In this video, we are going to discuss the structure of your URLs and the importance of optimizing this when it comes to SEO. The structure of your URL can be a really important ranking factor, and it’s something you need to take care of. There are a lot of things, within your control, that you can do to make sure you get the best results for ranking your website. I’m going to discuss this, and more, coming up.
Hey, guys. Darren Taylor of thebigmarketer.co.uk, here, and my job is to teach you all about search engine marketing. If that’s up your street, you should consider subscribing to my channel.
In this video, we are looking at the structure of URLs and what they mean when it comes to SEO. First off, what is a URL, and what is the structure of a URL, and why is it important for SEO? A URL is your universal resource locator, your website address, and all the other pages off the back of that as well. If your website was example.com, if you had a page about milk, it’ll be example.com/milk. This is your web URL. You’ll have a URL for every page on your website, and also at the very high level of your homepage of your website, too.
How does this relate to SEO? Let’s break down a few factors and ways to optimize your URL, and what the right structure is for SEO. The first thing you can do to optimize your URL structure is to include your target keywords in your URL. If you’re trying to rank for selling men’s black shoes, then having a page with that URL for that particular elements or products you sell, is really going to help optimize that page. You’d have, for example, example.com/mens-black-shoes. This will really help rank your website, and more importantly, it gives the user a good indication that they’re going to the right place, if they were to see that website URL.
This is one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to SEO. If Google can’t see the subject matter within your URL, and another competitor has the subject matter in their URL, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. Now, of course, it’s not the only factor, but you should be doing everything within your power you can, to optimize your keywords and your website. This is an important factor.
Another important thing, and this depends on how your website works, is to avoid using dynamic parameters. Now, what do I mean by dynamic parameters? A dynamic parameter is something you see in a URL when there’s an instruction on your website to dynamically serve content via the URL.
What often happens is, you might see a URL with a question mark, or an equal sign, and then numbers, or things like that, which directs the website browser to go to that particular element. This is something that you should avoid at all costs, because dynamic parameters cause an issue when optimizing your keywords.
Dynamic parameters, within themselves, aren’t the biggest issue you’re going to worry about, and where you can resolve it, you should resolve the issue. The only negative, in reality, from having dynamic parameters within your URL is that your URL will typically be longer, and the shorter your URL the better. In fact, I made a video about this recently, and you can find that in the description below. The shorter your URL, the more useful it is to humans, and also the more information you can convey to Google as well. This becomes quite important.
The next thing to consider is that you should also avoid using what are known as stop words. A stop word is a word within a URL that breaks up your keywords. A lot of the time, you have a keyword and it doesn’t include a stop word. If I were to type in something like, Dentists in London, “in” would be the stop word, “Dentists London” would be the keyword.
In your URL, you should go with dentists-london as opposed to dentists-in-london. That’s the way a stop word works. You should get rid of stop words, focus on the keywords within your URL, because the stop word is going to add extra information, and it will give your relevancy a bit of a downturn as well. Make sure you avoid using stop words where you can.
The next thing you should try to do is limit the number of folders and the hierarchy of your website. Limit that down as low as you can where necessary. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that, every single time you have a forward slash in a URL, you’re going down a level in your website’s hierarchy. You might have example.com/mens-shoes/black-shoes/brogues.
These are all levels going down in your website. The more of you have, the less important your URL becomes, the longer it becomes, the less interpretable by humans it is as well as search engines. This will really help you cut down on your length if you limit the number of hierarchies within your website, or change the structure of your URLs to make sure that you keep them shorts but also provide the user with enough information.
Maybe you don’t need that many hierarchies, you can bring things up in the level of the hierarchy, and reduce the number of times you go into subfolders, because the more subfolders and the further down the hierarchy you get, the less importance Google gives the page.
If you have one page, as a competitor, that you’re going up against on the search results, who has only one hierarchy down in their website, for example, mensshoes.com/black-brogues, and you have menshoes2.com/shoes/black/brogues-black-brogues, the competitor website has a better chance than you at ranking based on the URL. These factors become quite important. Give your website and your URLs a bit more importance by not pushing key pages far down in your hierarchy and going deep into subfolders.
You also need to look at your case sensitivity. When I say case sensitivity, it means that all of your URLs should, generally speaking, go all to lowercase. Every now and again, there are URLs where there’s some uppercase words and lowercase words within the page.
Now, in some areas, this can cause issues, because if somebody goes into their browser and types your URL in but doesn’t have the right casing of their word, so they might go with a lowercase when your URL has an upper case, and it’s designated as an uppercase, they may be faced with an error page because the website can’t be found because they haven’t done the right casing on their letters. This becomes a problem.
If you do find that you have pages with lowercase and uppercase and it does go to a 404 error when you put in the wrong case sensitivity, you need to resolve this. Generally speaking, go with the lower case where you can, because that’s the default way people put URLs into browsers, and it’s a good way to make your URL structure clear and consistent as well.
Another thing to note is, when separating the keywords or the words within your URL, the best way to do this is with a hyphen. Now, a lot of people sometimes run words into each other, they might use a different number of characters to separate their words, but typically speaking, a hyphen is the best way to do this. It’s why most CMSs and content management systems actually use this as the default, when you start typing in your title, and you hit Save on the page when it produces the URL, typically, all the words will be separated with a hyphen. This is best practice.
It makes it easily-readable for the user, and it also allows you to separate your keywords out, as opposed to running them into each other within your URL. Make sure you do this, too.
Finally, my final point is to do the thing you should always do when it comes to SEO, and that is to avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t jam loads of keywords into your URLs, make sure they’re consistent. Of course, mention your keyword in your URL, but don’t mention it multiple times, don’t stuff loads and loads of keywords into your URL. This is spammy and it will hurt your website, not just from a Google point of view, but also from a user point of view as well. Again, keep your URLs short, keep them to the point, and keep them focused as well. This is really important.
Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, please leave a like below. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got the big job of fixing all of your URLs, I’ll be more than happy to discuss that with you in the comments. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content on my channel, and I’ll see you guys on my next video