Permalinks are quite important when it comes to representing your content. Aside from being valuable to your site visitors in terms of assisting them in understanding what your pages and articles are about, they are also an essential part of your website’s SEO.
In their SEO starter guide, Google highlights the importance of creating simple, friendly URLs.
In particular, properly configured permalinks can aid search engines in determining the topic of your page or post. Naturally, this can help improve your page ranking as well as your website’s overall internet visibility.
That is why creating a robust permalink structure for your website should be high on your SEO priority list. And it is not so difficult to create.
What Is The Meaning Of an SEO-Friendly URL Structure?
In a word, SEO-friendly URLs are any URLs that aid people – and search engines – in determining if the content of those URLs is relevant. Search engines analyze URLs, along with other factors such as your meta title, the anchor text of your link, and the content itself, to determine what your page or post is about and whether it satisfies the needs of visitors.
When the internet was first launched, the URL structure was not particularly SEO-friendly. The main reason behind this was that there were fewer clearly defined SEO standards in the past, and search engine algorithms worked differently than they do now.
In addition, the URL structure was not as crucial as it is today. Since this regulation change, and because search engines pay much more attention to how your URLs are organized, every WordPress-powered site now has the ability to assist you to create your URLs in a user- and search engine-friendly manner.
Best Practices for Creating an SEO-Friendly URL Structure in WordPress
While WordPress gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing your preferred permalink format, there are some general guidelines you should follow if you want to generate fully SEO-friendly URLs.
Start With The Title Of Your Page
If you optimize the title of your page or post correctly, it becomes easy to create the best SEO-friendly URL. This way you don’t have to worry about the permalink every time you create a new page or post.
Always write an attractive heading for your posts that will attract the attention of users. Then make sure it also has other tips as described below.
Usage of Keywords
Although it should go without saying, if you don’t include a keyword in your URLs, people may not know what to expect when they click on your links. Many people, in fact, have a habit of hovering over any internal or external links they come across on various pages or postings.
This is done to double-check what the link in question is about and/or to get any further information, especially if the anchor text is unclear. Furthermore, by including a keyword (or key) in your URL, you are making it easier for search engines to understand that the page or post is about that keyword.
We recommend using the Post Name option in your WordPress Permalink Settings (found in Settings >> Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard) because your page or post title will most likely contain your keyword.
This option allows you to construct the most SEO-friendly URLs on your site because it has the title of your post separated by hyphens, making the information apparent to both visitors and search engines.
Try For Short URLs.
We’ll get right to the point: your URLs should always be brief and to the point. This means they should have your keyword (or key) and hyphens, as well as a small number of stop words (just those that are required to make your URLs simpler to read, such as “to,” “is,” “with,” “from,” and so on).
A decent rule of thumb is to limit yourself to one or two keywords per URL. You risk not receiving any credit from Google if you add more than that.
The reason behind this is simple: long URLs might cause search engines to become confused and make it more difficult to grasp what the page is about. Shorter URLs, on the other hand, assist readers in comprehending the content of your page clearly.
Let’s say you’ve written an article about how to build links for your WordPress site as a service for others like we do. Let’s also assume that “SEO Link Building Services” is the article’s keyword. Here’s an example of a URL that includes your keyword as well as the necessary stop words:
Furthermore, Google Webmaster guidelines state that adopting shorter URLs across your entire site will assist search engine crawlers to identify and index your content more effectively.
Specifically, URLs that are overly complicated or have a lot of parameters might cause problems since they can create a lot of URLs that lead to similar sorts of material on your site, causing Googlebot to consume a lot of bandwidth and not be able to effectively index all of your pages.
As a result, you should make every effort to build URLs that are as short as possible.
Remove Spaces And Bring Hyphens
The use of hyphens has already been covered briefly above. By include hyphens in your URLs, you are actually assisting search engines in distinguishing between distinct terms and allowing them to identify each one separately.
You also make it easier for users to figure out what your page or post is all about. As a result, we recommend using hyphens to separate words in your URLs, as in:
In our example, we utilized hyphens to separate four different words: “link”, “building”, “SEO,” and “service”
Avoid Dates In Permalinks
Despite the fact that WordPress allows you to specify your permalink structure by date (either by day and name or by month and name, to be more specific), this structure is regarded to be a little obsolete (pun intended).
Dates not only make your URL names appear longer, but they can also make it more difficult to update your material.
For example, if your post’s title is “Best SEO services in 2019,” and you want to change it to “Best SEO services in 2021,” the URL containing the year 2019 can make things a little confusing, as well as mislead search engines.
Furthermore, this can give visitors the impression that your articles are outdated, and as people want to read fresh and new information, having old dates in your URLs can hurt user engagement and even reduce site traffic.
Of course, you can always use 301 redirects to redirect your article to a new URL, but this isn’t workable for every piece of content you need to update. As a result, it’s preferable to leave dates out of your URLs to avoid any potential problems.
Try To Construct an Attractive URL
You should use the same rule to your URLs as you would to your post’s title to get the much-needed attention of users.
