Poor URL structure is one of the most common debilitating factors, which stands in the way of a successful SEO campaign. Great search engine optimisation should include a focus on the structure of URLs.
By neglecting URL structure and allowing your URLs to fall into disarray, you run the risk of harming your SEO performance.
Thankfully, there are a number ways in which to prevent this; from getting your structure right first time to fixing up some of the more common URL problems.
- Word Delimiters - Using hyphens or underscores will not have a negative effect on your SEO performance; though hyphens seems to perform better in both SEO and readability terms. It is advisable, however, to not adjoin words with other characters.
- Length - A shorter URL is always more advisable than a longer one. Ideally, your URL will contain no more than 5 words. Avoid the use of abbreviations, stop words or really short SEO keywords.
- Keywords - Keywords are the bread and butter of a successful SEO strategy and it can prove very helpful to include them in your URL. Beware, however, that stuffing too many keywords into your address could have the adverse effect of appearing less trustworthy. Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique.
- Numbers - One of the most problematic factors when using numbers in SEO and URLs is that search engines can mistake these numbers for dates, and this can subsequently make your content appear outdated. Avoid number wherever possible.
- Redirects - On occasions, you may be required to change your URLs. Using a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one can prevent any problems arising.
Andrew Redfern, Director of Hitsearch, said: "Do not underestimate the importance of a URL to your SEO strategy. To be most effective, the optimisation of your URL should be just one of a number of measures to optimise your site and increase your performance within search rankings."