Friendly URLs are an important part of a good SEO strategy to position websites . However, when we browse the web, we see many errors in the construction of URLs . That is why in this post I explain what you must do to create them correctly and please the search engines.
As you know, getting Google to index our site well is part of every online merchant’s dream, but few know the importance of an SEO friendly URL.
Contrary to what many believe, this element has not lost importance after Google gave more value to the content, in the latest updates of its algorithm, in fact, it facilitates the work of Googlebot crawling.
What is a semantic URL
Or what is the same, a friendly URL is one that can be understood by users. These are generally made up of words related to the content of the pages to which they are directed and therefore, they are easy to memorize.
An unfriendly URL is one that is full of variables and numbers that can hardly be remembered again, for example:
Meanwhile, the friendly URL is characterized by being readable and easy to remember, such as:
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These URLs are good to advance the work in SEO , since they tell search engines what the content that directs to that page is about. Hence the importance of creating them semantically in order to contribute to positioning.
Let’s see what is the use of friendly urls
The use of semantic URLs
SEO best practices to build friendly URLs
Build human readable URLs
The easier it is for users and search engines, the better it is at increasing your website’s reputation .
The readability issue is key in the construction of friendly URLs because it is easy to remember. The user will probably return to that page to continue reading, buying, etc.
You already know that the more traffic your pages or website experience, the better positioning you will get , because Google can interpret that you are generating quality content.
Put yourself in the shoes of your users, probably the person who is browsing from their desktop or mobile computer and sees a URL similar to this:
believe that it is a site full of viruses, garbage, spam, etc. Also, you might agree with me that it doesn’t look aesthetically good.
Consequently, the idea is that you can have URLs that are as clean as possible, easy to read and remain in the memory of your users and search engines.
Be careful with the URL parameters
Parameters are information that is added to URLs for different reasons, for example: to provide information related to web analytics or to modify the content of a page.
This problem is believed to be prevalent on websites that are managed by CMS. This not only complicates SEO tasks , it also affects the analysis of pages or web with Google Analytics, since it interprets them as if they were two different links.
So, to solve this problem and make them friendly, I recommend that you find a way to remove those types of parameters that make it difficult for both search engines and your users to read.
I give you an example: Surely you have got yourself websites with links in which at the end, of each one, you can see something similar to this:
This type of link is usually generated by default, but you need to find a way to remove those parameters , keeping the technical functions of your pages or website.
You can use Google’s webmaster tool to identify URLs that have harmful or no-value parameters.
Delete Stop Words
Stop Words are those words that do not provide any semantic value to the link you intend to build. For example, parse the following URLs
As you can see, there are many prepositions and words that do not add valuable information for the user. So, the correct thing to do is to eliminate them since they also prevent giving the appropriate value to those that do collaborate with information of interest so that it is easier for search engines to find you.
Add the keywords you want to index with
On different occasions I have mentioned the importance of choosing and using the right keywords to position your site in search engines.
Fortunately, at present, content managers, for example WordPress, allow you to add keywords in URLs, which makes your job easier.
One of the many advantages of including Keywords in links is that you tell the user what the content is about, so you save them the trouble of entering your pages to review and leave if they do not get what they are looking for.
In addition, you will reduce the bounce rate , because you will be attracting visitors that are interested in your content.
Also, it is key to improve the SEO of your website or page, since you tell Googlebot what you are talking about. The clearer and cleaner your URLs are, the faster search engines will position you.
I recommend that you do research on social media, on your competitors’ sites, or through Google, to identify the keywords that are dominating your market.
Then, with your team, determine which of these best fits the descriptions of your products or the business you do.
Do not repeat the keyword more than 2 times
If you don’t want to be perceived as a website with spam content, be careful to create URLs that contain 2 or more times your keywords. For example:
You must avoid appearing to be Spam to search engines , since the latest updates to Google’s algorithms have been firm on this and severely penalize sites that promote Spam. Recovering from a penalty can be very difficult and puts the success of your business at risk.
