Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Why & How to Optimize Website URL Structure

updated on Aug 02, 2017
Why & How to Optimize Website URL Structure A URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, describes the address of a webpage, website or any other resources located on the net. Without a URL, it is impossible to access anything on the Internet.

It is imperative to make sure that the URL structure has been optimized and is used properly. They should be easy to read and understand by a visitor or even the search engine. Meaningful words must be used while describing a URL so that the person reading it can have a fair idea of the page’s content. URLs also describe the structure of the website that the webpage is on.

In the following, we’d like to introduce why there is needed and how to optimize website URL structure.

The Importance of a Good URL Structure

Having a good URL structure makes your website more user-friendly. People read the URL and see if the words are related to what they’re looking for. If the answer is yes, then people know they’ve come to the right place. It makes navigation through the website quiet easy.

Another important reason to use an optimized URL structure is to make a website SEO friendly. Many times developers of the website do not care about the characters used in making up a URL. Their only goal is to make the structure work. In this process, they may receive a jumble of unintelligible mess, making search engine unable to understand what it means. This can drop the SEO ranking of your website and hence decrease its popularity and traffic. The URL structure must be made such that it can be indexed and is open for crawling.

Additionally, an optimized URL with clear and concise text can serve as its anchor text when added as a link on forums.

How to Optimize Website URL Structure

How to Optimize Website URL Structure There are some certain tips and practices you can follow to optimize the structure of your website URLs.

1. You can consolidate the www and non-www versions of your domain. While indexing your website, search engines keep a record of both versions. But when one of them isn’t accessible by a visitor or search spiders, things may be bad. Therefore, it is sensible to have one version of the URL linked to the other one. This can be done using the 301 redirect.

2. You can use static URL. Static URLs containing a string of keywords are better than using unintelligible dynamic URLs. Dynamic URLs are automatically created by a CMS. CMSs like WordPress allow you to change this structure and to make it more readable. A URL should be clear and meaningful to be user-friendly.

3. The XML Sitemap can help the search engines search through the pages of your site more easily. This sitemap contains a list of all the URLs used in your website. It can also help the search engines easily choose canonical URLs on your website.

4. Make use of the robots.txt to close off irrelevant pages. Sometimes, you may find the need to conceal pages from results of the search engines. These could include the terms and conditions or user profiles that should not be available to anyone.

Optimize Website URL Structure This can be accomplished by using the robots.txt file. It instructs the search engine on which pages to ignore while crawling. As a result, no index attribute is given to such pages. This can optimize the URL structure as only the correct pages are concealed.

5. You can also minimize the number of parameters used in the URL. As much as possible, try and avoid using the parameters ‘?’, ‘&’ and ‘%’.

6. Make sure that you have only one URL assigned to one webpage. If a webpage has two URLs, it becomes a duplicate. This can decrease the ranking of that page in the search engine results. More importantly, the homepage should have only one URL.

7. Use the special canonical tag to specify canonical URLs. This can help the search engine in better finding your canonical URLs.

8. Use sub-domains wisely. It is good to use a sub-domain to link to a part of your website that is completely different from the main website. They can be considered as a separate entity, and lead to segregation of your website structure.

9. Simplicity is one of the most important features of the real quality URL. After all, the simpler your URL is, the easier people and search engines can remember you. Here, what does the word of simplicity mean actually? We have come out three examples in the following image. The first one is the most-optimized URL for a website, coming with a single word that can describe the whole website effectively. The second one is an archive page for that website featuring the simple and clear parameters. The last one is a bad example, coming with some meaningless letters, symbols and words.

10.In fact, we don’t suggest you to use hyphens in your website URL. This is because some people may forget the existence of hyphens, or forget where the hyphens need to be inserted. In some cases, you may need more than one word into your URL, and you can simply put them together without breaking. In terms of the URLs for posts, however, the things are different. You have to make use of the hyphens to make URL easy to understand. Each hyphen can only divide two words.

11. Always remember that one URL can only direct to one webpage. If you use one URL for multiple posts, then people may feel confused to get to their targets. If you give one post with multiple URLs, then you cause content duplication that is sensitive for search engines. In fact, almost all the bloggers know this principle, but sometimes you may make this mistake unintentionally especially when you write some posts coming with the similar titles.