Done optimising the website content and images? Have you checked the website speed? Updated the XML sitemap? Now, you must be thinking your recipe for SEO success is complete, but structuring the URLs can be that perfect cherry on the cake, giving you an extra edge over your competitors.
With over 200 ranking factors for Google, the URL path and length are listed in the top 50 (backlinko.com). Ask any professional marketers you want and they will emphasise the importance of creating short and precise URLs for SEO. The succinct URLs allow Google to index and rank your webpages effectively on its search engine while ensuring a superior user experience for all the visitors.
Optimising URLs is no rocket science, but it is not as easy as ‘ABC’ either. Thus, we share a little know-how to help you create SEO-friendly URLs with lesser hassle. Curious to learn more? Let us begin!
Choose a Reliable Domain – Your choice of a domain may not impact the SEO directly, but that will decide how the users can resonate with your website. Since user experience is an important SEO factor, you can’t ignore the significance of selecting the best top-level domain. Being the most popular domain, using a “.com” can boost the authority and credibility of your website before the online audience.
Yes, you may use other domains like “pro” and “biz”, because there is no upfront technical advantage in using “.com”. But what you must understand is the fact that it the psychological impact of using “.com” we are talking about, which in turn impacts the SEO experience. Given their popularity, you will find it challenging to buy a domain of your choice, but you may consult with a top SEO agency and find a way around this issue.
Maintain the Length – An analysis done by Backlinko has proven that shorter URLs rank better on the search engines than their longer counterparts. Shocked? As soon as you have read this blog, you must check every URL page by page. Ideally, you would want to stick within the bandwidth of 50-60 characters. And anything that goes beyond 80 characters can prove to be disastrous for your SEO.
To abide by the said limit, you must focus on an economical choice of words. Even if the CMS adds superfluous words automatically, you should check manually and edit the URLs accordingly. As you can see, using superficial words will not only confuse your readers, but this practice certainly goes against your SEO efforts. So, be mindful of this point.
Use Hyphens – Many of you might miss the details like whether to use hyphens or underscores in the URLs, so here is what every top SEO agency has to say about it. As it is comparatively easier for both the search engines and users to identify the hyphens, we echo Google’s suggestions of using these characters and not underscores in your URLs.
Here, we would like to remind you that in no way you should fill the URLs with invalid characters. Google can decipher these characters, but keeping things simple will help the search engine index and rank your website faster. So, take the easy roads because they are going to take you to the guaranteed results. When Google prefers it simple, keep it simple!
Improve Readability – Don’t stretch the URL by adding extra words that you can absolutely do well without. Let us take the ‘stop’ words as an example. Commonly used terms like ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘the’, ‘it’ can easily be omitted from the URL because they are not even indexed by Google. While you review a URL for removing the stop words, make sure you shoot for around five important words at the most.
Also, to keep a URL short and crisp, avoid adding too many forward slashes or folders. If you are using more than two folders, it can get a tad difficult for your customers to understand the URL structure. So, URL readability is all about compressing the essence of a page content within five words and a certain character length. Finally, whether you write the top-level domain, path, or protocol, the lowercase is always recommended to create URLs for allowing quicker indexing by Google.
Add Relevant Keywords – Here comes the most interesting point – the use of keywords in a URL. Now, adding keywords does not guarantee the top spot on the Google’s search engine for you, but it can give your website ranking a subtle boost. However, when your URL is being used as an anchor text, adding keywords will help the users identify and click your content. So, when you engage digital marketing services, the experts can sort out a list of keywords and add only the relevant ones in the URL.
Having said so, we do not ask you to stuff all the URLs with keywords. A single URL should not contain more than one or two search terms. Adding more will only disrupt the readability of the URL without you gaining any favour from Google. Also, make certain you do not repeat keywords because that does not create a good impression on the audience. Keywords being an integral part of the URL structure and overall SEO, we think you should engage SEO services to get help in this area.
Go for HTTPS – Can’t decide whether to keep HTTP or go for HTTPS? Well, there is no luxury to choose because it has to be HTTPS at all costs. There is no denying that identity theft is becoming a pressing concern today, and thus it is only natural that people want to use a secure connection. With Google flagging the non-secure websites, setting the HTTPS protocol is a must to improve your website ranking and spreading a sense of security among the visitors.
For those of you who don’t know what HTTPS is all about, it stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure”, facilitating the flow of encrypted information on the internet. In this regard, obtaining an SSL certificate is imperative to use the HTTPS protocol on the website and secure the network connection across systems.
Closing Thoughts – The URL structure is the building block of your SEO strategy and ignoring its parameters can certainly hold back the SEO performance of your website. Once you get the structure right, you can reap benefits in the long run. You sure want to ace SEO like a boss, don’t you? These tips might read like a lot of work, but why not try them and see how they can guide you to SEO success? Implement the shared suggestions and let us know how these have worked for you. Good luck!
Pratyusha Guha is a consummate blogger who keeps herself updated on various topics and writes on a range of genres based on deep insight & research.