You are finally putting the finishing touches on that perfect next post when you lookup under the title in WordPress and notice that your URL reads, “yourwebsite.com/this-quiz-will-determine-your-hygeine-size-and-favorite-color”
Not exactly ideal, right?
So, What is the best URL structure for SEO?
Even if you are an SEO starter, this is some area you must lay your fingers on soon.
Of course, what we mention above is an extreme example of what we would want to avoid. We want a easily memorable, very clickable, URL structure that both Google and searches on Google will like.
The reason for this is because the more ‘user friendly’ our posts look from the title all the way down to the URL, the more clicks we will get. The more clicks we get the leads and money we get.
This post will break down 7 ideal practices to make sure that your blog posts URL is ready for Google and social media to spread like wildfire.
What is URL Structure?
This is a loaded question from anyone who wants to increase website traffic
The Universal Resource Locator (or the URL) is the format or the protocol you use to display your website to the world. As a practical example, https://enstinemuki.com/check-website-hacked is about as simple of URL structure you can get.
enstinemuki.com would be considered the domain. The portion of the URL that says, “check-website-hacked” is what is commonly referred to as the slug. It is appended to the domain to help identify the webpage as being unique.
The issue that most of us run into is that websites can create their own URLs and most often they make no sense whatsoever. A page that has a title like this: https://twitter.com/enstinemuki/status/1011271973962506240 is hideous and no one will ever remember that outside of Twitter.
So now that we have established some ground rules, let is dive deep into the 7 hacks that we can use to pretty up our URL structure and ultimately drive more traffic to our site.
1. It Must Make Sense
Your URL slug has to make sense from a practical perspective. As an example, if you shiny new blog post has to do with Walk Dogs, you would not want the slug of your page to be /dog-toys.
Reason being is that people will associate the name of your site with what it is about. If it is not related, how to you expect anyone to remember it. It has to be done with the searcher in mind.
The relevance will also help your SEO efforts.
Remember that Google is a large machine that is looking to provide people with the best user experience possible. Google satisfies user experience by providing the best possible results for whatever you and I type in their search engine. For further training on how to build a blog that can make money check out the training that I used right here.
If Google has a clear understanding of what your website is about, you can rest assured that Google will serve up your site to searches and increase traffic organically to your website. That traffic has the potential to lead to sales!
By having a site slug that makes sense, you can help Google along and let them know what your site is truly about.
2. Use Your base/parent keyword
As an extension to what we are talking about in number 1, is to make the keyword your parent keyword.
A parent keyword is the root of what is usually searched for on the internet. For example, if you search , “what is Spiderman’s web thingy” the parent topic for that search string would be Spiderman’s Web.
That is ultimately what you are wanting to rank for to get the highest potential of traffic to your site.
So instead of using your new slug and writing it out like this, yoursite.com/what-is-spidermans-web-thingy, you can just have yoursite.com/spidermans-web.
That looks cleaner, is easier to type out, and most importantly allows you to update the post over time not have to keep updating the slug. No 301 redirects or anything like that. You are, in essence, “future proofing” your website.
3. Be Succinct
These things easily bleed into either other. So it is important to remember the core reason we are having this lesson… to make it more and more accommodating to people searching on Google.
Another facet of this is to keep URLs short as possible.
There has been evidence to suggest that Google just straight up ignores insanely long URLs. Why? Because it is another form of stuffing keywords.
The days of exact match are over… even when it comes to long-tail keywords. You need to be as succinct as possible when it comes to creating the URLs for your site. Do not be overly wordy for no reason.
Again, the point is for people to remember your post URL which makes it easier to pull up later for future reference.
4. Less is More
One of the biggest ranking factors that Google uses to know whether or not a piece of content worth people’s time is the Click-Through Rate or the CTR.
With CTR being a huge topic of discussion, no one will know that your content is awesome if no one is clicking on it. Do something that will stimulate interest and people will WANT to click on your web page.
One way to do this is to keep in mind the simple principle of ‘less being more’ .
Less words is less intimidating to new comers. It can also grab a larger number of clicks because the shorter something is, the more room for mystery.
Why do we need mystery?
Easy, because our goal here is to get as many people as possible to click on our websites. When we leave mystery and intrigue with a cleverly chosen select words, people will click on it just to see what the rest of the story is about.
As long as your content is awesome, people will land and engage, and likely become subscribers or sign up for your newsletter.
less > more
5. Use Only letters and numbers
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but nothing can be taken for granted now-a-days.
Please, for the love of Ray-J, only use letters and numbers in your URLs.
There are plenty of times when you or I accidentally used an ampersand, or equals sign, or question marks.
Do not allow that to be you. Most people are not going to readily know what an ampersand looks like. Sure they can pick one out when they are presented one, but really know that the little squiggly line that represents “and” is called an ampersand can be a stretch.
Remember, you are trying to reach for the masses.
Do not get cute and add every symbol under the sun, including apostrophe’s and quotation marks.
6. get to the point (less slashes)
In silo structured websites, it is easy to fall in the trap of having constant forward slashes making your site harder to remember.
For absolutely HUGE website, I can see having the URL structure like yoursite.com/blog/my-blog-post. But let us not get carried away with yoursite.com/blog/january/1stquarter/2018/my-blog-post.
See my point?
Aside from not being very ‘pretty’ it doesn’t show the point of what we are trying to accomplish anyways… memorability.
Another draw back is that it dates your site.
Check out the URL example we had above. Google can and will read that and immediately assume that the information on that page will only be pertinent in January 2018. Do you really want Google thinking that?
Even if Google is smart enough to still show your helpful content years later, think about the user clicking on the search result. They will see January 2018 and likely immediately think that this content will not help them because it is too old.
Even though the Silo structure for website is a great method to follow, be careful when it comes to allowing too many subfolders and making your URL structure too long and complicated.
7. Use Hyphens
The human eye is a simple tool. It looks and perceives what is in front of it.
No worries, I will re-write that for those who may have struggled with reading that. When you see words that are put together, it is difficult to separate the words and get the full meaning.
When it comes to creating URL structures you must separate them with hyphens or (at worst) underscores.
This is essential for readability purposes. I cannot further state that you must look at this from the perspective of the searcher. Google searchers are a wild bunch. They will easily glaze over anything you have to say if you put it in a format that requires too much thinking.
This is also not to say that Google searchers are not smart, but it is important to realize that people who search for stuff are looking for answers to their questions fast and in a hurry, if you do not provide that, than it is off to something else that will.
So provide that to people and make your URLs readable for anyone at just a glance.
What is the best URL Structure for SEO?: Conclusion
If you put together the tips in this post, your site will look clean, attract more clicks, please the SEO Gods, and boost your organic traffic in record time.
I want to thank Enstine for allowing me to post on his blog. Be sure to check me out over at blog.benjisdad.com or subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I constantly talk about different SEO hacks to help super charge your income and boost your readership.