I did a mistake a few months back. I purposely changed the URL structure of my website. Unaware of what adverse effect it can have on the SEO. My rankings immediately went down. Also, the organic traffic dropped phenomenally. There is a golden rule when it comes to changing URLs. The rule says do not change the URL ever and if you do, make sure there are proper redirects. I would recommend never changing the URL or better called as permalink in SEO. The permalink structures should never be changed and they should be created with utmost caution. In this article, I am going to discuss 10 ways of creating an SEO friendly URL for your website. Follow these tips for creating a search engine friendly URL structure for your website. Google-friendly URLs are a boon for your website. So, let’s get them right.
10 tips for URL optimization for better rankings
1. Use keywords in URL’s
Most important thing is to use your keyword in the URLs. Google crawlers and your visitors will know that content niche just by looking at your URL. However, I would also make a point that, do not stuff many keywords in the URLs. Google crawlers are intelligent enough to identify keyword stuffing. They will penalize the site. Also, try to keep the keyword at the beginning of the URL. Google crawlers pay attention to the start of the URL’s first and then the rest of it. Take a look at the example below. My article for cyclists searching for Instagram hashtags is on the first page of search results for different similar keywords.
Of course, there are other things that got me to the top. However, the URL structure also helps. Keep it short, organized and with an induced keyword.
2. Use hyphens and not underscores
In the last part of the Google-friendly URL mentioned above, I have used hyphens as separators between the words in the URL. Always do this, do not use any other symbol or rather underscores. ( _ ) Some webmasters were using this, however, it does not work now. Google time and again has stressed on the fact that it does not read underscores, but always take hyphens into account as separators of words in a search engine friendly URL. Permalink structures should always have words separated with hyphens. Please note this.
3. An SEO friendly URL must be easy to read
A visitor who is coming on your page should be able to understand in one go, just by looking at your URL. Make it short but keet it descriptive. The words which constitute the URL should give a clear message about the content of the page. Search engines can’t unscramble crazy, dynamically generated URLs, nor do they even try.
4. Add redirects if URL changes
I would advise never to do this. Never change a URL, however, if you are compelled to do so because of any reason, add a redirect. When you change a URL, it means that you are removing an indexed page from Google’s reach. Your ranking will also go down if Googles find no content on the link. So always add redirects. This notifies search engines that the URL is directed to an address where content exists.
5. Upload a favicon
To be honest there is no SEO relevance of favicon. However, I find it that this should be a must feature. If a browser displays your favicon it represents brand trust and helps in identifying websites. It is always better to have one rather than not having one. It looks good too.
6. Add Mobile SEO friendly URL to a sitemap
Most of the platforms where you can design and develop a website offer responsive themes and layouts. However, it is always better to add mobile-friendly URLs in the sitemap. Here is the tool for checking the mobile responsiveness from Google. Google-friendly URLs for mobiles are a must if you want to rank your pages in mobile searches.
7. No capital letters in permalink structures
There should be no capital letters in the URLs. This is bad and it confuses the search engines and the visitors too. E.g. take a look at the URLs below.
Adding capital letters, in a way, encrypts your URL by making it exponentially harder to remember. So it is always advisable not to use capital letters in the URL.
8. Organize your content if folders & subfolders
Your URL will signify the content niche. You need to be very careful about how you place your content and in which folder. (Category) Google reads the category too and that makes it easier to understand for Google crawlers as to what the content is all about. URL structure can signal the importance of a page on your site. Also, I would suggest that you do not make many folders. Limit them to two at max. For e.g. Domain.com/Category/Subcategory/post
9. Use Canonical SEO friendly URL
This is the most important when it comes to dynamic URLs. Dynamic pages can sometimes accidentally create duplicate content. Unknowingly, you might get penalized by Google. To avoid this use a canonical URL. It happens a lot on shopping websites. For e.g. consider a URL yourdomain.com/macbook-pro-15inch, other URLs on the same site can also access the same content of this page. Google crawlers will get confused as to which is the actual link. To avoid this, add a rel=”canonical” link element in the head of each of those pages with the same content. In the above case, it will be <link rel=”canonical” href=”https:// yourdomain.com/macbook-pro-15inch ” /> This will tell Google that the original URL is yourdomain.com/macbook-pro-15inch .
10. Domain redirect for search engine friendly URL
A lot of people do not do this. However, I do recommend doing this. My website address is shutterholictv.com, also it’s www.shutterholictv.com. You must be wondering, that these two are the same Google-friendly URLs. Yes they are. However, not in the eyes of Google. Google treats these two URLs differently as two different websites. To fix this, set your preferred domain redirect as either shutterholictv.com or www.shutterholictv.com . This will redirect your non-preferred domain to your preferred domain.
If you follow the above mentioned 10 tips to create SEO friendly permalink structures, your pages will rank higher in the searched. If you have a question about any of the above points, or if you wish to discuss in detail, please drop a comment below. I will get back to you.