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Think back to a time when you noticed a web address that was miles long and used a complicated string of letters, numbers, and special characters within. This kind of lengthy URL isn’t only hard on the eyes: it can also hurt your search engine ranking.
Luckily, it only takes a little bit of know-how to improve your URL structure for SEO. Read on to learn about crafting concise web addresses that can help drive more visitors to your site.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but you’re more likely to see it referred to as a web address — the text that you type into a web browser to navigate to a particular page. URLs can be short and straightforward, like “WordPress.com.” Other times, URLs are longer and more descriptive, like “WordPress.com/go/tips-and-tricks/interior-photography-tips/.”
If your site has a custom domain name, it might also have subdomains or subfolders (also known as subdirectories).
A subdomain is like a micro-website within your main site. Blogs are common examples of subdomains, and they might feature URLs such as “blog.WordPress.com.” A subfolder serves a similar purpose, but its URL is structured differently: “WordPress.com/go.”
A straightforward URL structure can increase your site traffic by enabling crawlers like Google to index your web pages and make your content more transparent. For example, it’s more tempting to click a link that has a clear destination like “yoursite.com/holidays-specials,” than a confusing URL like “yoursite.com/wxqqKlLd090.”
If you’re wondering whether subdomains or subfolders are likely to improve your SEO, Search Engine Journal reports that Google weighs them equally.
Follow these tips to create SEO-friendly URLs:
- Keep it simple: According to Google, your site’s URL structure should be “as simple as possible.” This entails using a structure that can be read by humans, instead of a long, nonsensical strand of text and numbers. Complicated URLs also make it harder for Google to index your content, which can hurt your search engine rankings.
- Emphasize your keywords: If you’re targeting keywords within your site content, why should your URLs be any different? Just be wary of repetition. As Search Engine Journal suggests, “Adding the same keyword multiple times in the hope of increasing your ranking will only lead to a spammy URL structure.”
- Avoid special characters and capitalization: They are hard to read and can create technical issues for some web browsers. Hyphens are one exception — Google recommends using hyphens (rather than underscores) to break up text when needed.
A readable URL begins to shape positive user experiences before site visitors even open your page. By building your URL structure for SEO, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your search engine rankings and making the most of your web presence.