The first thing to know about SEO-level URLs is that all content on the web must have a single URL (Uniform Resource Locator), in order to avoid duplicate content problems in search engines. So far so good, but, before you start optimizing URLs, do you really know what they are and how they work?
Making a summary version of Wikipedia: a URL is the text version to replace IP addresses, so that it is readable, both for people and for computers, in order to communicate with servers.
In 1995, Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, implemented the standard that would later be called URL; today it is estimated that there are over 100 billion web pages that use the URL standard.
A URL is made up of 4 parts, these govern the rest of a website's URLs:
When it comes to optimizing a URL, you need to take into account the priority of the different elements of the URL. These below are the four elements that carry the most weight when it comes to URL SEO:
Now that you know what the parts that make up a URL are and what each one represents within the whole, we will see 9 guidelines to follow to optimize the SEO of a URL.
It is important to add the keyword in the URL whenever possible for various reasons and made sure that it makes sense. Don't confuse this with adding the keyword to your website's domain, which has long since ceased to be a ranking factor.
The first reason is that many times the URLs are copied and pasted in social networks or blogs and no specific anchor text is added , leaving the URL as anchor text, therefore, it is important to add a well optimized URL.
The second reason is that it helps users find your URL in social networks, in an email or through any other means; it serves to make people understand what will be found on the page.
The third reason is that search results are highlighted in keywords and URLs are a very important part of what Google shows. For example, if we search for "what is SEO" we see this:
Whenever you want to separate words in a URL, you need to use hyphens (-) and try to avoid types of separators like underscore and + symbol:
Parameters in a URL should be avoided as much as possible , since it is very difficult, in an e-commerce, to distinguish between versions of the same product and those that are used to order a series of products without using parameters.
There are many types of parameters: product filters (color, size, score), sorting (lowest price, by relevance, highest price, in the grid…), pages (in the case of a blog) and user sessions. The problem, in addition to the loss of positioning as the length of the same increases, is that many of these parameters do not modify the content of the page, this means that there are many URLs for the same content.
In this example we can see three parameters: color, low price and high price.
There is generally no limit to the length of a URL, but it is recommended that it be short for two reasons:
Although there are stop words (linking words like “in, for, of”) in the title or header of your website, you don't need to put them in the URL. If you can remove these types of words without making the URL nonsense, do so.
Any characters other than the English alphabet are not welcome in a URL, such as accents or question marks. It is best to use only letters and numbers that are found in the English alphabet.
Likewise, you should avoid entering spaces, as the browser rewrites them as "% 20".
A search engine has limited time when crawling a website, so if the URLs have many levels, it will have to navigate a lot until it reaches the deeper content.