A Beginner’s Guide To URL Optimization
New to Online Publishing? URL optimization plays an important role in viewer click-through and even search rankings – understand how to use them.
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A URL is a unique fingerprint holding a unique online web page location. For the average person, it’s not highly noticed, but it provides more information to SEO experts and search engines than just the web page’s location.
It gives informative signals allowing search engines to know the page’s content, purpose, and target market. URLs are typically better the shorter they are so there’s not a lot of room to accommodate each of those signals. There are weak, strong, and even missing signals – this is where URL optimization comes into play.
Now, let’s look at the ways how you can optimize your URLs with these simple tips:
1. Make it Easy to Read
If you can’t read every word in your URL, neither will search engines. This can be a big issue since search engines know users are reading URLs before clicking them, allowing them to know the page’s content.
Search engines couldn’t decipher crazy, dynamically generated URLs, nor do they even want to. They’ll just read a couple of words in the URLs as they do with your page content. Doing so allows them to understand your content better and connect you with your target market.
2. Keep it Short and Descriptive
If you have a blog, then it’s likely that you’re using a CMS like WordPress. This platform doesn’t automatically add your post’s headline to the URL’s posts. It’s a helpful default feature. However, it also makes your URL too long, making it truncated in SERPs.
Usually, a good length for your URLs is between one and four words. You’ll also get around 70 characters (that includes your domain) before Google can truncate them.
Moreover, most URLs appear on SERPs and social media sites like Twitter. Thus, it would help to make it short by using a tool such as a URL shortener and enticing to gain more clicks.
3. Use Hyphens
Instead of using underscores, you should separate words using dashes and hyphens in your URLs. Google is very clear about this. Moreover, their algorithm is built to read hyphens and not underscores.
Thus, if you want to rank on one of the world’s biggest search engines, you need to play by their rules.
4. Use Lowercase Letters
In the same way, every domain, folder, and page in your URL should also use lowercase letters. That’s because the internet address is usually case-sensitive for particular words that show up after a domain name.
Thus, the words that show after the domain name should depict the specific web page within a site for a blog; for example, they should be in lowercase. It’s going to be www.mydomain.com/blog, not www.mydomain.com/Blog. That’s because there’s a tendency that search engines won’t recognize the address and can put up a 404 error message instead.
5. Use Canonical Tags
Some pages have duplicate content if they’re dynamic pages with filters. To avoid this, you need to use canonical URLs. These can be utilized if you want a URL preferred, even if others direct to the same content.
Therefore, you need to place a rel=” canonical” link element on the head of any pages with the same content.
It’s also handy to set up your URL-preferred domain as well. Search engines will perceive https, www, non-www, etc., as various sites, then categorize this content as duplicate.
One way to avoid duplicate content is by setting up dynamic parameters telling search engines when they should be ignoring these parameters. This is the case with the session ID and pagination.
6. Avoid Dynamic URLs
Dynamic URLs usually generate parameters automatically once the page is loaded. The contrast between static URLs is that the latter is more consistent every time it’s accessed.
In the same way, dynamic URLs can cause crawling issues, leading to poor performance.
7. For Broken Links, Use 301 Redirect
If you need to change your page URLs for any reason, you need to inform search engines of its new location.
Search engines have indexed that page. If you don’t want to lose link juice from a well-ranked page, you must integrate a 301 redirect on the old URL place. This is to notify Google bots of your new URL destination.
8. Add a Favicon
A favicon is a tiny icon next to your URL in a browser. Adding it comes with a lot of benefits. Search engines such as Google and Bing have included favicons on search engine results. They also stand out better in browser bookmarks, enhancing brand recognition in trust.
Although there may not be any direct effect on SEO of the impacts of having a favicon on your site, there’s a correlation. Thus, it’s always better that you have one.
This icon next to your URL allows you to recognize your site brand better. It’s also easier to bookmark your site in bookmarks, allowing you to enhance your brand visibility.
9. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing in your content, titles, and URLs is one of the most outdated strategies affecting your SEO and site experience.
So, rather than cramming keywords together, make sure that you pick a single keyword for the URL, allowing the content on the page to drive the rest of the conversation. You also need to have the right SEO mindset.
Over to You
So there you have it. While it doesn’t pay to spend a lot of time making SEO-friendly URLs, it makes sense to take a logical approach to how you can see them, following the best practices.
By implementing the URL Optimization tips above, your pages are one step away from boosting your visibility on search engines like Google.