Importance of URL structure in SEO

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Posted on March 24, 2020

URL structure

URLs are the building blocks of an effective site hierarchy. They pass equity through the site and direct users to find what they’re looking for. They also help users and search engines understand what your page is about just by looking at the URL.

Here are a few rules you can follow to obtain an SEO-friendly URL structure and set up your site for future success.

1. Use Keywords

Avoid keyword repetition within URLs. This will only lead to a spammy URL structure.

2. Build a Future Proof and Sound URL Structure

If you do not plan your site URL structure beforehand, you could end up with endless redirect loops

3. Avoid Unnecessary Characters and Superfluous Words 

You don’t need to include every single preposition or conjunction, like ‘and’ or ‘the’, within your URL.

4. Use Word Delimiters Correctly

Keep in mind that hyphens are used to separate words while underscores are used to join two words together within your URL strings.

5. URL Length

Google will truncate your URL in search results if it exceeds 512 pixels. Keep your URLs as short as you can, without losing their general meaning.

6. Minimise Dynamic URL Strings

Some Content Management Systems or e-commerce platforms will automatically spit out character strings like:

These dynamic URLs make no sense to the user or crawlers since they won’t be able to figure out what the page is about just by looking at the URL. Hence, it’s better to use static URLs that contain keywords and are more user-friendly over dynamic ones. 

7. Make Proper Use of Canonical Tags and Redirects

When you have multiple versions of the same page, use a canonical tag to tell Google which is your preferred version.

For redirection of site pages, use redirects. And, for paginated content, use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags.

8. Incorporate Topical Authority

Google’s Search Quality Evaluators Guidelines (a must-read document for all SEOs!), clearly defines two primary types of content, main content also known as pillar content and supplementary content.

Pillar content in each section sets out what your category is all about, while supplementary content provides additional information that helps users navigate through the topic and reach informed decisions.

The site’s URL structure is an essential component of getting this right.

9. Create an XML Sitemap

Once you’ve successfully implemented all of the above, create an XML sitemap containing all the URLs that you want to rank for and submit it to search engines.

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