TechnologyHow to Create SEO-Friendly URLs for Better Rankings

How to Create SEO-Friendly URLs for Better Rankings


URLs are one of the most important pieces to SEO. In many cases, it is overlooked and seen as something that is not important. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you have a URL that accurately describes your content. This means that you have to take the time and manually edit the URL so that it matches your content accordingly. When search engines crawl your site, having the right content matched with the right URL is critical. This will contribute to an increase in your page and site rankings.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly URLs are URLs that are created in a way that is easy for web crawlers and users to read. This means that you want your URL to describe accurately what the content is about. When working with WordPress, the default setting for URL structure is not friendly to SEO. In most cases, you’ll have a URL that looks like something like this: Not only is your site visitor not able to understand what the content would be about, but neither can search engines. If you were to change the URL so it looks like this:, it becomes a lot clearer what the content will be. This is beneficial because it helps your site visitor determine whether or not they’ll be interested in clicking/reading more about the content as well. If your URL is not easily understandable and clickable, there is a chance that you could miss an opportunity to capture a reader’s interest. This means that they would go back to the search results and click on another link. Now, to stop that from happening, you need to make sure your URL is clear, accurate, and descriptive.

What are SEO-friendly URLs?

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to come to the website and simply type in its address or use the search engine to find the page they want. This is the purpose of a search engine friendly URL. It should also be easy for users who want to link to a page from your website. Suppose someone comes to your website, looks at a web page, and decides to bookmark it because they know they can easily reach that page again. Now, if the URL is search engine friendly, the person simply needs to copy the URL from the address bar and store it in a notepad. The URL should be rich for the page. With an SEO friendly URL, the page can be easily located. This is not only helpful for repeat visitors but also for casual visitors who may have saved the URL in anticipation of viewing that page after some time.

SEO friendly URLs provide an excellent internet site search engine and user-friendly experience. Users find the web locate convenient when it comes to reaching any web page with just a couple of clicks. An SEO friendly URL structure is beneficial for everyone, including those new to search engines or those familiar with them.

The URLs which are optimized for search engine are known as SEO friendly URLs. The built-in CS-Cart SEO assistant relies mainly on well SEO optimized friendly URLs and many are asking exactly what constitutes an SEO friendly URL.

Importance of SEO-friendly URLs for better rankings

Static URLs always work better than dynamic URLs. Dynamic URLs can often have many unrecognizable parameters and characters, session IDs, and other code that is not easily readable to the search engines and users. Often times there are many websites that have URLs appearing like [Link] Dynamic URLs are difficult to index and read from search engine spiders, while static URLs are a lot easier to read.

Right from helping an easy understanding of what the page content is for, to a clearer sense of the structure of the website, to easier management of incoming links to those URLs, there are plenty of benefits of having SEO-friendly URLs. Your goal on building a website is to increase your users and incoming traffic. By organizing and labeling your website’s URLs will help you achieve that. If you have a website already up and running, take more advantage of how you have labeled your URLs and try to change them to beneficially affect SEO. If you are still in the development stages of a website, it’s optimal to build the site with SEO friendly techniques in mind. Everything that is text on the webpage can be optimized down to the URL and affect organic search results.

Guidelines for Creating SEO-friendly URLs

The first guideline suggests the importance of relevancy in terms of putting the keyword in the URL. URLs that contain relevant keywords will provide a clear idea for the web surfer and the search engine about the page topic. Compared to URLs that contain page ID or database URLs, these URLs will give less information to the user and the search engine before they are able to click on the link. But be careful, avoid using general words in your URL to prevent stiff competition with the same keyword. Try to be more specific in the keyword that you want to use. For example, use the keyword “Dog Training Tips” compared to “Pets Training.” The general keyword will have tougher competition to rank.

  1. Use relevant words within your URL.
  2. Make your URL shorter and more descriptive.
  3. Utilize hyphens to separate the words in your URL.
  4. Avoid using parameters to make the dynamic URL.

In order to create the SEO URL that generates higher rankings in the search engine result pages, it is a good idea to consider the possible guidelines related to building SEO-friendly URLs. By using the SEO-friendly URL, you’ll have a higher chance to rank better since it’s more user-friendly, easier for the search engine to understand what the page is all about, and easier to implement the anchor text when other websites want to link to your page. Five guidelines exist to guide webmasters in building SEO-friendly URLs:

Use relevant keywords in the URL

One way to achieve this is to create search engine friendly URLs for each of the pages on your site. This is a particularly important practice for really new sites and for sites that don’t yet have many incoming links to their pages. Other sites, a page receiving strong PageRank, can get away with more complex URLs and still rank highly. Static URLs are easier to rank. While this is not a realistic option for many sites, static URLs are the best bet. If your website does use a content management system, be sure that the URL is not too complex. Using mod_rewrite to use dynamic URLs may be something to consider. This is especially useful for ecommerce sites that may have 5+ parameters tacked onto the end of the URL. Static URLs containing keywords are often a strong factor in getting some kinds of pages to rank highly. Duration and ease of use are the only cons to this method. Static URLs are obviously easier to remember for end users and easier to bookmark. When using a content management system with a mod_rewrite feature to change the dynamic URL, there can be a bit of a learning curve for the administrators.

