Creating a SEO-Friendly URL Structure

In the eyes of both technical SEOs and internet users, a strong URL structure – and URLS themselves –  serve as crucial clues for search engines. Standing for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is essentially an online postcode that tells your browser exactly where to find the answer to your search query.

So where does structure come into it? Well, a clear and descriptive URL can give users a quick idea of what to expect on the page before they even click on it. But how do you go about finding the best one for your website – and how can it help with conversions?

In this guide, our team of SEO experts will teach you some of the best practices when it comes to structuring your URL. We’ll also talk about tips to strengthen your URL scope with content and redirects – so your website is in the best form, from top to bottom.

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What is the best URL structure for SEO? (Four essential considerations)

Asking for a single “best” URL structure is a little like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’

While there isn’t a set formula for successful structures every single time, there are some key characteristics that create an SEO-friendly URL – that’s also appealing to the user.

Here’s what you should be looking for:

Clear, useful keywords

Throughout your URL, include relevant, researched keywords that link to the content you’re representing. This helps search engine crawlers to gain insight and context into your topic, so they know what to suggest to readers.

Readability

Try to use lowercase letters and hyphens (-) to clearly separate words and terms for humans to scan easily.

Structure

Organise your URLs with categories and subcategories when it makes sense. This creates a logical hierarchy for your website.

Consistency

When you create a structure, make sure you consistently use it throughout your website. This makes it easier for search engines and search engines to navigate your content.

For your notes, this is what we’re looking for when we think of a ‘good’ example of URL structure:

heresanexample.com/category/sub-category/keyword-rich-page-title/

This URL showcases what’s needed for search engine crawlers and users, touching on the most important aspects of content such as category and sub-category. It also uses relevant keywords in the page title.

As always, the key here is to blend enough useful keywords for SEO purposes while keeping things easy for users to understand. No room for keyword stuffing, here!

Three things to steer clear of when creating your URLs

Unnecessary additions

Avoid putting ‘special’ characters like ‘&%$#@*’ to shortcut certain meanings or in an attempt to look a little slicker. It’s just confusing for users and search engines.

The same goes for creating dynamic URLs with session IDs. These URLs have long strings of numbers and letters (think: /product.hwpd.1983) – which offers very little context about what’s actually on the page.

Keyword stuffing

This blackhat SEO practice isn’t just limited to content. URLs that cram keywords together with no thought to the user experience or how readability is impacted will likely get flagged by search engines The same goes for ‘stuffing’ a URL with keywords that don’t relate to the content itself, whether that’s in a cheeky bid to net a wider audience or just through laziness. It confuses search engines and your clickers – so don’t do it!

Overcomplexity

Burying content under layers of deep folder structures can make it tricky for your users and crawlers to fully grasp what’s there. A folder structure might look like this: (/biscuits/cake-adjacent/jam-and-cake-biscuits/jaffacake.html) – which is hard to look at and even harder for search engines to contextualise.

Ideally, search engines and users should be provided with URLs that are clear, concise, and informative – so always keep that in mind!

Key considerations from

Still, feeling lost? Don’t worry, our technical experts have got you. Why not screenshot or save the following section for your records – so you’ll never come up short on URL structures again?

  • Lowercase letters: Only use lowercase letters when creating URLs. This can help you stay consistent and avoid creating any accidental duplicates.
  • Hyphenate: Always use hyphens to separate keywords. This improves readability.
  • Avoid dates: Try to avoid including dates or time-sensitive information in your URLs. This stops your content from becoming stale fast.
  • Use static URLS: A clear, static URL pays dividends when compared to dynamic ones. They give you more opportunities to add context and keywords, which are needed.
  • Slim down your URL: Cut out ‘stop’ words such as ‘a’, ‘on’, and ‘the’. They don’t always add value and can pad out your URL, meaning it takes longer to crawl.

Final thoughts

An SEO-friendly URL structure is the bread and butter of technical SEO. They are the big neon signs pointing to great content, which is why it’s crucial to get them right the first time, every time.

If you’re looking for a little clarity – or would like a full technical audit tailor-made for your business – our experts can help. Get in touch today.

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