To get more organic search and improve the search ranking we do On Page Optimization. It means to make a change on the website and there by making it more Search Engine friendly. This helps to improve the conversion rate and help a business earn more profit. One of the major things to focus while doing on page optimization is URL structure of the website.
What is a URL?
Uniform Resource Locator is an address for all the documents and other resources on the Internet. We can easily read the URL and know what is on the website. It replaces the number used by a computer to talk to servers. Just like our home has an address a website on the internet also needs an address, using which one can easily find the website on search engines.
Example: The URL for one of my blog on Digital Vidya is https://www.digitalvidya.com/blog/4-evolution-in-search-engine-google/ So if you want to visit the site, simply open your web browser and type that URL into the address field.
The Anatomy of a URL:
A URL usually looks something like this:
- It (usually, but not always) starts with “https://” or “https://”
- Next, comes “WWW”
- and then the name of the website you want to visit
- Than by specific directories where the information you want to read is stored, separated by / marks
- and finally, the location of the page you want to read.
The Importance of URL Structure in SEO?
Well as we say the first impression is the last impression. Same goes with the website the first impression of the website is the URL. If the URL is confusing and not clear then people will not take any interest in the website and the bounce rate will be high. The website will not even rank high in the search engine because Google also takes the URL into consideration.
Getting a good URL Structure can be a bit tricky but with proper planning and precaution, it is possible. There is no fixed formula to make good URL Structure but there are some rules following them will ensure we get most out of our URL and set our site for future SEO success.
URL structure has some benefits like:-
1) Improving User Experience
If the designing of URL is correct then it is beneficial for both humans and search engines. They can easily understand what the landing page of the website is all about. Example Digital Vidya URL below is called semantically accurate URL as it clearly shows the destination. This will provide the user to understand what is inside and chances of a user clicking the link increases.
Although URL plays a minor role in determining the rank of the page in the search engine and also the relevancy of the query. But using a keyword in URL can also improve the page ranking. It is important to remember that while URL improves the website visibility. URL’s alone themselves does not have a major impact on the rank of the page. Therefore, it will be waste of time to create URL simply to include keywords in them.
When a proper URL is there than it can also help to serve as a link while sharing information in various social media channels and other platforms. We can easily copy and paste the link on various channels and can drive more traffic to the website from other channels. Example :-
Creating a good URL structure is not easy and has a lot of science behind creating URLs for maximum SEO as well as the logic. There are few things that are required to be kept in mind while deciding the URL of the website. These are important factors and will help to improve the ranking. Some of them are :-
#1) Taking Care While Selecting Domain Name
Using top-level domain name can help, it will not directly impact ranking but will improve and build trust among customers. Top level domains “.com” domain rather than “.biz,” “.pro,” “.tel,” etc. Although it is not realistic to be able to land your brand name with a “.com” domain (there were over 124 million “.com” domains of 2016), it’s something to keep in mind if you’re choosing a domain in the future. It is advisable to use sub domains for the content rather than using sub folders.
#2) Including Keyword in URL
Keyword means the term that user uses to search for a content. Keywords on a page should be relevant to what people are searching for so they have a better chance of finding your content among the results. Including the keyword in URL is a good idea as it will help to improve the ranking of the page. It is one of the most prominent elements searchers consider when selecting which site to click. When there is no anchor text than URL acts as an anchor text. It also helps the user understand that they are clicking on the page that is relevant to what they are searching.
It is also important to remember to never stuff URL with too many keywords one or two keywords in URL is enough. Also, one should not repeat the keywords unnecessarily. Repetition is pointless because Google will in no way reward you for using a keyword that appears more than once. Also, it makes the content look spammy and reduces the creditability in eyes of search users.
#3) Try to maintain Short URL
Having a URL Structure less than 50-60 characters is a good practice and nothing to worry about but a URL with 100+ character is not a very good idea. Although having long URL is not an issue with search engines and they can easily process it but it hampers users experience. Shorter URLs are easy to copy and paste, to share on social media, and to embed. The shorter the better. A graph that shows that google ranking declines when the length of URL increases.
#4) Use of Hyphens and Lower case letters
While framing URL structure it is better to use hyphens for giving spaces between words instead of using underscores. Spaces can work, but they render awkwardly in URLs as %20, which detracts from the readability of your pages. Try to avoid them if possible (it’s usually pretty easy in a modern CMS).
Also, sticking to lowercase while drafting URL is the best idea and avoid using uppercase as it leads to 404 errors on certain servers.
#5) Match Title With URL
There should be a good amount of clarity in the title of the website and the URL. It is a good practice to always match the title of the page with the appropriate URL. The title is basically the headline of the page and it gives a clear idea to the user about what to expect on the page and matching the title with URL increases the chance of the user clicking on the URL.
Drafting the URL Structure is requires a lot of precision and hard work it might seem easy while reading the above points but once you start a lot of things it required to be dealt with. The main aim of URL structure is to please both search engine and users who are searching to search engines. To summarize one has to choose a proper domain name, it should be readable, it should have 50-60 character with hyphens and lower case with matching the title. All of this improves URL which in turn helps in improving the ranking.