Whenever most people talk about SEO, the focus seems to be more on weaving keywords into content and less on the technical aspects of SEO. Technical SEO is focused on how well search engines can crawl your website and index your content (Source: Quick Sprout)

URL structure is one piece of technical SEO that can affect the visibility of your website in search engines. Some of our readers might be asking “What can I do in addition to optimizing my content?”

Glad you asked! You can enhance your SEO efforts and give your website an even better chance of ranking well in search engines. Start with these tips on URL best practices for SEO:

Keep URLs readable

Unfortunately, we’ve all visited websites where the URL looks like someone was cleaning their keyboard. Don’t be that person. A URL that is readable for a person will be judged better for its readability by search engines. Boost your readability score by using URLs that are easily readable for humans and, therefore, scored higher by search engines.

Test time! Which URL below is easiest to read. Pretty simple, right?

A. http://www.yourdomain.com/pub/post?ID=745/url+best+practices+for+seo

B. http//www.yourdoman.com/url-best-practices-seo

C. http://www.yourdomain.com/rFeu7X4ypg9/f=?5830&542wGx43375/f#-pubutv

Answer is…B

Choice A is too busy, a mosh pit of symbols, letters and numbers.

Choice C gives zero indication of the page content.

Hyphens in a URL visually break up words for a user. Removing any guesswork about the content that’s on the page will encourage people to click through.

Include keywords in your URL

Yes, optimizing your URL for search engines (in addition to content) can help improve your rankings. Aside from improving relevancy attributed to that page, including keywords provides better usability and can increase the click through rate. When someone sees a relevant keyword, they immediately know what to expect if they click.

Shorter is better

Think about how we search and read online. We skim, scan, and pick out individual words and phrases. To appeal to how we know people are reading online content, when it comes to URLs shorter is best.

Remove stop words

Stop words are filtered out by search engines. Stop words include: a, the, of, for.  They’re the common words that search engines will ignore to speed up their crawl of your website. Let’s jump back up to the test. Choice “C” doesn’t include the stop word “for.” Search engines will skip over it anyway and users can still understand the topic of the page. Win-win!

Keep in mind, while these URL best practices can certainly benefit your content optimization efforts, implementing these alone without optimizing everything else won’t give you the SEO results you need.

If you find yourself questioning your URL structure, just remember clean and concise is always your best bet.

Our SEO Specialists can help you enhance your SEO initiatives too. Reach out today and let’s get you in front of the right people in search engines!