The humble URL can be a vital weapon in your armoury when you are fighting a fierce battle for gaining SERP supremacy. Since URLs are one of the essential SEO elements, we often tend to overlook its importance. Y
Yet according to to https://www.rankingbyseo.com/, URLs are among the most significant ranking factors.
Various aspects of URL like its length, use of keyword in URL, URL string and URL path all figure in the list of more than 200 ranking factors that Google use. Therefore, it is not hard to understand that you must pay enough attention to URL optimization that can be crucial for your SEO campaign.
URLs have broad appeal to search engine bots as well as users and knowing the science behind URL creation will help to maximize the SEO benefits.
Use a top-level domain
What kind of domain you use for URL impacts SEO, although it does not have any relation to ranking. To stay safe, experts suggest that you must use a top-level domain with which the audience is very familiar like choosing .com over other options like.pro, biz etc.
But you may wonder how it matters when URL does not impact ranking? Well, ranking is just one aspect of SEO, and there are other aspects too that contribute to SEO success.
Only when you address most of the factors instead of focusing solely on ranking, you get better SEO results.
When you use a top-level domain (TLD), it considerably increases the trust of users which is a considerable gain due to its positive impact on SEO.
Considering that there is intense competition to land your brand name with a top-level domain here are some ways to stay closest to the goal.
Go for HTTPS
It is not enough to gain the trust of users by using a TLD and to strengthen it; you must choose the HTTPS protocol for the URL to assure them that they are using a secure connection. As cybercrime is on the rise, it is essential to prove to users that you care for their safety when they access your website.
HTTPS means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure that signifies that the site is encrypted and much more secure. Besides ensuring more ease to visitors, HTTPS is now a ranking signal which makes it even more important
If your website captures sensitive financial information of customers and processes customer orders, then using HTTPS becomes almost mandatory.
The thumb rule about the length of URL is the shorter, the better because studies show that shorter URLs rank better than long URLs.
Fifty characters are the ideal URL length, and after that, every character you use can impact your ranking. The study showed that the difference in URL length between the top-ranked site and the tenth-ranked site was of only 12 characters which highlight the need to keep URLs as short as possible.
Trying to be somewhere between 50-60 characters is a good starting point.
Words per URL
The next question is how many words to use in an URL. Experienced marketers prefer to use 3-5 words in the URL because they feel that is enough to give a clear idea about the content.
If the words can bear enough hint about the topic or content, it serves the purpose. Using too many words in the URL will make it look slightly abnormal, and Google algorithms will not give any credit to you for additional words.
Condensing the essence of the content and reflecting it correctly within 3-5 words is the norm.
User-friendliness and overall SEO go hand-in-hand, which becomes most evident during URL optimization. A URL serves the purpose of both users and search engines. It provides an easy to understand the indication of what the page is all about.
The structure of the URL must be conducive for maximum readability. The URL structure should reveal what the site contains without any ambiguity. It saves the time of users who can quickly make up their mind whether to click on the link by knowing what it contains.
Keeping the description short and crisp is much more helpful than using too many words that are not only difficult to read but also difficult to comprehend what the page contains.
Hyphens are better than underscores
You can use punctuation in the URL but be careful to use the right ones. For example, when you want to create space between words, remember that hyphens are always better than underscores.
Not only that, there is official confirmation from Google about it.
Therefore, instead of being in two minds, be clear about using hyphens, only forgetting about underscores, at least in the URL.
Use safe characters
The kind of characters you use in the URL is also an important consideration, and you must always use safe characters comprising of the numeric from 0-9, alphabets from A-Z, special characters like *-.+!'(), and reserved characters used for special purposes like ? for denoting a query string.
Maintaining strictness in using safe characters is essential because the use of unsafe characters create issues with browsers that can lead to usability issues.
Words like a, an, or, but are stop words or as some people call it filler words.
These are like the backbone of the URL, but the question is whether to use it. For a long time, SEOs believed in not using stop words as it was looked upon like the forbidden fruit, but the truth is that there is no risk of attracting penalty if you use them.
But at the same time, it does no good for you either.
Moreover, search engines ignore them, and it does not have any impact on the ranking. It is better not to use it unless there is an extreme need for it to make the URL more readable and make sense. If you feel that it makes it easy to read the URL, then you can use it.
Since keywords can boost your ranking slightly, insert a keyword in the URL, which also serves as the anchor text when copying your content without including anchor text for clarification.