URL optimization is the creation of purely clean user-friendly and static URLs that are structured in a way not to include query strings. It aims to include after the scheme (http:// or https://) only the authority, such as yourdomain.com, and the resource path. It is generally performed for the purposes of SEO (search engine optimization), usability and aesthetics. Even though some web designers like to exclude file extensions like .html, .asp, .aspx, and .php from URI, URL optimization does try to do the same. Excluding index URLs, file extensions are commonly appended to provide separate identities to distinct data formats. Both humans and search engines have hard time remembering long URLs, especially those that use dynamic query strings.
Even though search engine crawlers have become smarter over the years in crawling and indexing dynamic websites, URL structures of certain sites still pose big challenges for these bots. This article aims to guide webmasters to the basic elements of URL optimization structures. Adhering to the best practices of URL structure for websites will surely help to eliminate imminent problems search bots encounter while doing their job.
Included in the best practices are using keywords related to a directory or page in the URL, instead of generic names and numbers; minimizing the number of directory levels from your domain to a file; minimizing the total number of name and value pairs; and complete rewriting of dynamic URLs. Implementing these will apparently help to make your site’s URLs tidy, clean, memorable to both search engines and humans, and most importantly relevant to the content of your web pages.
URL optimization is an SEO branch that concentrates on domain name length limitation, URL length limitation, file/folder naming limitation, and keyword-based naming style.
Tips On URL Structure Optimization:
Domain Naming – It is always the best to get a short domain name that contains some keywords or key phrases related to your niche. However, in most cases it’s no longer possible, since majority of keyword-rich domain names have long been registered by other people. Never go for spammy URLs that contain several hyphens. Less knowledgeable webmasters use domain names that contain these hyphens just because the domain names include their targeted keywords. Such practice doesn’t look professional and can be an issue for those who want to remember your domain name. Try to make your domain name’s length as short as possible.
Folder And File Naming – Use hyphens (-) and underscores (_) to separate two words in the folder and file URLs. Make use of keywords related to the content of each page while naming its URL. Limit the overall length of characters while naming folders and files.
Folder naming examples:
yourdomain.com/index.php?id=7629 (This is a bad folder naming style).
yourdomain.com/search-engine-optimization/ (This is recommended).
File naming examples:
yourdomain.com/index.php?id=7629&content=fae54 (This is a bad file naming style).
yourdomain.com/search-engine-optimization/keyword-analysis.html (This is recommended).