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Everything You Need to Know About SEO-Friendly URL

Last updated: Aug 12, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About SEO-Friendly URL
Cover image: An illustration of a good URL structure. To make your URL more SEO-friendly, here are what you need to optimized.

Disclaimer: Our team is constantly compiling and adding new terms that are known throughout the SEO community and Google terminology. You may be sent through SEO Terms in cmlabs.co from third parties or links. Such external links are not investigated, or checked for accuracy and reliability by us. We do not assume responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information offered by third-party websites.

Using a concise, yet descriptive URL structure can entice people to click on your website link, wherever the link is shared. Of course, this can increase the click-through rate (CTR) and have a good impact on the implementation of your website's SEO.

However, is the URL structure you implemented SEO friendly? Find best practices for creating SEO-friendly URLs in this guide.

What is URL Structure?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is a series of characters that serves as the address of a document or resource contained on a web page. Usually, URLs are used to make it easier for users to remember the web pages they accessed.

To make articles more SEO-friendly, you also need to optimize the URL structure for SEO. Before studying the characteristics of an SEO-friendly URL structure, you need to pay attention to the following URL section.

https://cmlabs.co/id-id/seo-terms/url

The URL above is divided into 3 parts consisting of the protocol, domain, and file path. Check out the following explanation:

  • Protocol: defines the protocol used in data communication on web pages. The standard protocols that may be used are HTTP and HTTPS. In the URL above, the website uses the HTTPS protocol.
  • Domain: Represents the main address of the website, which consists of the domain name and domain extension. The domain name in the URL above is cmlabs and the domain extension is .co, which is a top-level domain extension used for companies or startups.
  • File Path: Indicates the specific location of the file accessed by the user

 

Features of an SEO-Friendly URL Structure

One of the characteristics of an SEO-friendly URL structure is that it can make it easier for search engines to crawl and index. By optimizing URLs for SEO, you can help search engines better understand your website content.

However, some websites may still not implement a proper URL structure for SEO. The characteristics of an SEO-friendly URL structure are as follows:

Simple and Concise

The URL structure should be as simple and concise as possible. This is because URLs that are too long can confuse users and search engines in knowing the topic presented on a web page. To keep URLs short, you don't need to display unnecessary parameters in your URLs.

Describing Website Content

The URL should be able to describe the content of the content, but keep it as short as possible. This is to make it easier for web crawlers to understand the content contained on your website.

Contain Target Keywords

When you enter a keyword in your URL, it will tell Google that your web page contains information about that keyword. Google also states that URLs containing target keywords that are relevant to the website's content and niche provide a better user navigation experience.

Using Hyphens to Separate Words

It is important to use hyphens as word separators in your URLs. It aims to make it easier for users and search engines to read and understand your website URL.

Using hyphens (-) to separate words is recommended over using underscores (_). Because, in a URL, hyphens are considered as spaces between words, while words linked with underscores are seen as one word. Consider the following example:

// writing SEO friendly URLs

http://www.example.com/green-dress.html


// write URLs that are not recommended

http://www.example.com/green_dress.html.

Written in Lowercase

Although some modern servers do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters used in URLs, some servers treat these URLs as different things. Therefore, to avoid unwanted things, URLs are better written in lowercase.

Consider the following example of what happens when the server considers uppercase and lowercase letters to be different URLs:

//accessible URL and return status code 200 - OK

https://cmlabs.co/id-id/seo-guidelines/panduan-seo-wordpress

//URL not recognized by server and returns status code 404 - Not Found

https://cmlabs.co/id-id/seo-guidelines/Panduan-seo-wordpress

Interesting to Share

A poor URL structure has less chance of being clicked and shared on social media. Therefore, you need to create an attractive URL so that people are interested in clicking on your website link, both from organic search results and from other platforms.

Using Static URLs

From an SEO point of view, the use of static URLs is recommended. Because, static URLs are easier to read by users and search engines.

In addition, dynamic URLs usually contain several parameters which make them so long that they will be truncated in search results. It's best if you try to avoid using unnecessary parameters in your URLs.

Why Are URLs Important For SEO?

Search engines need a specific URL of the content in order to crawl and index that content. In other words, URL structure is important for SEO because search engines use it to understand the content of your website.

In addition, easy-to-read URLs can also improve the user experience. Because, even though the title tag is not displayed, users can understand the information on the website page through the URL.

