SEO Basics – URL Structure
Updated: Oct 19
If you’re creating a new website, think very carefully about the URL structure.
Firstly, what is an URL?
Simple! URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) or web addresses as they’re more commonly known – identify websites and pages on the internet. For example, the page you’re reading right now has the following URL: http://www.emeraldfrog.co.uk/seo-basics-url-structure/
Why is the structure of URLs important?
URLs identify web pages to visitors. Clean, short URLs are easy to remember and handle. They can also quickly give visitors and indication as to what the page contains before they’ve even clicked the link.
However, URLs that are very long for example aren’t easy to remember or relay over the phone. Additionally, long URLs sent via email may wrap onto more than one line, often breaking the link for the recipient in the process.
A web page address filled with session ID’s and database parameters may look confusing or even intimidating to your customers and URLs containing uppercase letters may cause confusion to visitors who typically expect all URLs to be lowercase.
Why do URLs matter to search engines?
URLs also identify your web pages to search engines.
A search engine will look for signals in the web page’s address for clues about its content, just as a human would. So you should include keywords that accurately reflect the content of the page. It’s best not to name your pages things like page1.htm, page2.htm etc!
Note: this does not mean that you should cram in as many keywords in as pos
sible! Keyword stuffed URLs look spammy to human visitors, and a search engine will probably think so too.
URL structure do’s and don’ts:
Keep URLs reasonably short.
Create a clear structure for your URLs.
Avoid using session ID’s and parameters.
Don’t use capital letters.
Include your keywords…
…but don’t go overboard!
Create a clear, clean URL structure that you’ll be able to stick with long term. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web once said, “Cool URI’s don’t change“. Dealing with URLs can be confusing, but it is definitely something that should be considered carefully when creating any new website.
If your website already has an URL structure in place that you think may be less than ideal, think very carefully before changing your URLs. A clean, friendly URL structure is just one piece of the SEO jigsaw and great care should be taken before undertaking any changes – you may end up losing any existing rankings if redirects aren’t put in place correctly.
For more help optimising your company’s website… contact us!