The objective of search engine optimization (SEO) is to get search engine spiders not only to find your site and pages, but also to specifically rank the page relevance so that it appears at the top of the search engine results.

Keep URLs short and descriptive

It’s important to keep URLs concise, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose context. According to a study by Backlinko, shortened URLs tend to perform better in Google results. He states that “shorter URLs are, on average, correlated with higher rankings.” However, it’s important not to lose descriptive power. Moz does a good job of this by truncating extraneous details in their URLs, sticking strictly to the pertinent information. An example of this would be a blog post URL: [Link], opposed to [Link] just to save clicks. By keeping their URL concise, they are still able to convey all pertinent information. Sometimes less is more. He also points out that there are always exceptions to the rule, and it’s possible for a long URL to still perform well. A common sense approach should be taken, matching the URL to the context of the page or blog post. An extremely brief URL that doesn’t match the context of the content will likely be less effective. Be succinct, but compromise between length and information.

Use hyphens to separate words in the URL

Quite simply, the more words there are in your URL, the more diluted the value of each word becomes. The basic premise is to provide as much value from each word that you include in a URL, so as to increase the value of your URL and therefore the value of the page in terms of SEO. Only add words to the URL if it is absolutely necessary and they are relevant to the content of the page. When adding a new page to your website, studying the URL and determining the relevance of every word is good practice in aiding to maintain and further enhance the value of your URL.

So, how should you separate words in your URL? The best way is to use hyphens (-). Remember, the goal of the URL is to provide a clear indication of what the content is about, and hyphens provide a simple and easy-to-read way of doing that. A much lesser method, which will give you the same effect, is using an underscore (_), but many argue that that is not an aesthetically pleasing URL. So, hyphens are the more favored method.

Avoid using unnecessary parameters or numbers in the URL

Although there is a setting in the parameter handling tool to tell Google to ‘ignore’ certain parameters, this is not recommended if these parameters result in content that you DO want the search engines to index, as Google will crawl the content, but not index the correct URL. In this situation it is best to use a robots.txt file to block the content you do not want indexed. This will be easier for you to maintain in the long run, as the parameter handling tool settings can sometimes be lost. Using a robots.txt file will also block the content from the other search engines, whereas the parameter handling tool only affects Google.

Another option to prevent parameters from resulting in multiple URLs for the same content is to use the parameter handling tool in Google Webmaster Tools. This setting can be found under ‘configuration’ in the site configuration section. You can use this tool to tell Google to handle certain parameters in a certain way. This can reduce the amount of duplicate content pages Google thinks you have, and consolidate your PageRank.

An example of the Canonical tag would be:

Using unnecessary parameters and numbers in your URL can result in the wrong pages being indexed and reduce the effectiveness of your SEO. Unnecessary parameters can result in a search engine (such as Google) treating your pages as different pages, despite a sequence of parameters actually showing the same content. An example of this would be pages with a ‘sort by price’ option. These pages sort the items by price, but it is still the same original content. Pages with a different sort option selected will have a different URL, so Google will see these as different pages when in fact the content is exactly the same. This is where you can use a ‘rel-canonical’ to tell the search engines what the original page is. This attribute specifies the preferred version of a set of pages with similar content (not to be confused with a redirect which is when a page automatically takes you to the new URL).

Best Practices for Optimizing URLs

It’s always useful to use keywords if the content on the page corresponds to the URL. It gives it more credibility and really sets a mental picture to browsers on what to expect by clicking.

A study done by Search Engine World on “ranking factors” shows that having your keyword in the URL is the most powerful and influential factor in determining high search engine results. URLs that contain the key term rank higher than those that do not. The same study shows a 24% difference between rankings. Of the URLs that currently appear in the top ten results, 75% of them have the key phrase in the URL.

Including target keywords in your URL is essential. An up-to-date practice which is far more important than using meta tags to get your key terms and key phrases listed high in search engines. In taking your key terms to the URLs, it gives it more value when indexing as search engines use the text in URLs and links to determine search content and ranking. It’s a major relevancy signal.

