Hey Guys! Hope you are doing well. I am back to give you a daily dose of useful information. Today, I'll uncover How to Structure Blog Post URL - Best Practices Tips and Techniques.
This is the fourth article covering a complete SEO series. You can check my previous article about Meta description where you learn the tips and techniques required to write a compelling meta description.
When you are writing a blog post, you must be considering a lot of factors that help you stay on the top of search results. You cannot write a blog post without any proper SEO strategy in place and pray for the post go viral.
The URL is the web address specifically allocated to every webpage. No one can find your data on the web without a URL. Does it affect ranking factor? Everyone is concerned about this question. The answer is yes it affects, but not as much as you consider it to be. You must be giving attention to other parts of SEO without obsessing too much with URL structure. If you know how to structure your URL, only a few minutes are enough to do it a right way.
Getting a top spot on the search results is more like a science which requires proper planning. Proper optimization of a blog is divided into several steps, if every step is done a right way, even if it brings 1% value, they all add up and help your data appear in front of the relevant visitors.
Similarly, making your post URL optimized and readable brings more value and help you convey the main idea without much effort.
Before we move on, you can also have a look at an ultimate guide of SEO tutorials where I have combined all articles pertaining to On Page SEO and Off Page SEO on a single page.
In today's tutorial, I'll cover each and everything related to optimizing URL, benefits, best practices and everything you need to know. Let's get started.
How to Structure Blog Post URL
Before we move on and learn the best practices to structure URL, let's define it first.
What is URL?
The URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is a specific web address allocated to the certain web page. Every webpage is created with a unique URL.
The URL of the page is no different than the physical address of any house. Every place on the earth comes with specific address i.e. its location, area, street number house number which is different for every place on the earth. Similarly, every webpage is created with a unique URL which is actually a virtual address of the webpage that helps you find the relevant data on the internet.
Question is how do you optimize your URL? Or is it okay and allow WordPress picks up and selects it according to the title of the blog post?
Stay with me, I'll help you step by step on how to structure your URL and make it easy to read and easy to digest. Following are the main points you must be considering before you intend to structure URL of the blog post.
Until now, you must have heard the importance of keywords and how they can help you stand out of others. You must add the main keyword in the URL of the post. It is okay to place it anywhere in the URL, however, it is preferred to place it in the begging of URL so It conveys the right idea about the nature of the blog post.
Brian Dean from Backlinko and John Lincoln (CEO of Ignite Visibility) advised picking one or two keywords per URL.
Avoid Keyword Repetition
No need to repeat the keyword in the URL. Keyword repetition is pointless as it carries no weight for search engines.
It is considered as a keyword stuffing where you add keyword more than once to manipulate the search engines and allow them to prefer and find your data quickly across the web.
This practice was useful before Google's new algorithm named Panda and Penguin came into place.
Number of words
Choosing a right URL for lengthy blog post titles is a little bit tricky and requires sometimes to make it sweet and short so it conveys the right idea using less number of words. Before I suggest you choose the right number of words, check the words by Matt Cutts about the URL of the post.
In this interview with Matt Cutts, Matt mentions the following regarding the length of your slug:
"If you can make your title four- or five-words long – and it is pretty natural. If you have got a three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse. Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit."
So, make it short and try to deliver the main idea using less number of words.
Must be Specific
Making URL generic is practiced by a number of bloggers, however making it specific is a right approach to structure URL. Suppose you have written a post about On Page SEO, There are two ways to structure URL for this Post
Former is quite relevant but doesn't make URL unique and specific to the blog topic. Later is a better way to pick URL that conveys the right idea that post is mainly addressing On Page SEO.
Allocate one category to the post and then (if needed) place subcategory further to make it more specific
If you are talking about the certain team then you can add subcategory further
Make it more specific if you are talking about a certain team
And if you are talking about any player then you can do this way
The more you make URL specific, the more it is easy for the visitors to hunt down and reach a specific content.
