This article was first published on March 3rd, 2021 and was last updated in March 2022.

URLs are like coordinates helping you find where you’re needing to go on the huge map that is the internet. When you don’t have the exact idea or location on hand, it can be hard to navigate where you want to lead individuals in finding your content. URL’s may sometimes appear insignificant compared to titles and headings when optimizing SEO. However, utilizing URL structure SEO guidelines can be a powerful tool for attaining SEO success.

A properly optimized URL can be a basic element to add to your SEO strategy. In this article, we will dive into defining what a URL is, how a URL structure affects SEO, the benefits that come from utilizing search-friendly URLS, and go over what an ideal SEO-friendly URL structure looks like. Let’s get started!

What’s is a URL?

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. A URL, which also refers to a web address, is a readable text that’s designed to replace numbers, within an IP address, that computers use to communicate with servers. In easier terms, it’s a coded name given to your website, landing page, etc. that helps direct you (or other users looking for it) have a straightforward way of finding it through a link. 

SEO-friendly URLs are designed to meet the needs of users and searchers. An SEO-friendly URL consists of a protocol, domain name, top-level domain, and path (which includes the specific subfolder structure where a page is located). Here is an example of a URL structure SEO format:

URL Structure

Protocol: This expresses how a browser should retrieve information about a resource. Examples of this could include: http://, https://, or ftp:.

Domain Name: Also referred to as a hostname, this is the readable name of the specific location where a resource is located. Examples of this could be your business, product, or service’s name that your website focuses mainly from. (For Boostability, it’s the name of our company in the boostability.com part of our URL.)

Top-Level Domain: This section acts as a category for websites. Examples of this include .com, .edu (for educational sites), and .gov (for governmental sites).

Path: These act as specific subfolders within a website. Examples of this include the title of a blog post, any parameters (such as click tracking or session IDs) that might be stored in the URL, or any anchors that allow visitors to jump to a specific point in the resource.

Does URL Structure Affect SEO?

An SEO-friendly URL structure can sometimes be an overlooked part of the SEO equation. However, a properly optimized URL can contribute a great deal to helping your pages rank well. Your rankings and standing can be determined by the words and keyphrases you add to your URL structure. That’s why it’s always important to be mindful of the keywords you add in your URL structure.

One of the first steps a search engine will make is seeing if your URL matches the intent of content listed on the webpage. If your page doesn’t incorporate the same intent or keywords, your SEO could drop in rankings.

URL optimization can often be the signal to a potential site visitor in learning what your page is about. A properly optimized URL can even improve the click-through rates wherever the links are shared. When you have webpages that have easy URLs to share, you are helping users make the pages more popular and easier to share. There are lots of factors that go into getting higher SEO rankings, but starting your strategy off with an SEO-friendly URL structure helps your web page start at a good place.

3 Main Benefits to Using Search-Friendly URLs:

1. Improved User Experience

An SEO-friendly URL provides both individuals and search engines an easier understanding of what the destination page will be about. When you learn to write content with the purpose of fulfilling the user’s intent, your SEO will improve. With this in mind, it all starts with the URL structure. If your structure is the same intent as your content, people will choose to click on your URL to stay on the page and learn more.

2. Rankings

URLs often are a minor ranking factor when it comes to a resource’s relevance to a search query. However, keyword use within a URL could also act as a ranking factor. While utilizing a keyword within the URL structure can help improve your site’s visibility, the URL itself won’t have a major impact on the page’s ability to rank. With this in mind, don’t create a URL structure that doesn’t make sense just to fit a keyword into the URL. It’s not vital or beneficial to your SEO strategy or URL structure. Be fluid and natural with your URL structures.

3. Links

Well-written URLs can serve as their own anchor text when copied and pasted as links in forums, blogs, social media networks, or other online venues. Keeping URLs shorter helps make them more user friendly and easier to share with others. Having a longer URL structure isn’t always bad, but can sometimes be overlooked in the user’s eyes. 

What is an Ideal SEO-Friendly URL Structure?

SEO-friendly URLs are designed to meet the needs of users and searchers. Specifically, URLs optimized for SEO tend to be short and keyword-rich. This list goes over the best guidelines to follow for the best URL optimization for your URL structure in SEO:

Use the Right Keywords

Proper keyword research is the first step toward ensuring that your URL optimization is structured in a way that’s best optimized for search engines. Keywords within your URL can help users understand what a certain page is about. The best option is to start compiling a keyword list. Once you have your list of keywords, it is recommended to use 1-2 keywords at most within your URL structure. Stuffing multiple keywords can decrease the value of your rankings. It’s important to notice that your keywords might not always show up in SERPs. They will show when linked as a bare URL. 

