How to Optimise Your Website URL: General Questions
What is a URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and it’s the address or location of a web page or file on the web.
The URL is visible in the web address bar of your browser and it includes both domain (or sub-domain) and slug.
What is a Slug?
The slug is the part of the URL that identifies the specific web page or resource on the web.
It’s the part that is displayed after the domain and on the right of the forward slash ‘/’ sign
Why is the URL Important for SEO?
Google says that keywords in the URL ‘that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site’.
In itself, this doesn’t mean that by adding your focus keyword in the URL, your web page will rank higher.
While adding the focus keyword to your URL might not be a direct ranking factor, it might influence other ranking factors indirectly.
For example, a URL that is ‘friendlier for visitors’ might get a better Click-Through-Rate (CTR), which is one of the metrics Google considers for the ranking of your web pages.
How to Optimise Your Website URL: Tutorials
How to Optimise Your Website URL (in WordPress)
To optimise your website URL in WordPress:
From the backend of your page, click on Edit right below the post or page title
Edit your URL and click OK when done
How to Optimise Your Website URL (in Rank Math)
To optimise your website URL in Rank Math:
Click on ‘Edit Snippet’ from the Rank Math sidebar (Gutenberg editor) or panel (Classic editor)
This will open a popup with three fields: Title, Permalink and Description
Enter your URL in the Permalink field
How to Optimise Your Website URL: Best Practices & Etiquette
When choosing the URL for your web page, keep in mind the following best practices and etiquette:
Think Structure First – In general but especially for websites with a high number of pages, it’s always considered best practice to break down your website into categories and sub-categories. For example, increasily.com/portfolio/real-estate-web-design
Avoid Redundancy – Avoid keyword stuffing by getting rid of redundant keywords in your URL structure. For example, increasily.com/web-design/real-estate is more preferable than increasily.com/web-design/real-estate-web-design
Add Your Focus Keyword – Although Google simple says that keywords in the URL ‘that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site’, it’s worth noting that there is a section dedicated to URLs in Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
Keep it simple – Avoid overly-complicated structures like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1
Keep it short – There seems to be a ‘strong correlation between short URLs and higher Google rankings’ (source: backlinko.com). Make sure you keep your URL short and in any case never go beyond 75 characters
Use Punctuation – To separate keywords, use punctuation. Hyphens ‘-‘ are also preferable to underscores ‘_’ . For example, increasily.com/seo-services is preferable to increasily.com/seoservices or increasily.com/seo_services.
Avoid Dynamic URLs – Dynamic URLs are generally very long and might cause duplicate content issues
Some additional recommendations:
Don’t Include the Date – The date takes up space in your URL, which you could use for other keywords. Also removing the date will make it easier for you to update the content of your post at a later stage
Don’t Replicate Your Post Title – Post titles are generally long and don’t always work well as URLs
What to Do After Updating Your Website URL
If you want to edit or update your URL after your post of page has been published, you will need to set up a redirect rule from old to new URL.
If your old URL has already been indexed by Google, any visitor clicking on it will get a 404 page not found error.
To prevent it, your will need to set up a redirect rule. The most common one is the 301 permanent redirect. This tells Google and other search engines that the page or resource has been permanently moved to a new location.
You can set up a 301 permanent redirect via plugin or by hard-coding a snippet of code into your htaccess (for websites on Apache servers) or HTML files.
How to Set Up a URL Redirect (in Rank Math)
To set up a redirect in Rank Math:
From your WordPress admin, mouse over to Rank Math on the left sidebar
Click on Redirections (please note this module needs to be enabled in Rank Math settings)
Click on Add New on the top left of the screen
Enter your old URL (make sure you add the forward slash before)
Enter your new URL (make sure you add the forward slash before)
Pasquale is Founder at Increasily.com, a digital strategy agency based in Dublin, Ireland; and Co-Founder at luxury ecommerce marketplace Thesidebe.com. Pasquale has +15 years of experience in Digital Marketing and Account Management. He currently lives in Dublin with his wife, stepdaughter and cat.