We already know that many people analyze URL names when evaluating what a page is about and whether or not they want to click on it. As a result, it’s critical to make sure your URLs are enticing and clickable to users.
Of course, applying and combining most of the above-mentioned tips will surely result in attractive URLs. So, aim for short, simple URLs that are easily understandable, include your keywords and don’t forget to use hyphens to properly separate your text.
How Long Should A Url Be For SEO
There is no specific answer for that as search engines do not specify a number for it. It is suggested by every SEO expert to keep it as short as possible.
Links with 2 – 3 catchy words make the URL friendly and easy to understand. This might help in clickability.
Long URLs will go outside of the visible part of the search engine results and also the address bar of the browsers. This looks ugly in the browser too.
With long-tail keywords, the URL address can get lengthy. But keeping it short with specific keywords will make it easy to remember for your users.
We say that the best URL length for SEO is the length that you and your website visitors can remember by reading it just once or twice. Keeping it short and sweet is the answer for this.
SEO Friendly URL For Images
Pictures and photos drive traffic to a website and help it rank higher in search engine results. The most important thing is to pick the right ones and set up friendly image URLs so that visitors and search engines can figure out what’s going on from the image address.
Naming your image or its alt value with one of your keywords or its synonyms is a good practice. This helps in image SEO.
Some other important tips to keep in mind for image URLs are:
- Short length: Try to keep the URL length as short as possible.
- Minimum Nesting: Try to keep fewer slashes aka folders in the URL structure.
- Input Keywords: Try to put 1 or 2 related keywords in the image name.
One of the examples of SEO friendly URL for images from Wikipedia is shown below:
The name, alt, and title characteristics, as well as the structure of related images, are used by search engine robots to recognize image content. The flow of free target traffic might be slightly influenced by keywords in the image URL.
Keep in mind that it’s critical to avoid using characters and spaces that have no semantic value.
SEO Friendly URL For E-commerce Store
The first stage is to determine whether your site is hyper-relevant to a single product type or broader in its targeting.
If we search for the term “buy TVs online USA” for example, we will see two different types of websites.
One is Best Buy, which, as the name implies, focuses on a wide range of electronic appliances, including televisions. They rank for this term on their TV subpage.
The other is Amazon’s TV subpage, which is obviously all about televisions, as evidenced by their homepage rating for this key phrase.
Amazon, for example, would be a “niche specialty store,” but Best Buy would be a “generic store.”
The following step is to organize your categories.
As a general rule of thumb in SEO, the closer a page is to the root domain in the URL, the greater its chances of ranking (better click-through rates, flatter structure, etc).
Niche Store Category
It’s a little easier with specialist stores.
If your homepage and site are both about televisions, for example, you can simply take all of your keyword groups and create a category for them on the homepage, such as:
Each of these will have a link in the navigation, and the homepage will have links to each of these in the content (banners or text links).
Each page will be fully optimized for the user’s goal, and relevant anchor text will be used to link to it.
A general store’s layout is slightly more complex, with a top-level category for the product type, followed by more detailed pages for variations.
In our television example, the top-level category for televisions may look like this:
Alternatively, they could resemble the following:
This decision will often be influenced by how broad your niche is.
For example, if you cover such a vast range of topics, it’s critical to divide them into distinct silos. For example, electronics is a silo that includes sub-categories such as cameras, televisions, computers, and so on. It might also have a “house” category with sub-categories like kitchen, bathroom, and so on.
If, on the other hand, your entire website is about electronics, you won’t need to further categorize, so they can stay near the root domain.
The distinction between the two will influence your sub-category structure selection.
Your sub-category structure will typically alter depending on your original category selection.
If you’ve chosen yourdomain.com/tvs, your sub-categories should look something like this:
If you’ve utilized the yourdomain.com/electronics/tvs category structure, your sub-categories can be as follows:
When adopting the second structure, however, you must ensure that your breadcrumbs are appropriately giving value to the topic’s main page.
So in our example, the domain.com/electronics/tvs page should be included in the breadcrumb trail even though it isn’t in the address.
URL Structure For Product Pages
As previously said, the closer a page is to the domain’s root in the URL structure, the better it should rank.
However, being able to navigate to the product’s categories from a user experience standpoint can assist users in finding something similar.
As a result, the ideal scenario is to have the following product structure:
In our television example, it might look like this:
All of the breadcrumbs would still display as though the product was placed at yourdomain.com/category/sub-category, identical to the sub-category example before.
This allows visitors to browse up to compare prices or discover a product that isn’t out of stock if one is.
Additionally, when products are in numerous categories, it prevents duplicate content issues by canonicalizing to the root version.
It also has the benefit of giving breadcrumb snippets within Google, which increases your results’ click-through rate.
If you want to have a website with a strong SEO foundation, you must have a properly set up permalink structure. Moreover, creating SEO-friendly URLs on your WordPress site ensures a better user experience while also increasing your chances of higher search engine rankings.
And we also suggest that you do not spend too much time designing a SEO friendly URL structure. Because the chances of ranking your page/post just with the URL is impossible.
Good permalinks carry some points with a good content of the page. But it does not carry impressionable points in the eyes of search engines.