If you want your web pages to rank high in search engines then out of many other white-hat SEO techniques, URL optimization is one good technique.
Here is the general formula for better ranking of any web page:
1) Keywords in content. Obviously need good content
2) Domain name relevant to your topic or keywords
3) Keywords in page URL structure
4) Incoming links to the page with relevant anchor text.
If you take care of these key SEO techniques then you have good chances for getting top rank in search engine result pages. Good combination of all these points will surely show you the results.
Out of these techniques I will focus mainly on “URL structure for SEO”.
Why to optimize URLs ?
Human readable URL structure can increase your clickthrough rate: People click more on readable URLs. Readable URLs can give idea about the actual content on the page.
Second reason for URL optimization is obliviously the search engine juice. High ranking – high traffic – more blog exposer – and definitely more money. Really a long way to money ;-)
Here we go with top 10 tips for SEO of URLs:
1) Go with static URL. Avoid dynamic URL structure. What I mean by dynamic urls?
Here is the example of dynamic url:
In short any url having session ids can be said to be dynamic. Dynamic url content gets indexed very slowly.
If you are using dynamic url structure since many months or years on your blog then do not change the url structure, instead redirect all your dynamic urls to static urls. You can use this url rewriting tool for redirecting all dynamic urls to search engine friendly static urls.
So the above mentioned dynamic url
will be converted to static url form like:
Fix your url structure along with ‘blog setup planning’. Generally for database driven web sites, dynamic url structure is the easy solution to web developers and hence they go with that without thinking much about the SEO for url structure. Use mod-rewrite rules to convert your dynamic urls to static one.
2) To separate multiple keywords in blog url use hyphens (dashes).
3) Limit the number of words in your url. Search engines limit the page crawling if the page url contains to many parameters. Generally keywords not beyond 10 in url is a good idea. Search engines always prefer short and descriptive urls.
4) Keep your urls structure stable. This means you should take care of optimal url structure when you set up your site or blog. And stick to this url structure forever. This is not Adsense optimization after all ;-) So don’t experiment too much and too frequently on url structure.
5) Do not use numbers in the urls. Possibly use all words (keywords) in urls instead of numbers.
6) Use only one version to access the home page. I.e. either home page with WWW or without WWW. Search engines treat following urls differently:
So use only one version of the home page url and stick to it. This applies to incoming links as well. Incoming links to both the domain names mentioned above will be considered different and you will lose some incoming search engine link juice.
Use 301 permanent redirect to redirect home page url to preferred domain. Or use Google Webmaster tool to set preferences for www or non-www url version.
For WordPress blogs you can set the preferred version of home page url. Use ‘Manage’ option on WordPress dashboard. I.e. your WordPress address (url) and blog address (url) should be same.
Check if your preferred url version is set or not by accessing the home page url in different format. E.g. if you set your home page url preferred version like www.example.com then try example.com in browser address bar and see if it redirects to www.example.com.
7) Keep the number of folders in url to small number. See example below:
This url is using 6 folders and this is really a bad example of url structure. Keep your content 2 to 3 folders deep in url and separate the keywords with hyphens.
8) For WordPress blogs use ‘post slug’ option to specify search engine friendly, keyword rich urls.
See example of this post. I have used the post title as ” Top 10 Tips to optimize your blog URL structure for search engines”. But look at the browser address bar of this page, url looking like /seo-for-url-structure/ This is the short and sweet keyword reach url.
So while composing the post I have pasted title “seo for url structure” in post slug option.
9) Do not use uppercase or case sensitive words in url. Keep complete url structure in lowercase.
10) For WordPress blogs customize the permalink structure. After log in to your WordPress dashboard go to: Options->Permalink Using this option create custom url structure for your blog. Customize url structure like:
The second option will create the url structure like:
See more guide on custom urls structure for WordPress blogs on this WordPress page.
So be careful while setting up new domain or blog url structure. Don’t underestimate url structure. If you are doing so then you are missing big opportunity to rank high in search engines.
If you have any other URL optimization tip please share with us.