Include target keywords at the beginning of the URL

An important note for webmasters who are in the process of creating a new webpage or are rebuilding an existing one: always plan the URL ahead of the release. Changing the URL when the page has already been indexed by a search engine may cause a loss in ranking.

The use of URL parameters ( is also a method to avoid. This type is not very SEO-friendly and is difficult for a search engine to read. If it is necessary to use parameters, it is recommended that you use URL Rewrites to create more friendly URLs.

A URL that consists of only your domain and the keyword ( is concise and relevant. But it is very likely that this URL could already exist, so you may be forced to use a format such as or The best course of action for you in the long run would be to have a dispatcher create a URL using a URL rewrite, which we will discuss in a later chapter.

From our previous discussion about the importance of keywords in the content of a webpage, you probably understand why this method is also a crucial step in improving SEO. A search engine looks for the keyword(s) in order to produce results, so having the keyword in the URL (together with the tag and content) can improve the chances that the page will rank for that keyword.

Avoid using stop words in the URL

Alright, now it is very much possible that your website may contain a lot of duplicate content or similar pages. The usage of stop words in URLs can be somewhat considered as one of the indirect reasons. Search engines treat different URLs as different pages. If 2 URLs are having stop words between some common strings, it might be considered as the same page. And if you have used canonical URLs to solve the duplicate content problem, different URLs treated as the same page will make your task more difficult. Using the same example as above, a page with URL “” and a page with URL “” might be considered as the same page when it is not. This can affect your SEO and rankings in a negative way.

Search engine is simply a kind of matching machine. Whenever someone is searching for the content available on the internet, the search engine tries to match what the user is searching with the available content on the internet. Now when a URL contains a stop word, it might be possible that the search engine might not be able to match the URL with the desired content. For instance, a user is searching for the keyword “Tricks to play better chess”. Now there are 2 URLs “” and “”. It is obvious that the second URL contains the desired content. But the first URL might get higher rankings because it is a match for the search query even though the content is not exactly about what the user is searching. In this case, the usage of stop words will force you to unnecessarily target more competitive keywords and it will become more difficult to achieve better rankings.

Create unique URLs for each page

Creating unique URLs for each page will assist in organizing the website and optimizing each individual page. Uniqueness between URLs is important because it helps users and search engines distinguish between separate pages. For example, if a user selects a link to a product and then selects another product, it would be beneficial for the user to know they are moving to a new page of a new product. If the URL is the same for both product pages, the user could potentially become confused or mix up the URLs when trying to return to a recipe. Using unique URLs that are descriptive and use the structure of the site helps both users and search engines better understand the flow of your website. This allows Google easier indexing and can result in an overall higher ranking of the website. Unique URLs have been shown to be one of the higher weighted search engine ranking factors. Imagine each URL as an address for a specific document; if each address is unique and specific, it is easier to distinguish between documents.

Use lowercase letters in the URL

If you are using uppercase characters in your URLs, you might be using something like: [Link] Search engines can sometimes have trouble indexing your page if your URL contains a mix of both upper and lower case characters. Your URL should be consistent and not cause search engines to question how your page should be indexed. Using all lower case letters will eliminate this problem and can in turn increase your search engine ranking. Use of lower case letters is also recommended when using a file extension at the end of your URL. This is dependent on your server and file system but generally file names are case sensitive. This means there is a difference between a file named page.htm and a file named page.htm. If you are linking to the file in the URL, it would be best to use all lower case letters to guarantee that you are pointing to the file you intended. This is safer than using different cases and assuming that it will work because of your server and file system.

Implement proper URL structure for easy navigation

When a website consists of multiple subdirectories, it may become a difficult task to return to a higher-level page. For instance, in the URL [Link], it may be difficult to change the list of uids to another query if the URL is kept as a single string of name-value pairs. To avoid this situation, some sites may wish to use name-value pairs as an abstraction for a higher-level directory structure. In order to provide an easy way to change to a different list of uids, a site could change the implemented URL structure to [Link] In this case, the change to a different directory level is simulated by use of another query to achieve the same information. The ability to abstract to a higher-level directory structure should be used as an alternative to changing name=value pairs to other inappropriate methods such as forking to entirely new URLs with the same content.

Tools and Resources for URL Optimization

The most powerful tools for URL optimization are the server header checker and the server status code checker. URL and domain redirects can be accomplished via numerous techniques and server status codes, but they are often implemented improperly. Server header and status code checking empower webmasters to ensure the proper implementation and effectiveness of URL/directory/domain changes. Step-by-step analysis and examples of the correct implementation of URL redirects are too detailed for this resource, but will be outlined in a future resource. Server header and status code checking tools are so valuable and important to this topic that recommendations have been provided to the existing developers of server header checkers to add additional advanced features. This subject will be discussed at a later date.

