How To Optimize URLs

How To Optimize URLs

In this article, we are going to go over how to optimize URLs.

How To Optimize URLs

The Quick Version

When creating or updating URLs, following these tactics:

1 – Use your keyword in your URL

2 – Consider your site structure in URLs (sub-pages)

3 – Shorter is better

4 – Be consistent

5 – Use 301 redirects if you are updating a URL

6 – Use hyphens when using multiple words in a URL

7 – User lowercase letters

The Complete Version

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and it is simply your web address.

Here are two examples:

  • http://www.5minseo.com/
  • https://5minseo.com/analytics/
an example of a URL

How to Optimize URLs for SEO

Your URLs can influence your rankings slightly and, more importantly, they can make your website much easier to use for your users. There are 5 areas I’d like to highlight when it comes to your URLs.

1 – Use your keyword in your URL

Try to use your main keyword in the URL and aim to have it towards the beginning of the URL.

2 – Consider your site structure in URLs

This goes back to our content clusters and site structure from our planning. We want to keep our site organized. This will not only help Google better understand what your pages are about, but it will help users to more easily navigate your website. Here is an example from this site:

Home page – http://www.5minseo.com/

Topic page – https://5minseo.com/analytics/

Sub-Topic Page – https://5minseo.com/analytics/how-to-add-your-website-to-google-search-console/

I use “Analytics” as a topic page and then anything related to Analytics, I can put under that page.  With proper linking and structure, that will help to strengthen the “Analytics” content cluster on my site.

There is one thing I would change about this, it would be to make the URL shorter, which leads  into our next point.

3 – Shorter is better

Aim to keep your URLs short. This looks cleaner and makes it easier for Google to tell what the page is about.

On this site, I should shorten up most of my URLs changing something like this:

  • https://5minseo.com/analytics/how-to-add-your-website-to-google-search-console/

To something like:

  • https://5minseo.com/analytics/google-search-console

4 – Be consistent

This goes hand-in-hand with your site structure. You want your URLs and structure to be consistent across the board.

5 – Use 301 redirects if you are updating a URL

This is getting a little more technical, but if you want to change or update a URL, you will want to set up a 301 Redirect so that you don’t have any broken links or lose any search “power” that you currently have.

If you are using Rank Math for your SEO plugin in WordPress, they have a Redirections option built-in. There are other plugins specifically for redirects that you can use, just search for 301 redirects when adding a new plugin. If you are a Squarespace user, check out this article to learn how to set up 301 redirects.

6 – Use hyphens when using multiple words in a URL

If you are using multiple words in your URL like https://5minseo.com/on-page-seo/image-seo-how-to-optimize-images/ (again, this URL is longer than it should be) use hyphens to separate those words.

7 – User lowercase letters

It is considered best practice to use lowercase letters in your URLs.

Additional Resources

Google put out a guide that includes a section on URLs

Backlinko is one of the best SEO blogs out there. Not only do they have great info on SEO friendly URLs, but pay attention to how the site is structured.

Moz has a good guide on URLs

Action Steps

If you already have a number of pages built out, look to see if you can improve your URL structure. Just make sure to set up 301 redirects if you make changes.

If you do not have many pages built out, use these tips to organize and plan out your URLs and site structure.

As always, feel free to post questions over on the Facebook group. (Hint, if you are having trouble with coming up with core services or what to call them, head over to the group, we can help 🙂 )

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