Mastering URL Structure for SEO

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Just as search engines like Google tweak their ranking algorithms, you must similarly stay ahead in your strategies. The name of the game is adaptability, especially when it comes to the URL structures that are central to your SEO efforts.

Keywords in URL

The question of whether keywords in URLs matter for SEO has been a topic of debate. John Mueller from Google opined back in 2016 that keywords in URLs were only a ‘very small’ ranking factor. By 2018, his stance remained largely unchanged. However, as of 2023, Mueller notes that keywords are indeed a ‘small ranking factor’. The takeaway? Keywords in URLs may not dramatically elevate your ranking, but considering Mueller’s latest views, incorporating them is certainly prudent.

Long URLs

The ideal length of a URL in SEO terms has been under scrutiny, but the consensus among experts is that the length is largely inconsequential for SEO. What does matter is the user experience. Unnecessarily long and complicated URLs may befuddle users, so experts suggest limiting URL characters to around 50-60 for clarity and readability.

Shortened URLs

While length might not be a significant SEO factor, clean and concise URLs are favoured. Short URLs are not only user-friendly but also easier to type and navigate. Moreover, it’s believed that shorter URLs fare better in ranking than their long-winded counterparts, which makes a strong case for simplifying any convoluted URLs you might have.

Changing Your URL: Safeguarding Your SEO

Wondering how to alter your URL without damaging your SEO? A smooth transition is achievable by adhering to a few guidelines:

  • Maintain the same domain owner.
  • Notify Google of the change.
  • Develop an accessible sitemap for search engines.
  • Establish 301 redirects to your new pages.
  • Update your backlinks.

By diligently following these steps, you should avert any negative SEO impact from changing your URL.

Crafting SEO-Friendly URLs: Best Practices

To optimise your URL structure for SEO, consider these pointers:

  • Clearly represent the content of the page in the URL.
  • Incorporate keywords where possible.
  • Use hyphens for readability.
  • Stick to lowercase letters.
  • Follow the principle of ‘the shorter, the better’.
  • Avoid URL parameters; opt for static URLs.
  • Limit the number of folders in your URL to a maximum of two.
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