An URL is a human readable text which replaces the IP address of a website. It not only defines the site or page but also represents different levels of files and navigation structure of a website. From an SEO point of view, having a right URL structure is very important for rankings in search results. SEO friendly URLs are not the only solutions for better search rankings but they are taken into account along with 200 other parameters while ranking a website. Generally, websites that do not have SEO-friendly URL structures such as incorrect, sub-optimal URLs have low recognition in search engines. A semantically correct URL with good structure will have better SEO rankings when compared to irrelevant and inaccurate URLs.
Let us look at the various elements of an URL structure:
A typical URL structure contains five parts, http (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), domain name, sub-directories or sub-folders, page name and extension.
HTTP / HTTPS
HTTP is an application protocol used on world wide web that defines the process of communication between browser and the server. HTTP stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’. When an attempt is made to access a website, the browser sends request through http to the server and the server provides responses specific to the browser request. If the request made is not successful, it responds to the client with error code accompanied by explanation indicating the reason for failed response. HTTP has many versions, and the latest being used now is https. The HTTPS protocol which stands for ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure’ sends data in encrypted form using procedures called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).
It is one of the most important element in the URL structure because it represents the address of your website on World Wide Web. Domain name makes it easy for the people to find, remember and share your company online. Domain names should not be too long and may or may not include the keywords. Domain names that exactly match the keyword phrase that the website is targeting are called exact match domains (EMD). Currently, having target keyword in the domain name doesn’t offer SEO benefits especially with Google which has created an algorithm fix to avoid poor quality websites from ranking in search engines. The domain name should be short, easy to spell, and relevant representing your brand. Many times, first time visitors don’t book mark or save site’s url. When they search again, they should be able to find your site easily.
Sub-directories or sub-folders
Sub-directories or sub-folders give a broad picture on website structure. Having different directories for documents not only help the sites to have an organized structure but also help search engines to navigate through the folders easily. From SEO point of view, having URLs with deep sub-folders are less preferred because search engines give low priority to URLs with extremely long and deep structures.
People often get confused between sub-directories and sub-domains while creating URL structures. Basically, when sub domains are used, URLs will look like http://subdomain.domain.com whereas in case of sub-folders the url structure will be http://domain.com/subfolder.
By: Uma Sri