Every content starts from a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). In fact, a blog post is an extension of a URL only. And, a SEO friendly URL structure plays an important role for higher ranking of your content in search engines.
A good URL is as important as the “title” of the post. A pretty URL,which is easy to remember, catchy and not so long helps your blog post go viral, because it’s easy to share in the social media.
On the other hand, an ugly URL plays the spoil sport even though the content is high quality.
SEO Friendly URL Structure
1. Length of URL: Search engines don’t analyze and give any value after the initial 4 to 5 words in the URL.
Keep your URL short. Around 5 or less words in the URL produce the best possible results. Also, try to keep the keywords at the beginning. Because search engines give more importance to the initial keywords.
Most importantly – Your URL should be meaningful. Even looking at the Address-bar, a visitor should guess about the content of the page. Meaningless and haphazard looking URLs are a recipe for disaster.
2. Keyword stuffing in URL: Novice webmasters and SEOs usually do this practice. Don’t repeat your keywords in the URL, until and unless it is unavoidable to describe the page’s content.
Simply speaking – Your keywords should appear once in your URL.
3. Editing of existing URL: This is the worst thing you can do to your existing URL. Editing an already published URL affects your search engine ranking -Vely.
Moreover, you will lose all the social signals like Tweets, Facebook likes, Pinterest Pins etc. They will be ZERO, which affects your ranking. Checkout – How your search engine ranking can be affected by frequent editing of your blog post.
4. Pretty URL Vs. Ugly URL: By default, URLs are always ugly. An example of ugly URL is http://YourDomain.com/index.php?page=67782
Pretty URL looks like http://YourDomainName.com/seo/seo-friendly-url-structure
Pretty URLs are SEO friendly, easy to remember and meaningful. You should set the Permalink Structure for better SEO in your WordPress blog.
Basically you should structure your blog URL like either of the below two formats:
I’m using the later one on my blog, which you are reading now.
5. Stop-words in URL: Stop words like ‘a’, ‘and’, ‘the’ etc. dilute the real value of keywords or long-tail keywords in the URL for which you have optimized your post.
Using a plugin to remove the stop-words is what I never advise. Better, remove the stop words manually. Human edited URL which makes sense is more powerful than automated one.
6. Use of hyphens: Don’t use underscore (_) or any other separators, instead, use hyphens (-)to separate the words.
Search engines have their own algorithms to identify different types of separators used in a URL. But, to construct a structurally better URL, you should stick to hyphens only as a separator.
7. Use only lower case: URL is case sensitive. So, never use a mix of upper and lower case characters.
Importance of Good URL
1. SEO Benefits: A properly optimized URL helps your content to rank better.
During on-page SEO optimization, URL comes just after the blog post title to achieve higher rank.
2. Visibility in SERPs: On search result pages, a well structured and pretty URL increases the CTR (Click through rate). URL is the most prominent part just below the blog post title on SERPs.
3. Visibility in social media: A catchy and short URL helps the blog post to go viral in social media sites.
Final Words: Just like all the sensory organs (eye, ear etc.) are extension of brains; article heading and body of the post are extension of URL.
A URL can make or break the future of an article. So, along with the other aspects of SEO, you should give due importance and spend some time to construct a good and SEO friendly URL structure for better ranking.