Businesses spend a great deal of time and money on their website’s search engine optimisation (SEO), but many ignore a crucial factor which could be the difference between the success or failure of their campaign: their URL structure.
Bad URL structure is a common failing in SEO, but thankfully proper URL writing is not a difficult technique to master.
By knowing what is required of proper URL structure, companies can get it right first time, and also repair earlier URL’s with a minimum of fuss.
Here we’ve listed some of the major factors to creating a well structured URL.
Hyphens and underscores are commonplace in URL structure and won’t harm the site’s SEO performance. It is believed that hyphens perform better in SEO and readability terms, but for the purposes of simplicity, it advisable to not join words using other characters.
Since the right words are the bread and butter of a successful URL, it is important to know what the right words are. Keyword inclusion is one of the most important factors in an SEO campaign and including keywords in a URL is ideal but there are limits. Stuffing too many keywords into a URL creates the impression that black hat SEO is at work and the address is not trustworthy.
While words are essential to a URL, a series of numbers could be unintentionally detrimental. Numbers are problematic to an SEO campaign because search engine crawlers could mistake these figures for a date. This could make content appear outdated, which would be a problem since Google and other engines love fresh, new, relevant content.
Short is most definitely sweet when it comes to composing a successful URL. A short URL is easier to understand and easier to reproduce, but abbreviations and stop words defeat the object. Ideally, a high quality URL will contain around five words; full words that are relevant to the page.
If, for whatever reason, you are required to change a URL, it is recommended that you use a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one to prevent confusion and a loss of traffic.
Andrew Redfern, Director of HitSearch, said: "Do not underestimate the importance of a well structured URL to a successful SEO campaign.
"A simple, sensible, keyword enriched URL combined with the other cornerstones of good on-site SEO will improve each page’s placement within the relevant search results."