How to Optimise URL Structures that is User-Centric
A URL structure looks like this: http://www.topic-name.com
When creating a URL structure for your blog or a website, you are allowed to name the URL. There are certain factors to consider when structuring the link format of your site. However, the guiding rule that you should follow at all times is to ensure that the URL is user-centric.
Also, why are we emphasising the importance of a URL and its structure for SEO? You will soon find out as you read further.
What is a user-centric URL?
Web addresses play a minimal ranking role, so adding a keyword doesn’t make a difference. Google does not want you to focus as much on URLs with a keyword. It instead wants you to make sure that the user understands what the link name is suggesting. That makes it easier for users to decide whether they want to click on your site link.
So, the guiding rule is to make sure that your readers understand what your URL means. In other words, the user should not be confused or misinterpret the URL for what it stands.
For instance, a blog is published on a website. The topic is how to bake a velvet cake. The URL should clearly describe the same.
Option1: Correct messaging in URL – http://www.velvet-cake-recipe.com
Option 2: Incorrect messaging in URL – http://www.best-velvet-cake.com
From the above URLs, it is clear to the reader that option 1 reveals the primary intention of the blog topic. The user knows that when they click on the link, they will read an article that teaches them how to bake a velvet cake.
However, in the second option, the reader would be confused. Although this option uses a relevant keyword, it doesn’t specify the correct blog topic. This incorrect messaging in the URL misleads the user. When the user is misled, it doesn’t take long for your web page’s bounce rate to increase.
How to optimise URL Structures that is user-centric
Here’s a straightforward guide to help you structure your URLs to gain your user’s attention and make Google happy.
Users prefer lower case URLs
URL is flexible enough to allow you to use a mixed case. However, when it comes to users reading your URL, they find it easier to read links with small cases. Upper case sentences in links are complex for readers to read too. So, it would be best to use links with a lower case.
Correct option – Lower case URL – http://www.velvet-cake-recipe.com
Incorrect option – Mixed case URL – http://www.Velvet-Cake-Recipe.com
Incorrect option – Upper case URL – http://www.VELVET-CAKE-RECIPE.com
Avoid using underscores
Do not use underscores in links as they cannot be seen as clearly in a URL. Hyphenated links are more readable to users.
Incorrect option – Underscored URL – http://www.velvet_cake_recipe.com
Correction option – Hyphenated Link – http://www.velvet-cake-recipe.com
Accurate keywords for category URL structures
Most site owners believe that using the keyword with the highest traffic will fetch better results. While this is true for page ranking activities, it doesn’t apply to URLs as much. Use the keyword if it correctly defines the blog’s topic or the content on that web page.
If a low traffic keyword suits the topic of the content published, then using it would be a better option. That is because the high traffic keyword may not necessarily convey the category of that specific page.
Avoid superfluous words
Some content management systems display the category of a URL. While this can be perceived as simplifying a site link’s purpose, it’s not as significant. A URL can do without a category feature in the link. However, if you must use a category, then make sure that it’s not explicitly evident.
So, instead of a link structure that looks like this – /category/velvet-cake
You may use a link structure that looks like this – /velvet-cake
The word ‘category’ is not needed, and so, it does not find any purpose in a URL.
Add a URL title that doesn’t need updating in the future
Some URLs may have a date inserted. Such blogs may need updating for the following years. That is because a blog that defines the year may not hold any significance once the year has passed.
Readers would like to read about the top cake shops in Mumbai 2023 because they are present in that year. In that case, you have to ensure that the date is changed every year and update the latest cake types. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a URL without a date.
Trailing Slash in URLs
Most websites have main pages, which then lead into sub-sections. For instance, the services page is the parent page, while the specific services within this page will be called the children pages.
Trailing slashes are used in URLs for children pages.
Parent page – http://www.brand-services.com
Children page – http://www.brand-services.com/strategising/
The service delivering expertise on strategising is a children’s page, and therefore the resulting URL comes with a trailing slash.
However, Google is flexible with the use of trailing slashes in URLs. You don’t have to use them, but if you do, use them consistently across your website.
URLs for SEO Purposes
SEO-friendly URLs, or as we would like to call them – user-centric URLs have significant relevance than one might expect. Google is becoming increasingly flexible with URLs in SERPs; however, other search engines like Bing still show them.
Structured links provide users with an easy way to read links before they click. This step helps websites gain relevant click-through rates rather than ones that result in increased bounce rates.
Also, shorter URLs make it easier for the user to remember and share with others.
Note that all reasons for a URL’s structure to be a certain way points to the user’s convenience. So, whenever you construct a URL structure, ensure that it is readable and memorable from a user’s perspective.
Shortened URLs are more prone to sharing. Sharing URLs makes a webpage popular, and popularity gels well with SEO practices.
The URL is the least noticed format, but it helps in ranking web pages. Let us, your SEO experts, ensure that your web page URLs are in no way compromise on the quality of the structure. We’ll make sure that your users find your URLs share-worthy. Contact us for a free consultation on the best SEO practices for your website.