URLs: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

Close-up image of a URL being typed | Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisdlugosz/3402955869/in/photolist-6bH3dV-devKoJ-8Qdodn-eSyQUT-4wrCEc-pRpQJ3-7HS8Pq-qQuQvP-foKoMH-dEx9r-4kDjVr-6bH4b4-booQGT-aopTNn-8QHv9A-6bMaTY-6bMbxA-jbmBVr-7n9JVi-6yCXzc-mx2YKk-6wSS2a-jBz6En-ingD8i-dVVCLt-c3kMzo-ckkvdu-55hbBR-q7qNqx-811GuG-6tk6C2-ec1LbL-dSFsgc-qM4Vix-f8SjMh-fj9EtK-dZJ8ER-dUYbzq-dZPFvC-eadyjS-booYXe-68hYtj-cmCQQ3-JugaZ-5EwhSf-q9dqph-6NaSVz-6Vq4rk-p5Lotk-5qxojQ/At first glance, URLs don’t seem all that important. We rarely type them out, opting instead to let Google figure them out for us with some quick searching. But therein lies their importance — even the all-powerful Google needs help finding the content you seek. Just as tags and page titles impact search rankings, so too do URLs. In this post we’ll share tips for creating the best URLs you can.

Note: When talking about these URLs we are referring to any page titles that come after a backslash (e.g. www.company.com/blog).

Keep It Simple, Keep It Short

We don’t want to remember long URLs, and neither does Google. The more concise and relevant your URL title, the better. Google is brilliant, but we don’t need to make it more difficult than necessary for its crawling bots.

Differentiate Your Words

In order to prevent a run-on mosh-pit of words in your URL, use hyphens between each word. This helps Google isolate key words, as opposed to determining “www.company.com/canipleasegetahyphen” is simply gibberish. Try www.company.com/can-i-please-get-a-hyphen for better results.

Stick to Lowercase Only

Though this may be resolved in the future, right now you could be penalized if your URL is indexed differently on varying systems. For example, your URL is registered as www.company.com/ILoveURLs but redirects to www.company.com/iloveurls. In some cases, these might be considered different or duplicate pages and could hurt your SEO rankings. You can avoid this pitfall simply by using lowercase letters exclusively.

Your URL & Page Headline Should Overlap

Google wants your URLs to be indicative of the content that visitors will find on the page. For example, if your URL is www.company.com/the-importance-of-urls, Google will look to your headline (h1) to see if it is related. They don’t need to be an exact match, but they should contain the same keywords. A good h1 for this example would be “URLs are Still Important”.

Put Your Keywords First

Sometimes this can be tricky, but you should strive to place the words you wish to rank for at the beginning of the URL. For example, if we want to rank for ‘URLs’, we should title this blog post with something like www.company.com/urls-are-important-to-seo-rankings.

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November 8, 2016