UI Inspector

The ultimate guide to an SEO Friendly URL structure

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs describe the location of a document or page for visitors and search engines.

Your preferred way of structuring the URLs on your website is called your URL structure.

Why it’s important for SEO

Setting a clear URL structure is important for a website's Information Architecture which defines, among other things, how your content is made accessible to visitors and search engines. It defines the relationships among pages and what URLs and directories to use.

Having an Information Architecture provides everyone clarity about what URLs to use and forces you to think ahead about your URLs.

But what preferences can you choose from? In order to answer that question, let's look at the anatomy of a URL.

The anatomy of a URL

Let's break down https://www.example.com/about/team?member=kevin#experience:

  • Protocol: https://
  • Subdomain: www
  • Domain: example.com
  • Directory: about
  • Page: team
  • Parameters: ?member=kevin
  • Fragment: #experience

Protocol: HTTP or HTTPs

Choose whether or not to serve your URLs over a secure connection, using the HTTPS protocol.

Best practice It's recommended to serve your URLs over HTTPS. If you're still making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS, make sure to 301-redirect requests for the HTTP variant of URLs to the HTTPS variant of URLs. And vice versa.

Subdomain or no subdomain

Choose whether or not you'll use the www subdomain.

Best practice

If you choose to use www, make sure to 301-redirect requests for URLs without the www subdomain to the URL variant with www. And vice versa.

Domain name

The domain name consists of a name and an extension: a Top Level Domain (TLD).

Best practice

If you're in the position to choose a new domain, choose one that's short and easy to remember.

Directories in URLs

While it's important to keep URLs as short as possible, it's also recommended to group related URLs together on your website using directories. Directories can become useful for websites with even as few as 50 pages.

Are you having trouble organizing your URLs using only one level of directories because of the size of your website? You can use sub-directories if that helps bring back order but keep the amount of directories per URL as low as possible.

Best practice

Choose short directory names, to keep your URLs as short as possible.

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