Our goal is to bring your ideal client to your website when they are looking for you. It is therefore vital to create the perfect URL. Without it, people and search engines are unlikely to find you online.
What is a URL
A URL or Uniform Resource Locator is a web address. It is where your business lives and your content can be found. The URL specifies the location of things like webpages on the internet with human-readable text rather than numeric IP addresses that computers use to communicate with servers.
It is made up of the protocol (how the information is being transferred between networks), your domain name (the name of your website) as well as the folder location of your website files. A properly formatted URL helps to establish the structure of the website.
Why do URLs matter for SEO?
Properly formatted URLs improve the user experience. They help search engines and humans easily understand what a page will be all about. This can improve your click through rates wherever your links are shared. It is also why it is important to craft the perfect URL for your content.
If you were selling winter vacation getaways, for example, your URL for that section of your website should read:
Without going to the page, both search engines and humans can see that this will be a page dedicated to winter getaways. This is the reason that you don’t want to have pages with URL addresses like:
A URL that just contains symbols or numbers does not give the potential reader the ability to understand what they are going to see if they click on the link. If your link gets shared in an email or in a social post that doesn’t pull your title, you want people to know that it is a URL worth clicking on.
Should you use your keyword when creating a URL?
Yes, adding your main keyword in your URL will help your website’s SEO by improving your site’s search visibility.
If you were selling “vacation packages” and that was the keyword for your page, but your URL was titled mygreatsite.com/holiday-bundles you would be losing traffic. To optimize your webpage, you should ensure that the page that highlights your amazing vacations packages has the keywords you are trying to rank for in the URL.
You may be thinking, but holiday bundles and vacation packages are the same thing. It really won’t matter. If you want to rank at the top of a search engine results page, it does matter. You need to have consistency with your keywords throughout the page. This means that when you create your perfect URL, your keyword and the web address that you use should also match.
In the page copy, you are free to use the words “holiday bundles” to replace “vacation packages”. Using synonyms will make for a better user experience and avoid keyword stuffing. Your main, or focus, keyword must be in your URL.
How long can a URL be?
A URL must be under 2083 characters according to Moz.com. The reality is that shorter is better, however. If you have a URL that is over 100 characters long, you may want to re-examine it to see if it can be shortened somehow. That simple act may help to increase your rankings on a search engine results page.
What are the URL best practices?
- Your URL should match your title. This gives people a better idea of what they can expect from your page. While the URL doesn’t have to match your title, it should be close.
- Both your URL and title should include your keyword. This is the word(s) that your page is about.
- If you are using multiple words in your URL, make sure to separate them with hyphens (-) rather than an underscore ( _ ).
- Use lowercase letters as using uppercase letter can lead to 404 errors on some servers.
- Make sure to keep your URL between 50-60 characters and under 100 characters.
- Remove common stops words like “a, the, and, or, but, an, of,” etc. unless it is vital to improving the human user experience.
- If you change the name of a page or remove it completely from your website, ensure that you have created a 301 redirect from the old page to a new one. If you don’t and someone lands on the old page, they will be shown the dreaded 404 error page. An error page is bad for your overall users’ experience.
- Each URL should be unique to your website and uniquely worded. Avoid using generic terms or words that may be used by other websites.