The importance of URL in SEO
Uniform resource locator (URL) is the unique web address of a particular web resource; with one touch it takes us to its home. To an SEO expert, it is the primary key and much more than simply a web address. The content of a page. Its purpose along with its target market is contain. The search engine with the help of informative signals given by URL. One thing that makes URL unique in terms of search engine optimization. Is that it cannot change in a later course. While many other elements of a page are free to change. For example, one can tune the title. Keywords or content of a page anytime without much impact on the ranking of a page. On the other hand, let us take a look to the URL Best Practices.
Changing the URL of a page, Google and other search engines would treat it as a new page
altogether and it may lose all credibility and ranking it has achieved. On the previous URL over a period of time. Thus when google encounter a change in URL. It will simply consider it as a brand new page. Since the entire ranking and indexing don based on the URL as the primary key.
Following are certain practices for SEO friendly URL
The basic rule of setting a URL. That is to use the URL the same as the title given to the web page.
By avoiding stop words like ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘is’, ‘in’ etc would make the URL more precise for the search engine. Describing the content directly in a URL will help the users. To inaccurate guessing and thereby increases the chance for a better reach. Even if the website configure automatically to form the URL based on its title. It is better to manually edit the URL so as to make it much shorter than the title.
The URL of a web page should be as descriptive and brief as possible. There is a chance that long URLs may trim. A short URL is quicker to type and read. Also, the fewer the words the more value each word receives from a search engine spider. Too many similar words in a URL can view as keyword stuffing. It could result in a drop in search rankings. Even in google search results, Google will trim down some of the words if the URL is too long. There may be scenarios where the title and the URL should differ in terms. That is acceptable provided it is still relevant to the subject of the page.
For a file name in the URL try to avoid file extensions. As it indicates the technology used for developing the website. A few years later, if the website is redeveloped by using a different technology. The file extension may change and that will affect the ranking of the particular page. If technology-neutral URLs (without file extension) is used while creating it. Then it’s safe to change the technology at any time. Also, avoid dynamic URLs with query strings if possible. Dynamic pages can sometimes accidentally create duplicate content.
To avoid being penalized for duplicate content, simply redirect the IP address to the preferred domain (canonicalize the IP). Avoid too many sub-folders. The recommended folder depth is 2. If required, extend up to 3 levels but not more than that. Make sure every folder in the URL represents a valid page. Search engines often consider web pages in the root folder as top-level content and perhaps better content. So careful and strategic approach in structuring URL should be followed as URL structure. It can signal the importance of a page on the particular site.
Use a hyphen (-) as the separator between words instead of underscores (_). Google is very clear about this. Their algorithm was written to read hyphens, not underscores. Thus it will help in readability as well as better indexing by search engines. Some search engines may fail to use special characters in the URLs. Avoid special characters like period, comma, space, dollar sign, etc.
Avoid mixing capital letters and small letters as it confuses both people and search engines to read. There is a possibility that some people will use the lowercase version of the required URL. Even if it has capital letters for some of the letters or words. In such cases, search engines may take both versions as separate URLs. It may try to index or rank them separately. A recommended approach is to have the entire URLs in lower case letters. Also avoid words like “top 10”, “best 5” etc in the URLs. In the future, the “Top 10” list may become “top 11” . Changing the URL as the list grows will be complicated. Avoid year or date in the URLs unless it is really important to have them there.
Follow a proper hierarchical structure for the URL Best Practices. Avoid using full/absolute URLs for internal linking within one site. Always use relative URLs to link to the internal pages. Create an XML sitemap and include the URLs in the sitemap. Having a sitemap is considered a good practice for SEO. Including all of the web pages in the sitemap will help in faster indexing of the pages.
Adding a favicon (tiny icon) to a URL has many benefits. Favicons stand out more in browser bookmarks, helping with brand recognition and trust. There may not be any direct SEO causation from the effects of having a favicon on a site. There is a definite correlation.
Adding too many keywords in the URL will make it more complicated. Try to incorporate one or two of the most important keywords. Avoid variants and repetitions of the keywords as well. Repetition of keywords may help temporarily in better search engine ranking. In the long run, it may negatively affect the SEO. Hence make it short, simple and clean.
Online security is alarmingly becoming a major point of concern. Having an SSL certificate and serving the pages on https is the best thing to ensure security for a website.
Important factors to consider while deciding the URL structure and format of a website are covered above. But it is not necessary that following these practices URL Best Practices. It would help in the top ranking of a page but will definitely help to some extent.