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Posted On: 3rd March 2022

How to structure URLs

The internet is a busy place, and it’s only getting more crowded. Getting an edge over your competition, no matter how small, is becoming ever more important. Optimising your site’s URL structure alone won’t rocket it to the top of the SERPs, but it’ll certainly help – and it will make life easier for your website users too.

An optimised URL structure can deliver the following benefits:

  • Easier navigation across the site – users will be able to tell what the page is about before they click.
  • Better organisation – your site will look more polished and professional.
  • Better appearance in results pages and on social media – tidy links look better!
  • Search engine performance – you could experience increased rankings, particularly if you’re able to include your page’s keyword in the URL.

Now you understand why you should be optimising your URL structure, let’s look at the how.

They need to make sense

The whole point of URLs is that they’re human-readable; they were created to replace IP addresses in your browser’s search bar, so choosing a URL that contains lots of numbers or special characters kind of defeats the object. If it’s not clear what the page is about or relates to, your URL needs to be rethought.

What not to do:

What to do:

Implement a clear structure

Say you’re in the business of providing mortgage advice. You’re qualified to advise on a wide range of mortgage products, and you have pages for each of them – great. All of these pages need to be clearly organised and structured, or it won’t be immediately clear to new users where they’re heading before they click.

A great way of doing this is to create a Mortgage Advice ‘parent page’ and make the other category pages ‘subpages’ of it. Here’s an example:

What not to do:

What to do:

The second example is both shorter and clearer – and it looks tidier too. Having an intuitive URL structure becomes even more important if you run an eCommerce site, particularly as your product range grows into triple digits. Establishing a logical structure early on will save you the headache of revisiting all these pages at a later date.

Optimise for search engines

Once you’ve decided on a structure, make sure that each page is optimised for search engines.

  • Use the page keyword in the URL where possible
  • Use hyphens in between words
  • Don’t use special characters, like #, %, [ ] and empty spaces
  • Try not to use words like ‘the’ and ‘and’ – simplify the URL to remove them if you can
  • Avoid the use of dynamic URLs where possible
  • Shorter URLs tend to be favoured by search engines