What is a URL?
A URL is what shows up in the address bar of your browser that identifies the website you are visiting. URLs were created as human friendly text-based addresses to replace the IP address comprised of all numbers that computers use to communicate with the servers to fetch and display a website.
URLs also display how data is structured on the website and the server. It breaks in down into a hierarchy of categories and information. You should try to organize your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a way that they are as readable as possible to humans. The URL should reflect a hierarchy of information from the most broad topic to the most specific such as this made up example: www.animals.com/domestic/dogs/breeds/dalmation/dalmation-care.
In a real life example, you could look at this URL from the National Public Radio website: http://www.npr.org/sections/art-design/
From this you can see the main site (www.npr.org) is broken down to news sections (/sections), and out of those I am specifically on the page for the Art & Design news (/art-design). It is about logical organization and intuitive navigation.
URL vs Domain Name
Some people use the term URL and Domain Name interchangeably, but they are different. The domain name is the name of any given website. For example, the domain name of our website is getfoundquick.com. The URL is different because it identifies where you are on the website. For example, the URL of this page is http://www.getfoundquick.com/what-is-url-optimization/ as you can see, the domain name is included in the URL, but the URL breaks it down further to identify what page you are on.
Best SEO practices for URLs
URL’s should be as descriptive and concise as possible. URL optimization is the use of relevant keywords in your url. You don’t want to over stuff your URL with keywords or locations, that won’t help you. Instead, take the content of the page or document and choose keywords that best describe the content to use in the URL.
For example, on our website we have a landing page for the services we offer to Boston, MA. In this situation the content is about Search Engine Optimization services and the city of Boston, which are the two things we want to optimize for. The URL we chose for this page is www.getfoundquick.com/seo-boston-ma/
Here are some examples of what NOT to do:
Even though we want to optimize for those other keywords, the URL is not the place to do it.
Where this isn’t totally bad, it is still missing out on an opportunity to utilize a keyword
If possible, try to only use full words with correct semantics. URLs should be user and search engine friendly. Only use hyphens to separate words – not underscores or other punctuation or characters. Try to keep your URLs and page names brief but descriptive and use your hyphens sparingly. If you use too many hyphens in your URL it can be seen as spammy. Additionally, any URL longer than 2,048 characters will not open in Internet Explorer. In general, be concise and give the user an idea of what to expect on the page.
For more information on URL optimization and SEO practices, contact Boston Web Marketing at (857) 526-009