11 Best Practices for SEO-friendly URL Structures in 2024

Is a URL only an address to a webpage? Or is there more to it? The truth is that URL structures matters for SEO – for UX (user experience ) and ranking. This post is your ultimate guide. It covers eleven best practices for SEO-friendly URL Structures.

Let’s dive in.

Define URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is defined as the address of a website on the Internet. It is the link that searchers click to visit a specific webpage.

A URL can be broken down into protocol, domain, and path:

  • Protocol: The protocol (typically: https or http) means how the browser accesses information on the web page. “https” means hypertext transfer protocol secure.
  • Domain:
    • Sub domain: For example, www stands for World Wide Web.
    • Root domain: The root domain or second-level domain is the name of your website.
    • TLD or Top Level Domain: There are many top-level domains, e.g.:
      • Two letters indicate a country, such as “in” for India and “za” for South Africa.
      • “.com” is for commercial websites, “.gov” is for government agencies or departments, etc.
  • Path: The last part is the path providing directions to your page on a domain.
    • Slug: The slug is the category under which the web page is located.
    • Article Permalink: the post/blog name


Customize the URL structure to the purpose of the website

The URL structures of websites are different, and they are adapted or customized to the purpose of the website. The URL structures of educational, government, e-commerce, and membership websites differ.

However, what is shared is that the same best practices for SEO-friendly URL structures will apply to all these websites.


Consider two critical aspects of the URL structure: UX and ranking.

A URL links the online user and your website. The URL structure matters for the following two reasons.

Enhance user experience (UX) with the right URL structure.

A great UX is crucial to creating the proper URL structure. The target is to make your website organized and easy to navigate for people.

Simple URLs also help Google and other search engines deliver results to searchers that answer their questions.

Improve Page Ranking with optimized URL Structures. Google and other search engines get information about web pages from the URL structures.

When URL structures are optimized for online users, Google and other search engines can also crawl as well as index websites better. This enables search engines to deliver relevant information to searchers’ queries.

URLs are a ranking factor for Google; optimized URL structures boost page ranking.


Apply these 11 best practices for SEO-friendly URL Structures.

Eleven best practices to apply when you develop your SEO-friendly URL structures.

1. Create a good URL Structure.

Aim for a URL structure that is:

  1. Simple
  2. Logical
  3. Understandable (the words convey meaning) and
  4. Easy to remember

When developing the URL structure, consider online users and Google.


2. Keep the URL short and straightforward.

Long URLs require more effort from online users to read. They also risk being truncated by Google in the search results.


3. Use keywords in the URL.

Using one or two meaningful and relevant keywords in the URL is critical.

Avoid, however, practicing “keyword stuffing” by adding too many keywords to the URL. Google may consider this spam, which will have the opposite effect you aim for.


4. Separate words by hyphens

Use hyphens to separate words in URLs. This is critical since spaces or underscores are not used in URLs. Hyphens are thus required to separate words.

Separating the words improves the UX and tells Google where the breaks between words are.


5. Use lowercase letters

URLs are case-sensitive. The best practice is to use lowercase letters throughout.

Lowercase letters make it easier for online users to enter and eliminate potential issues of duplicate content.


6. Prioritise security

HTTPS is the HTTP protocol that is enhanced with security.

With HTTPS, the online user and website communication is encrypted through an SSL (secure sockets layer) so that hackers cannot read it. Prioritizing security creates more trust between online users and Google. HTTPS sends a positive ranking signal to Google.


7. Don’t use stop words

It’s a good practice for SEO-friendly URLs to eliminate stop words from URLs to make them shorter, simpler, and easier to read.

The use of stop words like and, of, a, or, an, etc must be avoided.


8. Ensure to redirect older URLs

As your website evolves, you may change the URL structure. In this situation, implementing permanent redirects is an SEO best practice. If somebody uses the old URL, they will automatically be taken to the new URL.

Redirects ensure you eliminate broken links affecting both online users and search engines.


9. Know when to spell out numbers.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” practice regarding numbers. In some cases, spelling out is better, while in other cases, using a number may be better. The best practice is to use sound judgment.

One exception can be highlighted. When you use the year, e.g., 2024, it is always better to use the numbers.


10. Don’t display the www prefix.

Displaying the www prefix has become unnecessary, and it is better to hide it. If you hide the www prefix, the URL will be shorter, easier to write, and consume less space.

Short, easy-to-understand URLs are a best practice for SEO-friendly URLs.


11. Ensure the URL reflects the page content

Webpages should be trustworthy in line with Google’s  EEAT. The website URL should reflect the page content accurately to improve the UX and increase the click-through rate.


Ready to unleash the power of SEO-friendly URLs?

We have just reviewed 11 best practices for SEO-friendly URLs. Applying these concepts, you will undoubtedly reap the benefits of optimizing your URLs for a good user experience and Google ranking.

Don’t delay to take action.

The Justwords team has SEO professionals eager to help you. Contact us today, and we will be your partner.

About The Author

Bhuwan Kocchar

Bhuwan comes with a great years of experience of SEO superb knowledge in WordPress and many more technologies. He dedicates his time to ensure every business achieves success in its journey. His mission is to create, execute, and inspire with his line of work. He believes in long term relationships with his organization.


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