SEO Optimized URLs Explained and How to Optimize Them
Did you know that Google deals 79,456 searches every second? Imagine how many searches that multiplies in a day, a week or a month… The popularity of Google offers huge potential for website owners looking to drive more traffic to their sites and increase conversions.
But to harness that search traffic, you need to make sure that all of your SEO elements are properly optimized on your website. And an essential step is to use SEO optimized URLs for your web pages to help users and Google understand what it is.
So what are SEO optimized URLs?
In short, SEO optimized URLs are hyperlinks designed to meet the needs of users and search engines. They tend to be short and keyword rich and can help you rank higher on Google.
Wait! Let’s start from the beginning and first explain what a URL is.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the address of your page or domain name. Each URL is dedicated to a web page on your website and helps organize your site content. It’s basically the connection between your content and your website visitors.
But what does a URL have to do with SEO?
SEO Optimized URLs Explained
In addition to your META tags, link anchor text, and the content itself, search engine bots use your webpage URL to understand what your content is about.
SEO-optimized URLs are easier to index and crawl for the Google bot and other search engine bots. And search engines need to be able to crawl and index your site to rank it in search results.
Properly optimized URLs can also increase the click-through rate to your site and promote sharing of your content. These actions will ultimately increase the number of page views for your website and help your content rank higher in search engines.
SEO optimized URL structure
So what should an SEO optimized URL contain?
There are many things to consider when creating a SEO friendly URL structure. For example, your URL should:
- Include your target keyword
- Describe the subject of your page
- Be easy to read for users and search engines
- Use dashes instead of underscores
- Be short and sweet
- Use secure HTTPS URLs
- Have no dates or years
- Use only lowercase letters
- Get people to click and share them
Always consider your website visitors first when creating your URL structure because usability is Google’s top priority.
Google states that:
“URLs containing words relevant to your site’s content and structure are more user-friendly for visitors to your site. “
If you take these factors into account when creating your permalink structure, you can dramatically improve your chances of higher rank in search engines.
SEO optimized and not SEO optimized URLs
It’s always easier to understand theories when you break them down into easy-to-use examples, so let’s show some examples of SEO-friendly and non-SEO-friendly URLs.
To get started, here is an example of an SEO optimized URL:
It includes the post’s target keyword, “social media marketing statistics,” and clearly describes the topic of the page. It uses HTTPS for added security, and hyphens between words make it easier to read. The clean look will attract more clicks from search results and promote sharing.
On the flip side, a non-SEO optimized URL might look like this:
By looking at it, users and search engine robots could understand that it is a newspaper article. But these numbers and symbols don’t tell what the article is about. Additionally, this hyperlink would not appear well in search results and trick users into clicking on it. Additionally, not using URLs secured by HTTPS may adversely affect that page’s chances of ranking on Google, as it is not considered a secure page.
That said, if your URLs look like the second example, you can change them in your WordPress settings. So, let’s show how to do it easily next.
How to change URL structure in WordPress
To change your URL structure, also known as the permalink structure, you go to the permalink settings page in your WordPress settings. Set your permalinks to Post Name and WordPress will use your post or page title as the URL structure.
Your URL would then look like this:
Once you have defined the URL structure, you can change it for each post and page to take into account all the elements for SEO optimized URLs.
And There you go. The ultimate goal of an SEO friendly URL structure is to make it easier for users and search engines to understand, navigate, and share your website content. Creating SEO-optimized URLs is a step in improving the usability of your site and improving rankings on Google.