One of the most basic search engine optimization techniques is in using SEO friendly URL structures. A good structure can help the indexation process of your website, but, unfortunately, there are plenty of websites that use incorrect, sub-optimal URLs. In this article, we take a look at the various elements of a URL and how we can create a friendly URL structure that will help us rank as highly as possible.
What is seo friendly URL structure?
In SEO point of view a URL structure should be:
1 Straight Forward: URLs with duplicate content should have canonical URLs specified for them; there should not any confusion in redirecting on the site.
2 Meaningful: URLs should be easily understandable with keywords and there should not be any signs or symbols.
3 Emphasis on Right URLs: From the point of SEO all the URLs are of same importance, some of the URL structure should be concealed and at the same time some of the pages which are accessible by search engines for crawling and indexing are given importance.
Creating Friendly URL Structure:
1 .Consolidate www and Non www Domain versions.
As we all know there exist two major versions of domain www and non www domain. Most SEOs use 301 redirect to point one version to other on the site.
Alternatively, we can go to webmaster tools and go to configuration>settings>preffered domain, but it has certain drawbacks.
- It takes care google only
- If you have example.wordpress.com it is not suitable.
Some backlinks point to www version and some other to the non www version. To ensure effective SEO consolidation it is better to establish a link between the two versions in any, either way, said before.
2. Avoid Dynamic and Relative URLs
Dynamic URLs look like www.example.com/?p=578544
Static URLs Look like www.example.com/topic-name
Both are taken by the Google but the thing is Static URLs contain keywords separated by (-) and are easily understandable by everyone, besides Dynamic URLs are gibberish with symbols and numbers.
Sometimes people use Relative URLs if they use relative URLs if the context is no longer available then the URL doesn’t work.
So it is better to use Static URLs.
3. Create XML sitemap.
XML sitemap is different from HTML sitemap, as XML is for google and the HTML is for Human use.
XML sitemaps help Google to access the pages on the website and use the Sitemap as a reference when choosing Canonical URLs on your site.
So this helps Google to easily access the pages on your website for displaying on the search engine when we search with keywords.
4 Hide irrelevant pages with Robot.txt
This helps to prevent from displaying unnecessary content of the website like “terms & conditions”, security information and other unnecessary pages with no keywords linked to the page as they may dilute the semantic whole on your page.
Robot.txt helps in what to be indexed and crawled by the Google, as it helps to select the pages which are only to be crawled and indexed and leftover the unrelated pages without indexing.
Sometimes, however, save webmasters use no index on the pages it should not be used. Hence, whenever you start doing SEO for a site, it is important to make sure that no pages that should be ranking in search have the no-index attribute.
5 Specify Canonical URLs Using a Special Tag
Canonical tag should be applied only with the purpose of helping search engines decide on your canonical ULR. For redirection of site pages, use redirects. And, for paginated content, it makes sense to employ rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags in most case
For example, on Macy’s website, I can go to the Quilts & Bedspreads page directly, or I can take different routes from the homepage:
- I can go to Homepage >>Bed& Bath >> Quilts & Bedspreads. The following URL with my pass recorded is generated:
- Or I can go to Homepage >> For the Home >> Bed & Bath >> Bedding >> Quilts & Bedspreads. The following URL is generated:
Now, all three URLs lead to the same content. And, if you look into the code of each page, you’ll see the following tag in the head elementAs you see, for each of these URLs, a canonical URL is specified, which is the cleanest version of all the URLs in the group:
What this does is, it funnels down the SEO value of all URLs might have to one single URL that should be displayed in the search results (the canonical URL). Normally search engines do a pretty good job identifying canonical URLs themselves.
“If we aren’t able to detect all the duplicates of a particular page, we won’t be able to consolidate all of their properties. This may dilute the strength of that content’s ranking signals by splitting them across multiple URLs.”
Having SEO-friendly URL structure on a site means having a URL structure that helps your site rank higher in the search results. From the point of view of web development a particular site’s architecture may seem crystal-clear and error-free, but for an SEO manager, this could mean missing on certain ranking opportunities. So an URL should be clear and has to follow those rules in order to get good ranking and to display the exact page by the Google while we are searching with an exact keyword.