Don’t keep two URLs the same or the same
Do a deep check on the urls of your website and discard those in which the content is similar . Consider implementing the 301 redirect. This will allow you to remove duplicate or similar content and thus avoid problems with Google.
Of course, I recommend that you be careful when making your redirects, you should not go through more than 3 consecutively.
Why? Imagine that you found 3 URLs with similar content and you want to do the 301.
The content of url A should not go to url B, but directly to url C.
This is so, because being such a long chain of redirects, it is likely that the elements that position the content of the different URLs will be diluted, until they are lost when it reaches the final link.
Avoid long URLs
I have already mentioned that Google is highly valuing user experience . That is why you should be careful with long URLs, because you prevent the user from quickly and easily identifying what the content you offer is about.
In this scenario you can provoke two reactions:
The user does not access the site due to feeling confused.
The user enters the site and after two seconds leaves.
In the first case, you will only drive away your users and experience little traffic. This, in addition, will affect your positioning since many will avoid entering your website.
The second reaction, increases your bounce rate , this means that you are not providing the information that the user demands and, therefore, Google will value you negatively.
Make sure your URLs match your titles
This point is related to what I have been mentioning regarding the information requested by the user.
When there is a relationship or similarity between these two elements, you give the reader peace of mind that they will be in a safe place, and that they will find the content they have searched for.
If the opposite happens (that the URL is not related to the title), you make the user doubt whether it is a good idea to enter your website or not.
Structure types for URLs
If you are determined to create friendly URLs, you need to know that there are several ways to structure them and that they can help you provide more information to your users and search engines. Below, I mention each of them:
The first two are the most used options for making URLs friendly. Example number 1 can be the URL of a blog and example 2 that of an online store.
The structure number 3 can also be adjusted to the link of a blog, when the publication date has some relation to the published content. It is certainly a rare example.
Example 4 can be characteristic of an online news portal in which you need a unique identification number to position in search engines.
I suggest you choose any of the first 2, as they are the simplest and most suggestive when interpreting the information.
Now, I invite you to see the following audiovisual material, with which you will learn how to convert the URLs of your online store to optimized links
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4 Advantages of using friendly URLs
The benefits of friendly URLs are obvious, mainly for SEO. However, it has other advantages:
Easy to read : With easy-to-understand URLs, you help the user find the information they are looking for. So by creating them with a few words, special characters or hyphens, you can improve your website traffic.
Friendly URLs give a better impression than dynamic ones. I mentioned earlier, those with nonsense characters scare users away.
It has the potential to generate more links , since whoever wants to link to your site knows what the content is about, just by looking at the URL.
It improves navigability and makes the usability of the website simple, because you will not have to access different categories to get to the content you want.
Importance of semantic URLs for SEO
Google wants simplicity and this is confirmed with the use of friendly URLs.
In one of the changes to its algorithms, this search engine has decided to pay attention to semantic urls, since dynamic URLs usually cause a bad user experience.
The premise that guides the use of friendly URLs is that you write for human beings and not for robots. That is why Google has established parameters to provide a better search to the user. Hence, the importance of creating this type of URLs.
When you decide to change your URLs, you have to be careful because you could lose the rankings that you have achieved with the old ones.
As you well know, users enter your pages through URLs. For this reason, search engines value links to position you in a good ranking.
If you change the urls, they can’t find the content. In these cases, search engines end up removing those links, which is detrimental to positioning.
If it is a new website, this is not a problem. The downside is for websites that have been living online for a long time.
Finally, I recommend that you value the idea of doing 301 redirects. Also, update the internal links so that you do not lose the value of your old links. In this way, you will not cause an excessive drop in your positions.
Take care of every aspect that I propose to build URLs. Although it is not the only element that will add value to SEO, it is well appreciated by Googlebot when it comes to crawling your website.
And the correct indexing of your pages in search engines depends on that crawl.
You know, doing good SEO isn’t just about structurally pleasing search engines , it’s also about providing a great user experience and a friendly URL will help you achieve this goal.
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