Top 10 SEO tips for URL optimisation

Jun 28, 2019 by
Top 10 SEO tips for URL optimisation

A URL might be little more than a marker or a fingerprint to most internet users, but to SEO marketers, the URL is so much more than that – it’s a beacon for search engines, and the strength of that beacon will ultimately determine how many users get drawn to it and how well a website ranks.

Here, we’ll highlight some tips for URL optimisation, direct from the minds of some of the top SEO experts in the game. Take these tips on board, and next time you’ll see the URL less as a necessary afterthought, and more as the essential SEO tool it can be.

1. Keep URLs Readable – Scan your URLs and make sure they are identifiable and easy to read. As a rule of thumb, if you are struggling to read it then users will almost certainly avoid it and Google is smart enough to understand that.

2. Hyphens over Underscores – Google doesn’t understand URL underscores so make sure that all URLs separate their words with hyphens instead. This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be amazed how often this mistake gets made.

3. Target Keyword – If you are selling something specific then make sure that keyword is included in the URL. There is no point in being creative or sneaky here, and whilst it might be difficult to achieve on your home page, you should definitely strive to include the target on all product and blog pages.

4. 301 – If you’ve changed a URL, remember that you’re not just changing that website, but every site that’s linked to it. If you don’t add a redirect from your old URL to your new one then search engines might end-up removing your page entirely, so always make sure you’ve added a 301 redirect.

5. Favicons – These nifty little icons are woefully underused by many marketers, but they are incredibly easy to implement and are an incredible way of adding additional branding. It also makes it that much easier for users to bookmark your site.

6. Be Organised – Regardless of how important you view it, any content in your root folder will be viewed as top-level content by a search engine. So, make sure that the content you want getting the most attention is in the top folders by using fewer sub-categories and keeping your vital content close to the root. The flatter you keep the structure of your site, the better it should perform. URLs should also always be canonical so as not to create duplicate content and you should always be careful with subdomains.

7. No Capitals – There is absolutely no good reason to use a capital letter in a URL. All it does is confuse both users and search engines and makes it that much harder for anyone to remember.

8. Mobile Friendly – With so many websites now being visited by more mobile users than desktop users, it’s vital that you make sure your mobile-optimised pages are marked as such so that they rank higher in mobile searches. This can be done quite simply by using a sitemap.

9. Remain Static – If possible, stick to static URLs that remain constant after each page is loaded. These are easier for users and search engines to read. Of course, extra parameters can always be added to track marketing data on social media, but steer clear of dynamic URLs on the site itself. Make sure that your URLs are clear and avoid messy dynamically generated URLs as search engines will read the words in it and will list it accordingly.

10. Keep it Short and Simple – Finally, a URL should always be descriptive, but as brief as possible as the shorter it is the quicker it will be to read and type. URLs with fewer words also tend to receive more attention from search engines, who put more emphasis on the words that have been used.

Add too many words to your URL and it could also be seen as a form of keyword stuffing – and whilst that was all the rage back in the old days, it’s frowned upon now.