In SEO land, URLs have been a hot topic. There’s a lot of information that has been circulated around URLs. On top of that, URLs are more of a ‘techy’ component of SEO. URLs have a role in SEO. There are factors that contribute to having an ‘SEO-worthy‘ URL. Below are 4 things to keep in mind to achieve this.
1. URL Anatomy
To ensure that we’re all starting at the same point, let’s talk through the anatomy of a URL. To demonstrate this, the URL for one of Simplified’s blog is shown below.
.com- top-level domain
As we can see, each component of the URL has a title. If we were missing any piece, we wouldn’t have a functioning URL. Instead, we would get our favorite thing: 404 error.
With that in mind, the slug is often considered to have a larger impact on SEO than the other components. This is because you have to select the slug each time you create a new page (or post, etc). So, take advantage of that! Next, we’ll cover how to do this.
2.Creating an SEO-worthy URL slug
- Keywords are the words that people are searching for. If they are included in our slug, our page is more likely to show up.
- Google knows that users are searching for these terms. So, there’s a better chance that Google will boost your site higher than other sites that have ‘irrelevant’ words in the slug.
You’re probably wondering what this looks like in real life.
Let’s think about an online therapy page for a clinical practice in Texas. After doing some keyword research, here are the results that I found.
The results indicate that “online therapy” has the highest search volume (5,300 searches over the last 30 days). ‘Online counseling’ is the second highest (1,900 searches in the last 30 days).
Another option is ‘teletherapy.’ However, the keyword research shows that significantly fewer people are searching for ‘teletherapy.’ According to the tool we use for keyword research, approximately 900 people in all of Texas have searched for ‘teletherapy’ over the last 30 days.
So. . .
With all of this in mind, it would make the most sense for us to include ‘online therapy in Texas’ in the slug for our page. This is because it has the highest search volume compared to all of the other keywords we could have included. Again, keywords are vital to SEO as they are the words that are searched the most by our ideal clients.
3. Make sure to remove special characters and numbers
Special characters include backlashes, square brackets, space, exclamation, double quote, number sign, and other characters. The Internet Engineering Task Force refers to these characters as unsafe characters if they are in a URL. These characters are considered unsafe for a variety of reasons. These are considered unsafe because these characters have other “jobs” for coding. If they are used incorrectly, it can result in your URL not operating correctly. This can result in a critical error on your site. And, unfortunately, critical errors can have a significantly negative impact on SEO.
Overall, the big takeaway is that it’s best not to add anything besides letters (and maybe numbers- if it makes sense).
4. Changing existing URLs.
So, there’s a good chance that you’re reading this blog and panicking a little bit. You’re probably thinking about some of the URLs on your site that don’t follow the rules discussed in this blog. So, you might as well change them and fix the problem, right?
Eh, not exactly.
Changing URLs is tricky and it has to be done correctly. Unfortunately, changing a URL can so easily be done incorrectly. To change a URL correctly requires a few things so you avoid having a bunch of 404 errors on your website.
One of those things is 301-redirect. A 301 redirect permanent redirect that passes full ranking power to the redirected page. This way, users are still able to access all of the pages on your site. Think of this as moving to a different address. When you move, you should provide your new address to the post office so your mail is sent to you. Because if it isn’t, you could miss something really important.
An additional consideration to be mindful of is the impact that this can have on your SEO.
It is not uncommon for SEO to drop after this change happens. This is because Google will likely take a little while to ‘readjust’ to your URL for that page. Essentially, to give you the SEO credit for your page. It may take a little while for Google to associate and adjust to the new URL. So, we often advise our clients that their SEO may bounce around for a while. However, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! Changing your URL properly can be beneficial in the end. Of course, if all the things are done the way they should be. If you’re considering this, we encourage you to seek out a professional who can point you in the right direction.
I hope you learned a thing or two about URLs!
At Simplified, our goal is to help you establish SEO in the manner that fits your goals the best. For some, that will be getting to know all things URLs! With that in mind, our SEO Specialists would love to help you dream and scheme of where your SEO journey is heading. Our SEO Specialists have a variety of different experiences and can bring this to the table! We offer a variety of different services, including Done For You and Done With You services. If you’d like to get the SEO party started, follow these steps:
- Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us.
- Get to know our team of highly skilled and experienced SEO specialists.
- Add the skill of URL optimization to your toolbelt!
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About the Author
Alyssa has been a member of the Simplified family for the past year. And, is now stepping into a role providing training and additional support for folks learning SEO. A recent MSW graduate, Alyssa loves the world of mental health and technology. In addition, Alyssa has a growing interest in using social media to grow a practice, the importance of live feed, and building backlinks. She wrote a two-part blog post series about the importance of blogging for SEO. This series addressed the importance of blogging and original content. In addition, she is co-hosting a blogging masterclass that will soon be available for purchase. Stick around for some more hands-on opportunities!