URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. From an SEO aspect this is simply the
web address of any web page. For example the URL of this page is
Although you do not necessarily have to worry about the way your URL's are named
from a web building point of view, from an SEO standpoint you should always have
descriptive directory and web page names. Making the keywords part of the web page
URL will give your pages an little extra search engine presence, as it makes your
pages 'friendlier' for search engine spiders and robots. Search engines are more
likely to recognise each of your pages as unique.
For your human visitors, descriptive file names could be the difference between a
click on your page, and a click on a competitor. The page URL is always shown in
the search engine results, with the search keywords highlighted in bold. As a human
user reading this page, if you have found it by searching for a combination of 'website',
'design', 'seo', 'url', 'structure',
the keywords targeted by this web site and this
web page in particular, you are far more likely to click on this page, than if the
URL was something cryptic and deciphered only be the webmaster, such as
http://www.littledetails.co.uk/wwdxx1/susxx1.php. You should also avoid generic page
names, such as numbering your pages, page1.html, page2.html etc. Pages named in this
way are more likely to be treated by Google as 'In order to show you the most relevant
results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the XX already displayed' and
not be displayed in the first batch of Google results.
A descriptive URL is far more likely to be remembered by a user, and typed in to the address bar from memory. It would also be very easy to miss a character out of a cryptic URL, and for that reason also other webmasters will be far more likely to provide a link to your pages with descriptive URLs.
Despite your best efforts to guide inbound links with the perfect anchor text for your pages, one of the most important aspects of SEO, many webmasters still simply display the URL of the page as anchor text. A descriptive URL containing the exact anchor text keywords you wish to target, will still reap the benefits of those keywords.
From both a search engine spidering and human user point of view, a simple URL structure
is best. Whilst deeply structured URLs will still eventually be indexed by the search
engines, you should avoid a structure with unnecessary levels such as:
http://www.littledetails.co.uk/winning/website/designs/seo/url/structure.php as the
pages will take longer to be indexed than if you only have one or two levels of directories.
You may find the pages at the end of such a deep directory structure never receive a
Google Page Rank, as Google does not view them as being important enough. Even with
a tiered structure of internal linking, you are best to keep pages one or two directory
levels deep. Having pages with different subjects within the same directory does not
affect the tiered structure, does not reduce the reputation of the pages, and is
preferable to having multiple levels of directories as shown on this example.
Avoid linking to pages with a mix of capital and lower case URL links from different
sections of your web site. If the search engine can find more than one version of
a link to a page, it may regard this as two pages with duplicate content, and you
may be penalised. According to the Google Webmaster Guidelines 'this could split
the reputation of that content between the URL's.' Stick to one convention throughout.
Our best recommendation is to keep every link as lower case, as the convention on the
internet is for users to always type lower case URLs in to the address bar, and this
is the way other webmasters are likely to link to your pages. Please note, this refers
'href' HTML part of the link and not the anchor text displayed on the page.
Also note the best way to space your URL words for best search engine spidering is
with a hyphen
If your site relies upon a database for its content, or for any reason requires variables
to be passed to the page via the URL, try and avoid appending the URL with the variables.
For example, this URL could have been dynamically written as:
Note on this example there are three variables passed to the page: page_type = designs,
section = seo, page_title = url_structure. Whilst Google will do a good job of crawling
this page including the variables as it goes, other search engines may not find this
page at all, and your other efforts at on page optimisation may be lost. Where possible
you should provide static URLs for your dynamic pages, and use the page code to pull
the variables from the URL. This page is a good example of a dynamic page with a