Badly optimized URL is a common problem detected in many websites. If your site pages' URLs are not SEO optimized, they won't be able to rank properly in the search engine. The following are a 10 tips on how to make good SEO friendly URL structure practices.
1. Make Your URL Meaningful by Including the Article Title in the Slugs
A SEO friendly URL uses the article title as the slugs, for example xyz.com/article-title, not a URL that is filled with generated numbers for example xyz.com/?p=675878. Search engines have no problem indexing both types of URLs but you must keep in mind that URL that use the titles of the articles will be more user friendly. The downside of using dynamic URL is that no one know what blog post the URL is pointing to since it uses numeric parameters to identify the page. URL that use word instead of numbers are more likely to be clicked as people can read and understand it. You should try to keep the URL short. The longer the URL, the lower the effectiveness of the anchor keywords you included.
2. Optimizing the URLs with Anchor Keywords
The inclusion of anchor keywords in the URL can help the search engine to understand the structure of the page. If your site is a Wordpress blog, you can change the structure of the URL by configuring the permalink setting in Permalink under Settings on the left navigation bar. The slug of the URL can also be edited on the Add New Post page in Wordpress.
3. Use Hyphens to Separate Words in the URL
You can add hyphens in between each word as this allows the search engine to treat words separated by hyphens as a single word. Some search engines see underscores as connectors so it is best not use underscores to separate words.
4. Eliminate Hashtag from Your Site's URLs
If there are # in the URLs on your site, make sure you get rid of it as it is not recognized by the search engines. Search engines ignore the # symbol and everything after it. After you have removed the #, make sure the page is appeared crawled and indexed in the search engine result as you want.
5. Make Sure the URLs are in Lower Case Letters
There should be no capital letter in the URLs of the page sof your site as URLs are case sensitive. Including capital letters in the URLs can cause confusion to the search engine. Mixed case URLs can be treated as URLs to duplicate articles on the site. To prevent search engine from dealing with it, it is recommended that you rewrite the URL to lower case.
6. Setting the Preferred Domain
You should set your preferred domain to either www or non www version. To set the preferred domain, you should go to Google Webmaster Tools > Configuration > Settings > Preferred Domain. This option is only for configuring root domains. Setting the preferred domain is beneficial especially when you have some backlinks pointing to the www version as well as the non www version. You can also establish a link between the www version and non www version by using 301 redirect.
7. Use Keywords in Subfolders Name
The destination page must not be buried under too many subfolders. It is best to keep the page at 1 – 2 levels deep. Your subfolders should named with the targeted keyword instead of non meaningful names such as numbers. This will improve the navigation on your site as your visitors will know what topic the article you post on the blog belong it and be able to find it the next time they want to read it again.
8. SEO and Domain Extension
The domain extension does not have anything to do with the SEO friendliness of the URL. It doesn't mean that you have to use a .com extension in order for the search engine to rank you on top of the search engine. Rather, this depends on the backlink and content of the site. However, country specific domains such as .us, and .it may make the URL more SEO friendly for local search result. As you know, country specific domains don't rank well in other countries.
9. Subdomains and Subfolders
Some webmasters question whether to use subdomains or subfolders for different article topics. Subdomains are seen as a different site from the main site so you have to do the SEO work for it all over again. You can create subdomains for different niches. For example, if you have a news site, you can create subdomains on different topics such as sports and movies. You can also create a subdomain for the map you integrate on your site.
10. Create XML Sitemap
You should create a XML sitemap for your site as XML sitemap can help the search engine to locate your pages. XML sitemap are used as references when the search engines are picking canonical URLs, also known as preferred URLs, when they see that your site has duplicated pages. Search engines uses an algorithm to detect duplicate pages and pick the best URL to represent it in the search result. You can determine the mobile friendly pages on your site and get them included in the sitemaps so that they will rank in mobile search results.