Adding Numbers in URL
Some people add numbers in the URL. It is okay to add numbers but not preferred. Let's have a look at the following example.
You may struggle, if later, you come up with an idea of modifying your post and create a better version of it and stay alive in search engines.
In the example above, you want to add 5 more ways to save time and make it valuable and productive, then your post title won't match with the URL once you modify the title and make it "20 Ways to Make Your Time Productive". I hope you get an idea.
As an added note: There is no harm of adding numbers in the post unless you are sure, you are not going to edit and modify the title in the future.
Long vs Short
Shorter is better in terms of structuring URL. Google prefers posts that are in-depth and come with more number of worlds, however, it is acceptable for written content only. In terms of SEO, short URL comes with more value and delivers the right idea more precisely.
Picking long URL can put the visitors in difficulty where they feel skeptical about the main idea of the post. The more you specific using less number of words, the better. We can see the following example.
The first method is not preferred. If you see the second example, it conveys the main idea quite impressively without using "how to". and "home based jobs" because when you have already mentioned in the URL that post is about online earning, then no need to make it longer by adding "home based jobs", as it's pretty obvious when you are referring to online, you are making it clear, it can be approached anywhere in the world i.e.home, office or any remote location.
Avoid Stop Words
Stops words are not preferred in the URL. These words are just used to connect the two words and indicate if a subject is singular or plural.
The above words are known as stop words. These words are necessary to make the content grammatically correct however, they are not preferred to be added in the URL.
Google won't be giving any warning if you use these words, however, these words hold no weight in terms of page ranking or SEO.
Search engines prefer URL that is short. You must remember two things
It is preferred to skip these words if the URL makes sense and conveys the right idea
With that being said, if you think skipping these words would make URL weird and senseless, then there is no harm including these words in the URL.
You may feel difficulty in structuring the URL at the start of blogging, however, with practice, you will grow and able to make clinical URL structures that make sense with a minimum number of words. It is all about practice and how quickly you learn and make yourself adaptable with the SEO protocols and practices that help you stay ahead of your competitors.
Avoid Special Characters
You must avoid adding special characters in the URL. Search engines don't prefer them in the URL, as they are not SEO friendly.
Following symbols are considered as special characters
When you are creating a web post, you are focusing on the best SEO practices to make your content stand out and appear in front of maximum potential visitors. In terms of SEO, adding special characters is not a good practice and strictly prohibited by the search engines.
Include Hyphen, Avoid Underscore
Adding hyphens in the URL is acceptable and common practice by most of the bloggers. In fact, when you create the URL, the words appearing in the URL are already separated by the hyphens.
If you search for something on Google, it automatically splits your query with a hyphen in each word and can better understand your problem and pull up the most relevant information.
Same works for structuring URL i.e. when you add hyphens in the URL, you are making your words clear and specific and quite in line with the best practices for SEO.
The URL of the post is very handy when it delivers the right idea with a minimum number of words.
Make it short, sweet and readable.
Adding more words would make your URL weird and difficult to digest.
Avoid special characters in the URL.
No need to repeat the main keyword more than once. Adding one or two keywords in the URL is good practice.
Include hyphens and avoid underscore.
No need to add numbers in the URL. If you do, you won't be able to edit and modify the number in future.
That's all for today. I hope you have got a clear idea about the structuring of URL. In the next article, we discuss how to write SEO optimized content that helps you attract a number of visitors.
If you are unsure or have any question, you can ask me in the comment section below. I'd love to help you in any way I can. You are most welcome to share your thought about structuring URL of the post. Thanks for reading the article.
I am Syed Zain Nasir, the founder of The Engineering Projects (TEP). I am a
programmer since 2009 before that I just search things, make small projects and now I am sharing my
knowledge through this platform. I also work as a freelancer and did many projects related to
programming and electrical circuitry. My Google Profile+Follow