When you create a website you don’t just think of your customers. You also need to think about making it more visible for search engines by optimizing it. It’s an important step towards creating a strong presence for your business online.
So what has this got to do with making the website URLs SEO friendly?
Well, by optimizing them, you’ll be using the right keywords to ensure it passes Google Algorithm. This way, your site achieves better rank in the search engine results page (SERP).
Importance of making your website URLs SEO friendly
Getting your URL structure right for customers and Google is important. Your website URLs are often the first thing that Google sees when a customer searches for a specific keyword.
However, the internet is so vast and as you may know you probably have thousands of competitors vying for the top position in the search engine results page (SERP). If your URLs are not set up for search engines, your site will most likely end up buried somewhere on the tenth page.
There is one-size-fits-all approach as to how you should precisely structure your website URLs but there are some rules you can go by to improve your URLs. Follow these guidelines on how to make your website URLs SEO friendly.
Tip 1: Ensure you have a SSL certificate
Have you ever noticed why some sites start with http:// while others have https://?
It is a very tiny detail that many people do not notice at all but that “s” there plays a very important role. A site with https:// in the beginning means they have SSL certificate, which means your connection to the site is secure.
If your site involves extracting sensitive information from users like an opt-in email that requires users to enter their names, addresses, and contact number, you need to make you have a SSL certificate.
This lets your users know that whatever information they give up to your site will remain private and that is a total relief for them.
Having an SSL certificate is also good for SEO since it is part of Google’s search ranking algorithm. For example, there are two websites with similar content but if your site has SSL certificate and the other doesn’t, you may receive a slight rank boost because your site is encrypted.
Tip 2: Setting up an SEO friendly permalink structure
To set up SEO friendly permalink structure it is important to use the right keyword and decide on an arrangement depending on your website category.
Remember that your permalink structure can affect your SEO score. An example of a structure is using “post name”. Say you’re publishing a blog; naturally you would want your URL to have your blog title in it so it is easier for customers and search engines to read.
On the other hand, if you’re running a news site you should have a post name and a unique three-digit ID at the end of the URL. Always remember to use simple permalinks. Do not use stop words like “is” or “are” because they are not good for SEO.
Important tip: Avoid changing the URL after publish to avoid 301 site errors.
Tip 3: Incorporate keywords into the URLs (wherever possible)
Incorporating keywords is a good way to make your website URLs SEO friendly. However, don’t overpopulate it. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to search for high performing keywords.
When choosing a keyword, remember to find keywords with low competition but high monthly searches. When the competition is high, it is hard to rank keywords. Moreover, select keywords that are closely related to your topic or industry as well
Tip 4: Create a uniform URL for different variants
This can be harder than it sounds but creating uniform URL structure means creating a reliable identifier for all of your URLs. A consistent URL structure for different variants is easy to spot and remember not just for customers but also for search engines.
The only way to do this is using static URLs. Static URLs do not change and do not contain any parameters. For SEO reasons static URLs are an ideal choice because they mainly contain your keywords and a consistent structure.
Things to avoid when setting up a URL structure
- Long URLs: Long URLs are hard to read for customers and search engines. Make sure your website URL is no longer than 100 characters. A very long URL often causes usability and search engine issues.
- Underscores: Do not use underscores (_) since they create longer bandwidth for Googlebots to crawl on your website and index your URL. We recommend that you use a hyphen (-) instead.
- Stop words: Oftentimes, stop words would only make your URL lengthy which is why you would want to remove them from your URL. By keeping your URL short it makes it easier to read for both customers and search engines.
- Keyword stuffing: Using too many keywords in your URL is not good for SEO. It reduces the quality of your link and creates an awful experience for users.
Once you have the URL structure in place, it’s important that you generate a sitemap which would be submitted to Google’s Search Console so it can be indexed. This will ensure that your website URLs are listed in the search results for the relevant search queries.