the URL leads to! Using the same example, if your product/service is related to hats, use the keyword ‘hat’ in the URL.
Employ HTTPS as a protocol
The secure variant of the HTTP protocol is HTTPS. Even if hackers can intercept the data, they won’t be able to read it since the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts the connection between your browser and a website. Users are more likely to trust your website because of HTTPS because they feel safer using their credit card information, address, or phone number while making purchases.
Additionally, Google favors websites using SSL and HTTPS as ranking indications. The URL bar’s padlock icon in the Chrome browser lets you know if a website is connected securely or not. So always use HTTPS instead of HTTP as the protocol of your URL.
Keep the URL as precise and clear as possible
The title of the page or post is typically used as the default URL, although occasionally, this can result in an unreasonably long URL. The best URLs are condensed and direct. Do not stuff your URL with extra words or characters, and do not fill up your URL with just the keywords.
Multiple instances of the same term in your URL serve no use. While most users will navigate to certain pages of your website using links or bookmarks rather than directly entering the URL, you still want it to be possible for visitors to recall a specific URL if they so choose. Short URLs typically rank higher; the shorter the URL, the better.
Make sure you use hyphens to separate words in your URL
There are no spaces between words in URLs. And if you want to indicate space, then do it using underscores. Hyphens are used between words in SEO best practices since they indicate to Google and users where there are word breaks. They make sentences much easier to read than when all the words are haphazardly used together.
Avoid using slugs that already belong to other pages
There is only one office/home at your address, and there is only one office/home there. The same applies to your website. Google may flag pages as duplicate material if you use similar or identical slugs.
To avoid this occurring unintentionally, you should be particular about the slug. Your SEO performance will suffer in either case.
Have a standardized rule for all your URL naming conventions
Establish a uniform procedure for naming URLs that can be used for all of the posts and pages you make. Uniformity will assist you in creating a more consistent user experience throughout your website and make your website’s navigation more straightforward.
Don’t use stop words
You don’t need to stop words in your URL, such as “the,” “and,” “or,” “of,” “a,” “an,” “to,” “for,” etc. To make your URL more legible and concise, remove these words.
Ensure that every part of your URL uses lowercase letters
When used in an Internet address, words that follow a domain name are case-sensitive. For instance, the domain name is www.xyz.com. Therefore, the words that follow the domain name must be written in lowercase and should represent the website page, such as the blog.
Therefore, the URL should be www.xyz.com/blog rather than www.xyz.com/Blog. In the latter situation, the search engine may display a 404 error message because it won’t be able to detect the address.
Does the URL structure matter
The content of your website is organized using URLs. They serve as the conduit between a user and your content. And so, the URL structure does matter, and these are the precise reasons why :
It provides a great user experience
A superior user experience is the most important SEO component. A logical URL structure can improve user experience. If the URL is logically constructed, people will find it easier to navigate your website.
Making your website as basic as possible can let users explore it with certainty rather than confusion. You can get more clicks by using logically arranged, SEO-friendly URLs. As was already established, SEO-friendly URLs are brief, simple to read, and include keywords that describe the content on a website.
It helps with PageRank
URL structures provide information to Google about the pages’ contents and links to one another. Links leading to pages on the internal navigation of your website can help with this. When you make your URLs user-friendly, you also make it easier for search engine bots to analyze and process your website so that users can access pertinent content.
Better URL forms support Google PageRank (PR). Using PageRank, Google assesses a web page’s value and relevance to a search query. Links with URLs optimized for search engines are more likely to be clicked, which can improve your PageRank.
It can serve as an anchor text
A well-written, descriptive URL can be an anchor text when used in social media, blogs, forums, and other places. A few websites offer fully unformatted links. These very long URLs are cumbersome, disjointed, and under-optimized.
They deter traffic instead of attracting clicks because most semantically incorrect links are unreliable. And thus, they cannot be good anchor text, while a well-structured URL can!
Now, how will you know if these optimization tips worked in your favor or not? We have got you covered for that as well! There are mechanisms, like UTM tracking, that help you track the traffic of your URL. Tracking the traffic of your URL will help you determine if using the tips mentioned above helped you gain more traction.
Moreover, for someone with multiple digital marketing campaigns, it is necessary to keep track of the traffic of all the URLs used in the campaign. Keeping track will help them identify which campaigns performed well and which did not. For such purposes, UTM tracking for digital campaigns can come to aid.