– Backlink anchor text analysis using the Link Anchor Text Analysis tool. – Search engine saturation of index using AllinTitle search.

– Comparison of two different keyword density analyses using the Compare Tool.

– Indexing of the site for multiple Google data centers using Google Datacenter Watch.

– Relating Google PageRank to a specific page using the Search Engine Position Tool.

SEO analysis tools for URL optimization: This is the most indispensable part of the SEO URL optimization process. Tools can simplify the complex method and save time. The visualization tools mentioned below can illustrate the outcomes of URL and domain choices. Although data visualization tools do not guarantee better website traffic, they can clarify the implications of URL and domain choices.

Ahead of learning about practices and techniques for URL optimization, let us understand the tools that need to be used in this regard and online resources that should be referred to for better understanding and implementation.

SEO analysis tools for URL optimization

The Info-Trek URL Analyzer Tool is a similar program that checks URLs for Search Engine friendliness. It rates the various components of a URL and gives it an overall score out of 100. A web page URL can also be entered to allow comparison of the scores before and after making any necessary changes.

The URL analyzing tool from SEO Chat is a very powerful utility that allows the user to analyze the various components of a URL. It compares the URL to the criteria set out by Google in the webmaster guidelines to give a concise report [5]. The program consists of 3 segments. The first segment breaks the URL into its various components assigning them a score where E=Fail, C=Warning and A=Good. This helps identify which part of the URL is not up to standard. The second segment analyzes the URL against the data in the Google search index to check for any discrepancies. The final segment computes a summary as well as giving advice on what changes need to be made to the URL.

URL rewriting techniques for better SEO

Second one is Path Info: This is a rather less used method, but it is quite similar to the query string. In the path info method, you have a single script file, in which the entire URL is broken down into logical components, i.e., URL path is split into logical sub-components, file name, and values. It uses a forward slash (/) delimiter to specify the URL components. Now, consider the same example of the above category. The path info URL will look like index.php/3/categoryname. So, the category name for category ID 3 is stored after the category id separated by the / delimiter. Similar to the query string, this URL can be converted to index.php/3/categoryname with the help of URL rewriting module/code. Now, the URL looks better. But remember, path info is not supported by all servers and it makes it difficult to develop and maintain the pages. Hence, it is a less used method.

This is a simple and most widely used method for URL rewriting. In this method, you have a script file, most probably index.asp or index.php, that takes parameters from the URL. Parameters are in the form of name/value pairs, such as index.asp?categoryid=3. Now, this URL does not tell anything about the content of the page. In the query string method, you can rewrite this URL to index.asp/categoryname. The category name can be the same as the id value 3, but this is more meaningful. This can be done using URL rewriting module/code, which converts the id to the category name using a lookup table and then places it into the URL. Now, the URL looks better than index.asp?categoryid=3.

Online resources for learning more about SEO-friendly URLs

For those who are visual or auditory learners, there are a number of video and audio resources available that cover the topic of URL optimization. A quick search of YouTube will bring up hundreds of videos. However, the quality and accuracy of these videos is often questionable. There are also a number of podcasts available through iTunes and other sources. Unfortunately, those are also of mixed quality.

SEO Chat ( is a site that offers a variety of tools and articles on various aspects of SEO, including URL optimization. The quality of the articles varies, but there are some real gems hidden there. SEW forums are usually helpful too. Unfortunately, their recent site upgrade has seen a massive increase in advertising which can be quite a nuisance.

Another good community site is the High Rankings Forums ( As the name suggests, this forum is also dedicated to SEO. The active membership base ensures that your questions regarding URL optimization will be answered. Like Webmaster World, this site is free of spam and novice SEOs, but unfortunately the volume of information isn’t as great.

One of the best online resources for learning more about SEO-friendly URLs is the Webmaster World ( This site is a goldmine for anything to do with SEO and is full of information regarding search engine optimization. It is a community site and therefore the information is only as good as the people who contribute to it. Luckily, Webmaster World boasts a strong community of knowledgeable SEOs. Although the site is pay to enter, there is a free trial membership.

Must read

Peripheral Arterial Disease in the Elderly: Recognizing and Managing Risks

Functional impairment caused by PAD is of particular significance...

Knee Pain and Lifestyle: Tips for Maintaining Mobility in Singapore

The knee is a complex joint that flexes, extends,...

5 Good Reasons to Use an RV Storage Facility

Are you a proud RV owner looking for the...

4 Effective Floor Maintenance Tips You Should Consider

Whether it’s a matter of keeping the floor in...