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URL Structure Best Practices
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Ann over at Search Engine Journal had a great post on some SEO best practices for URL structure. She illustrates some key points that are worth mentioning. I've added a few of my own tips as well.
  1. Length of URL - should be no more than 3 - 5 words. There are a number of reasons for this, as studies have shown that short URLs tend to get more clicks.

  2. Use dashes as word separators - There has been conflicting information on this... should we use dashes or underscores? Well from my experience, dashes are the way to go. By using dashes, you can help the search engines see each hyphenated word as a single word. Not to mention using dashes gives your URLs a cleaner look. In addition when interlinking pages from within page copy, underscores tend to blend in with the underlined feature of the hyperlink, so using dashes or hyphens can be much more user friendly.

  3. Create Static URLS - there are more easily crawled by the search engines.

  4. Ideally you want to have one URL for each unique page that you have on your site - if you append your URLs and display the same content on these pages you run the risk of duplicate content issues. Avoid having multiple variations of the same page with different URLs.

  5. Use 301 Redirects when Changing URLs - don;t make users and the search engine crawlers work to find your content. If you are changing a URL make sure that you use a permanent 301 redirect to direct the user to your new URL.
URL structure is a critical component to the success of your site. If the spiders cannot crawl and follow your URLs, chances are you will not be doing as well as you should be in the online space. Clean URL structure can go a long way for online success.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, July 03, 2008  
  • At 8:06 AM, Blogger Rob said…

    One thing I've noticed (and recommend against) is that a lot of sites sometimes use "/" instead of "-" when rewriting URLs as it is generally easier to implement. However there is a maximum folder depth most engines will crawl to (usually 3 or 4). since each "/" represents a folder one can see how easily your important content can get lost to the engines. Therefore the best solution I've found for really dynamic sites is a combination of slashes and dashes. Use slashes to help theme your site by making some content appear to reside in certain areas, then use dashes to take care of the rest.

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About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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