Is the URL important for SEO?
December 13, 2021
How important is a URL in SEO?
Get this wrong and it will impact how your website is found in Google and other search engines.
In this article, we explain why your website URL is important for SEO
- What is a URL?
- What are Query Strings and how do they impact your ranking?
- How long should my URL be?
- Why do URLs matter for SEO?
- Best practises when creating your URL.
What is a URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, it’s a human-friendly link that will represent a location on a server so that a web browser can find the files to build a page. It’s no more complicated than that, humans can read it better than if it was numbers and special characters.
Your website URL will contain your domain name which ideally would be the same as your company name. For example, racermarketing.co.uk is our domain name and it matches our registered company name.
What are Query Strings and how do they impact your ranking?
The URL can contain folders or subcategories and can be extended with query strings.
It is very important to consider the structure of your URLs when you start to add subfolders and query strings as this will start to impact how the URL is read.
Query strings are a way of telling the application that is building your website, to present data in different formats or even generate completely new pages based upon multiple query strings.
Sometimes it is difficult to force Google to index a page with query strings, one way around this is to create a rel="canonical" reference in the HTML of your website.
An example of how a webpage could be formed with query strings
TIP: Notice how the page has the appearance of folders with the word London in the URL? This is actually being forced into the web application and is controlling how the web page results then appear.
How long should my URL be?
URLs maximum length is governed by the browser you are targeting, for example Microsoft states the URL must be shorter than 2,083 characters.
An interesting article from Neil Patel on the subject shows that URLs with 50-60 characters and have 5-6 keywords are favoured over longer URLs as 80 characters.
Why do URLs matter for SEO?
There are 3 main benefits of URLs:
1. Improved User Experience (UX)
We recommend a short punchy URL that conveys your message that is inline with your content title. This has the additional benefit of being readable in the event you share it in a email or on social media.
It will be easier to understand for the people you are targeting to understand the content they can expect when landing on your webpage.
2. URL will impact SEO rankings
The content does have a factor in ranking your page in search, so if you can front load the URL with the primary keyword that will assist.
TIP: remember that the URL must still be readable to the people that will see it.
3. Social sharing
When you share your content on social media channels, if you use a short URL there is a greater chance that the social platform will not automatically shorten your URL.
- This improves your brand awareness as your URL remains your domain and is not replaced with a tiny URL
- Encourages more people to click the links when shared as they will be able to read the link.
- This will increase your Social Signals scoring and ranking. We highlighted the importance of Social Signals as an SEO ranking factor for Google
Best practises for your URLs.
- Make the URLs short and sweet
- Keep to words that describe your content
- Use lowercase
- Separate words with hyphens, do not underscore. Read this article on the usage of underscores by Google and avoid using special characters