What are the best SEO techniques for structuring URLs?

The structure of domain names and URLs has always been of one of the building blocks of SEO. The URL structure of a website should be as simple as possible. We should organize website content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans and thus to search engines as well. Here are some of the most useful SEO techniques that you can use for structuring URLs:


Use a single domain and subdomain whenever you can

There are numerous examples of people shifting their content from a subdomain to a subfolder and improving their search results. Unlike single domains, you can use subdomains for various parts of your website, including the blog section that receives user generated content on a daily basis. However, subdomains can be considered a different entity from your website.

Therefore, if you have a blog, you can create a vast interlinking structure with the main page and ensure that it doesn’t lose good links. However, be careful while handling category pages of e-commerce sites. Though their URL may be user friendly, Google won’t consider it part of the main domain and so, your site’ s link s will be impacted adversely.


It is wise to add keywords in your URLs

It is a good idea to use targeted keywords in your URLs. Having keywords in URL helps to specify people who come across it in social media or email that they are getting what they are looking for. URLs can be copy-pasted easily, and if there is no anchor text in a link, the URL itself serves as the anchor text. This is considered a major factor in rankings. Keywords in the URL do get shown in search results, and research has confirmed that it is one of the major factors that people consider while selecting which site to click on.


The more readable a URL is, the better will it be

URLs that can be easily read by humans can be accessed easily by search engines. The URL of each page should provide a clear picture about the page’s content. Long, unreadable URLs do not interest visitors who tend to ignore them. Most people may dismiss this point, but the readability factor cannot be ignored, especially these days when search engines can make use of advanced user and usage data signals to find out where people are engaging and where they are not.


Use shorter URLs

Search engines usually prefer shorter URLs. Usability and user experience are two important factors why you should use short URLs. Shorter URLs can be easily copied, pasted, shared on social media and embedded.


Canonicalize multiple URLs that share the same content

In case you have two URLs that have similar content, then canonicalize them by using 301 redirect or a rel=canonical. Duplicate content isn't a search engine penalty unless there is large scale duplicacy. However, it can cause a split in ranking signals, which can have a detrimental effect on your search traffic signal. For instance, if Page 1 has some quantity to get rank and, its duplicate has a similar quantity of ranking ability, then you can canonicalize them. It will give Page 1 a higher chance to get a good rank and attract visits.


Having fewer folders is usually better

It's not the case that slashes will have a bad effect on performance, but it might create a perception of site depth for users as well as engines. Editing the URL strings will also become considerably difficult. Therefore, make it a point to use fewer folders. Having fewer folders will help you to keep URL short. Shorter URLs are easily manageable and are easy to share.


Be careful with case sensitivity

In case you are hosting with Linux or UNIX, you may get into less trouble since they interpret separate cases. So, xyzrum.com/Abc could be a different type of content from xyzrum.com/aBc. Ideally, you would want your URLs with the wrong case to automatically canonicalize to the right one. In case you have a problem with case sensitivity, then you should make use of htaccess rewrite protocols for assistance.


Avoid keyword stuffing and repetition

Repetitions have a bad impact on search rankings. Google and Bing no longer reward a keyword that appears numerous times in a URL string. Therefore, make it a point not to overdo keyword matching or repetition in your URLs. (Point sourced from https://moz.com/blog/15-seo-best-practices-for-structuring-urls )


Conclusion is that we should create URLs which are short, precise, proper, readable and descriptive. Users love these type of URLs so does the search engines because search engines intent is to provide best results to users in response to user search queries.

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