When choosing the right keyword to go within your URL, make sure to choose the right one that will benefit your content. Using a less significant keyword as the category name is a common mistake that can come from choosing a keyword with the most traffic. Sometimes the higher traffic keyword can fail to recognize what the category is referring to. Select a category name that truly reflects what the pages contained within are about. In this sense your URL structure will benefit against search engines.

Related read: Take a look at 5 examples of SEO-friendly content and how you can write it yourself!

Keep it Short and Simple

An SEO-friendly URL structure benefits more from being short and to the point. When your URL is longer, it can confuse search engines such as Google. SEO-friendly URLs should focus on being consistent, steady, and readable. URLs can be categorized into two types: static and dynamic. Dynamic URLs can change and include parameters while static URLs tend to stay the same when no changes are made within the HTML. Focusing on generating static URLs over dynamic URLs will help keep your URLs consistent and steady in the long run.

For improving readability, use language that helps better inform your site visitors into knowing what they’re getting themselves into. For example, if there’s a better word than “blog” that exists for telling users what to expect out of a certain section on your website, use that instead. Understanding familiar words helps guide users to content they are looking for on your site.

Keeping it Consistent in Lowercase

URLs are commonly written in the lowercase “like-this-example” as opposed to mixed case “Like-That-Example” or in all uppercase “LIKE-THIS-EXAMPLE.” While most modern servers treat capital and lowercase letters in URLs the same, it’s important to be consistent in whatever form you use. When you keep it consistent you users will know what to expect rather than having a mix of different looking URL structures. This will also prevent linking errors from occurring within and outside of the website as well. Using all lowercase within your URL structure tends to be the most popular way to go for URL structure SEO.

Be Organized

Having an organized SEO-friendly URL structure helps keep the different types of content on your website organized and in one place. One way to help keep your URLs organized is by adding certain categories and subcategories for different portals within the “/path” portion of your URL structure. This helps users go from one part of your website to the next with ease. This also can help on the analytics side of things to help organize and analyze what parts of your website are bringing in the most traffic. Being organized with your SEO-friendly URL structures will help benefit your SEO strategy in the long run.

Avoid Anything That Can Become Outdated

Just because the date is in the title of your article does not mean it belongs in your SEO-friendly URL. For yearly update type of posts, there are ways to create this type of content without diminishing your SEO strategy. For example, if you create a “Best {topic} for 20xx” type of article, it is generally better to use the same URL year after year for this type of content. By utilizing the same link, you can go in and repurpose or update the information to be up-to-date. To have a better SEO-friendly URL structure, instead of using, “example.com/widgets/best-widgets-2020”, you can use, “example.com/widget/best-widgets” as a better URL structure. From there you can update the content and title year after year while keeping all of the same information in one spot. This SEO-friendly URL structure also helps to improve your rankings on the same piece of content that gets updated annually. 

Besides dates, this type of issue can happen with numbers in lists. For example, let’s say you have an older article named, “29 Ways to Help Improve Your SEO” and your URL structure was, “29-ways-to-help-improve-your-seo”. When you go to update the article, let’s say there are 6 of the 29 ways that are now irrelevant and outdated to the topic. Because of the URL structure and SEO purposes, it’s better for you to find 6 new ways to improve SEO rather than updating the article to be “23 Ways to Help Improve Your SEO”. Changing the URL structure from “29” to “23” can be detrimental to your SEO efforts. It’s important to always be mindful of including numbers and dates within your URL structure.

Creating Search Friendly URLs with Boostability

Having a properly optimized URL structure can be the difference between you ranking against your competitors. Having proper URL optimization helps to benefit not only your website, but mainly the content within your website. These SEO-friendly URL structure guidelines are some of the first steps to help make sure your website, and it’s URL structures, are the best they can be. 

There are lots of ways in which your business can improve their SEO and rankings. Partnering with a white label SEO program such as Boostability can be one of the best ways to do so. Learn more today about partnering with a white label SEO company such as Boostability.

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Ansley is a Content Marketing Specialist at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and repurposed on the Boost Blog to remain relevant and up-to-date with accurate information. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.