URL not only gives the location of a web page on the internet but also provides information to the search engines about the content of the page, its context and its target.
A SEO-friendly URL structure is the one that is optimised for the search engines to boost raking and also enhance the user experience.
These are the main aspect of URL optimization:
1. URLs must be readable to the search engines as well as the users. URL tells the search engine what the page is about so you should customise your URL rather than use dynamically generated ones. Search engines read the URLs and connect you to your target market. Make use of short URLs as they tend to rank higher on Google.
For example, if you own a ecommerce site selling brown leather shoes then you should use your URL as
2. Search engines regard the web pages which are in the root folder as top content that has to be prioritised over the other content. Therefore you should categorise your URLs to clearly show the search engine which URLs are important.
For example, the URL http://yourdomain.com/primary-keyword/
will get more authority than the URL
which will get more authority than the URL
3. Do not use capital letters in the URL as it can confuse the search engine and it may become more difficult for the readers to understand and remember. Do not use stop words like ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ and others in your URL. Avoid using special characters in the URL.
4. Google bots can read hyphens and not underscores. In your URL you should separate the words using hyphens.
For example, http://yourdomain.com/black-chairs
5. If a site search feature is used then it can lead to dynamic and duplicate URLs to the same content. You should block the search engine from indexing multiple URLs to the same content in order to avoid duplicate content penalty. Use the robot.txt file to block the extra URLs and search pages from Google.
6. Dynamic pages with filters can sometimes create duplicate content and this can lead to duplicate content penalty. To avoid this, use canonical URLs. The URL with this tag becomes the preferred URL over the other ones. You have to add rel=’canonical’ link element.
For example, If you want http://yourdomain.com/red-shoes to be your preferred URL then add rel=’canonical’ link element in the head of all those pages with the same content. This will tell the search engine to index only http://yourdomain.com/red-shoes.
In Google yourdomain.com and www,yourdomain.com are considered two different websites. You can fix this by setting one as your preferred domain and this will redirect your non-preferred domain to your preferred domain. This will avoid the search engines from thinking that you have duplicate content.
You should direct your IP address to your preferred domain. Otherwise the search engine will think that your IP address and your website are two different websites with exactly the same content.
7. A favicon is a small icon next to your URL in a browser. Favicons do not impact rankings but adding them can lead to many benefits. They stand out more in browser bookmarks and this helps in brand recognition and building trust. They can help to better recognize your brand.
8. If you have to change your URL then you are removing a page that Google has indexed and other sites have linked to it. To avoid this just use the 301 redirect from your old URL to the new URL. This way you will not lose link juice from a high ranking page.
9. Try to include an extra target keyword or phrase in the URL. It may not be possible to include it on your Homepage but you can use it in your service pages and blog articles. You should always use HTTPS in your URL as this ensures that all the communication between the browser and the website are secure.