Not only that, but the use of an SEO-friendly URL structure can also bring more clicks to your website. In fact, a well-written URL can attract the attention of users to share it on online forums, blogs, and social media.

Common Causes of Problems With URL Structure

A number of unimportant parameters added to the URL structure can cause some problems. The common causes of problems with the URL structure are as follows:

Additional Filtering on a Series of Items

Many sites provide different views of the same set of items or search results, often allowing users to filter the set using specified criteria (example: show me hotels on the beach).

When the filters can be combined through additions (example: a hotel on the beach and equipped with a gym), the number of URLs (data views) on the site will be larger and wider.

Generating a large number of slightly different hotel listings is an exaggeration, as Googlebot only needs to see a small number of listings used to reach each hotel's page. For example:

Hotel properties by “rate”:

http://www.example.com/hotel-search-results.jsp?Ne=292&N=461

Hotel properties with a “rate of value” on the beach:

http://www.example.com/hotel-search-results.jsp?Ne=292&N=461+4294967240

“Rated” hotel properties on the beach with a fitness center:

http://www.example.com/hotel-search-results.jsp?Ne=292&N=461+4294967240+4294967270

Dynamic Document Creation

Dynamically generated documents may cause minor changes due to a calculator, timestamp, or installed ads.

Error Parameters in URL

Session IDs, for example, can create a large number of duplicates as well as a larger number of URLs.

Sorting Parameters

Some major shopping sites provide multiple ways to sort the same item, resulting in a very large number of URLs. For example:

http://www.example.com/results?search_type=search_videos&

search_query=tpb&search_sort=relevance&search_category=25

Irrelevant Parameters

The URL structure contains irrelevant parameters, such as referrer parameters. For example:

http://www.example.com/search/noheaders?click=6EE2BF1AF6A3D705D5561B7C3564D9C2& clickPage=OPD+Product+Page&cat=79
http://www.example.com/discuss/showthread.php?referrerid=249406&threadid=535913
http://www.example.com/products/products.asp?N=200063&Ne=500955&ref=foo%2Cbar&Cn=Accessories.

Issues With Calendar

Dynamically generated calendars can generate links to future and past dates with no restrictions on the beginning of the last date. For example:

http://www.example.com/calendar.php?d=13&m=8&y=2011

http://www.example.com/calendar/cgi?2008&month=jan

Broken Relative Link

Broken relative links can often result in an infinity of space. This problem often arises as a result of repeated flow elements. For example:

http://www.example.com/index.shtml/discuss/category/ school/061121/html/interview/category/health/070223/

html/category/business/070302/html/category/community /070413/html/FAQ.html
Figure 2: Illustration of a broken relative link showing a 404 error message on a mobile device with a cracked screen. In the HTTP status code, the number 404 describes that the content on the destination page is not available. It is of course can prevent search engines from crawling and indexing pages that they should.

 

How to Solve URL Structure Problems

To avoid potential problems with the URL structure, we recommend the following actions:

  • Consider using a robots.txt file to block Googlebot's access to problematic URLs. In particular, you should consider blocking dynamic URLs, such as URLs that contain search results, or URLs that can create unlimited space, such as calendars. Using regular expressions in a robots.txt file will allow you to easily block a large number of URLs.
  • If possible, avoid using session IDs in URLs. Consider using cookies instead. Check the Webmaster Guidelines for more information.
  • If possible, shorten URLs by trimming unneeded parameters.
  • If your site has unlimited calendars, add a nofollow attribute on links to dynamically generated future calendar pages.
  • Check your site for any broken relative links.

 

Conclusion

That's a complete guide that you can use as a reference to create an SEO-friendly URL structure. The thing to note is to keep the URL simple and avoid actions that can cause problems for your website.

By optimizing the URL structure, your website can get several benefits. Starting from increasing click-through rate (CTR), providing users with a good page experience, to potentially ranking higher in organic search.

However, implementing SEO-friendly URLs must also be complemented by other web optimization strategies. That way, your website will have a better performance on search engines.

USAGE OF A SIMPLE URL STRUCTURE ON THE WEBSITE

AGENCY WEBSITE

Agency websites should contain a simple URL structure to make it easier for clients.

E-COMMERCE WEBSITE

E-Commerce websites that have a simple URL structure are more attractive to customers.

BRAND WEBSITE

The brand website should have a simple URL that Google can easily identify.

WEBSITE BLOG

To upscale the rank of a blog website, a simple URL is a way for Google to easily index the page.

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