Page URL is important part of the website. Google show page url in their snippet and desktop users can also see the url in the browser. And they may decide what page is about for? So user friendly url always help to users and may be help in ranking. Let’s see in details.
- Using static page url, not having query string, special characters, emoji, symbols etc. in the url.
- Must use a keyword in the url, not stuffing too many keywords, one is sufficient.
- Using page URL length maximum 76 characters (Google shows only 512 pixels for url in their snippet), BTW Google accepts 1000 characters in the url.
- Page urls are Structured/categorized in a proper hierarchy.
- Page URLs are in small letters (Technically capital and small letter urls are not the same for Google)
- URL don’t have flexibility (when we type anything between url they still show the same page due to CMS issue)
- All urls have 200 Ok status code.
- Not having stop words such as a, an, the, am, is, are, for, to, in, of etc. in urls. Google may ignore them.
- Not Having keyword/word repetition in the url
- If content is super different from the main site, using sub-domain otherwise sub-directory is better.
- Keeping urls in English for English pages and non-English urls for non-English pages.
- Using Hyphen in the url to separate words, not using other symbols. (underscore, plus)
- Not having “#” URLs, Jump links should not add a hashtag to the URL. Google may crawl if page load different content via #tag (mostly JS based, rarely gets used for indexing).
- Not having high page depth to find pages. Users are able to see important pages in maximum 4 clicks.
- Using https for all pages. (also checked SSL expiry)
- Page URLs not having double slash // (it is responsible for duplicate page)
Page URL Should be Relevant to the content
Do not add any words in the url which are not helpful for users or misguide to users.
Words in the url should be highly relevant to your content.
Generally, we put here similar words as using in the page heading.
Keyword in Page URL
Inserting keyword in the url can minor help in SEO ranking.
We should add only one keyword in the page url, putting multiple keywords in the url looks over optimize so avoid too many keywords in the url.
Dynamic Vs. Static Page URL
Make your url static and avoid query string url formation.
www.domain.com/buy-cloths (Static URL)
www.domain.com/?p=2345 (Dynamic URL)
If you are using WordPress website, choose custom url option.
Page URL Length – Short URL Vs Long URL
Google can read maximum 2048 characters in the url but best practice is less than 100 characters in the url. Because Google think you are trying to stuff many keywords in the page url and manipulating the search results. Google loves short urls as compared to long url.
In case of Blog and article, page heading goes into the url and url length may become lengthy, in that case it is ok.
Google shows only 512 pixels url length on the SERP and cut rest of url. So complete your url within 512 pixels/ 50-60 characters.
keep your URLs as short as you can, without losing their general meaning.
Structure All Page URLs
Website structure is a ranking factor and make your url structure according to your website structure. Categorize
Don’t much think about url structure, it is very minor for google.
Case Sensitive Page URL – Capital Vs Small Letters
Google treat capital and small letter urls differently you can face duplicate url issue if you have both versions. Make sure your all urls in small letters. If you already have this issue then tell to your developer redirect all capital urls to small letter urls by using 301 and put everywhere in the site and sitemap only small letter urls.
Avoid Flexible Page URL
Many CMS have this issue by default. When we type anything between url they still show same page. It can increase your duplicate page issues.
Make sure when you add something between url they must go to the 404 page or redirect to the original page.
Both are working (200 ok status) but showing same result.
Stop Words in Page URL
Google ignores stop words such as a, an, the, am, is, are, for, to, in, of etc. You can remove these words from your urls. As we know Google shows limited characters on the SERP, this technique will help you here.
www.domain.com/buy-car-in-new-york (including stop words)
www.domain.com/buy-car-new-york (excluding stop word)
Keyword Repetition in Web Page URL
Google hates repetition words/keywords in the url. It is a spamming technique. You may get penalty on it. So use words one time only even in sub-folders.
Sub-directory (Sub-folder) Vs. Sub-Domain
Sub-domain or sub-folder which one is better for ranking. It depends on what makes sense for your own site and your own users. It means google gives ranking benefits in some cases for sub-folders and in some cases for sub-domain. Most of the cases sub-directory wins.
Sub-directory is more familiar for users and it is easy in setup and low cost in maintenance that’s why experts always recommend sub-directory.
Generally, we use sub-domain for separate/different product or service from the main website.
If your content is super different from main site, go sub-domain.
If you have a small site, you don’t need to put content on sub-domain.
Now days – both have equally weightage in ranking, don’t much worry about it. Here are few latest statements by Google.
What Google said in May 2018
According to Diversity Google Update (5 June 2019)
So if you have already running your pages on sub-domain or sub-folder, don’t need to be changed. It is ok. Google doesn’t give much benefit in ranking.
If you are making a fresh urls then use sub-folder to reduce costing and future maintenance time.
If your content is super different than go for sub-domain.
Special Characters in Page URL
Avoid emojis, special characters and symbols in the url. This is not a good SEO practice. Search engines may face crawling issues and may be confuse to judge url structure and other keyword ranking signals.
Use Hyphen between every word. Google take it as a separator. Do not use underscore in the URL. Google don’t recommend this.
Google ignores hash (#) in the url.
Use English url for English website.
User cannot see url in the mobile and rarely see in the desktop. So according to Google keyword in the url is the very minor ranking factor or may be not a ranking factor now days.
Google said don’t worry about keywords in the url and url structure. Keywords in the URLs are overrated in the Google SEO.
So don’t waste much time, efforts and money on it. see Google’s few statements on this topic.
Make your website url static, relevant and easy for users to understand. Don’t invest much money and time if you have already created page urls.