When it comes to planning your SEO strategy, URLs are a key component. Search engines pick up on the relevance signals contained in a URL and use it as a factor to determine page ranking along with other elements such as title tags, header tags, and keyword-rich content. As with many other SEO best practices, the URL improvements that help your ranking also are beneficial for visitors.
With the billions of web pages that exist, there needs to be a way to find each one. The address of each page is known as its URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Let’s take a look at a simple URL and break down its parts:
Most URLs begin with http or https. HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) is the standard protocol used to retrieve web files from the server where they reside. HTTPS is the secure version of this protocol. Following :// are the subdomain (www), domain (premierecreative), and top–level domain (.com). Then comes the file pathname. In this case, the URL points to the blog folder (/blog) and then to the article file (snapchat-for-small-businesses).
5 Tips for Improving URLs
- For SEO purposes, the keywords in a URL are important since search engines use them to pick up signals about web page content, but remember that people use them too. Make sure that your URLs are clear and readable. In this case above, visitors to our blog can see that the URL is pointing to a blog about Snapchat for small businesses even if they don’t understand URL structure entirely. If they see this page in their search engine results, they are more likely to click on it since they know they are being directed to relevant content.
- Keep URLs relatively short. Ones with fewer than 75 characters are preferable, and even shorter is better. This makes sharing easier as well. Although a link shortener can be used for longer URLs, short ones generally are easier to share on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
- When selecting blog URLs, try to match them to the title of each blog as closely as possible. In our example above, the blog title – “Snapchat for Small Businesses” – was short enough that we could include the full title in the URL. If a title happens to be on the longer side, keep the most important keywords and try to rephrase the title so that it still makes sense to readers. This will increase the number of clicks you receive.
- Use hyphens or underscores to separate words in the URL. For example, snapchatforsmallbusinesses is much harder to read than our version with hyphens – snapchat-for-small-businesses.
- Incorporate keywords but don’t repeat them. Long URLs with multiple uses of the same or similar keywords looks spammy to search engines and to visitors.
As with many SEO best practices, what works for search engine rankings also works well for web visitors. When you keep URLs concise, clear, and related to web page topics, it is easy for an algorithm or a person to understand the content on your website. An increased number of clicks sends the message that your page was the right search result, creating a cycle that is beneficial for your business.