URL structure is not a top ranking factor like your page loading speed.
However, it is not too trivial to be ignored either!
So, how to create SEO-friendly URL structures?
Having an SEO-friendly URL structure can give you an edge in the search engine result pages.
Not only that, you’ll be happy to know that, optimizing URL structure is user-friendly too.
URL or permalink of a webpage is one of the first things that the users notice in the SERP.
However, if it doesn’t relate to the query that they’re looking for, there is a high chance that they will skip your webpage and jump to the next result.
Consider you’re searching for the keyword ‘What is trail running’ and found the below results in Google:
The 1st URL looks something like this:
And the 2nd one:
Which URL will you click as a user?
Of course, the second one, isn’t it?
It is properly optimized and has a nice length.
Also, it gives an idea to the user that the page title and URL of the webpage are talking about the same topic.
In this article, I will discuss the basics of URL structure, what is an SEO-friendly URL and how to create SEO-friendly URL structures for WordPress.
What is an URL?
I am sure, all of you know this.
However, in case some of you don’t, then here is the definition.
URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the location of your page on the web. It is displayed in the address bar of the web browser and is considered to be the web address of a particular page.
People can visit your website by clicking on your web address in the search engine result pages or directly typing the URL in the address bar.
Your URL structure tells what a particular page is all about and where it belongs to the larger architecture of your website.
Why URL Optimization is Important in SEO?
So, why should you bother to edit WordPress URLs?
Do permalinks affect SEO?
Yes, they do.
Permalink plays a huge role in WordPress SEO and hence search engine ranking.
URLs are a significant ranking factor. In Google’s top 200 ranking factors by Backlinko:
- URL length is listed as #51
- URL path is listed as #52
- Keyword in the URL is #55
- URL string is listed as #56
The below graph shows a clear correlation between URL length and search ranking.
To get the best URL structure for SEO, it is essential that we take care of things like URL length, URL path, keyword in URL, and URL string.
Choosing the best permalink structure for WordPress is the first step toward WordPress blog setup.
How you structure your URL plays an important role in ranking your webpage higher.
You must set your URL structure while starting a new blog. However, don’t worry in case you didn’t.
You can still change your URL settings from your WordPress dashboard. Note: For an existing website, changing the URL structure may result in loss of your social signals as well as a dip in the search rankings. However, don’t fear changing the URL structure of your WordPress site as the benefits of an SEO-friendly permalink structure are worth this change.
How To Create SEO-Friendly URLs?
Now that you know the importance of URL optimization, the next question is how to create SEO-friendly URL structures and increase the likelihood of the link being clicked?
Here are a few tips to make your URLs SEO-friendly.
1. Use Your Primary Keyword
Every webpage must have a focus or primary keyword for which you want to rank that page.
To optimize URL for SEO, make sure to include your primary keyword in the permalink structure.
It gives the user and the search engine an idea regarding what the webpage content is all about.
2. Make it short and relevant to the page
Keep your URLs short and simple.
Most of your audience will come to the webpage from the search engine itself.
However, keeping it short and to the point makes it easier for those who might want to remember it and refer it to someone.
https://www.yourdomain.com/my-first-phuket-vacation/ is much more effective than https://www.yourdomain.com/what-i-learnt-from-my-first-phuket-vacation-with-friends/
The first one is a good example of SEO friendly URL structure in WordPress.
3. Cut down the unnecessary words
Longer URLs do not affect your on-page SEO, however, they’re not helpful either. Also, shorter URLs give a better user experience.
So, remove all the unnecessary words to make your WordPress URL SEO friendly. In the above example, words like ‘what’, ‘I’, ‘learnt’ etc. are unnecessary words.
4. No special characters
Special characters and symbols like &, ?, %, +, =, $, etc. may cause your link to break.
So, make sure you do not use any special characters while creating an SEO-friendly URL structure for WordPress.
5. Exclude the stop words if you wish to
Stop words are common words like ‘to’, ‘the’ ‘and’ etc.
If you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, by default it will create a permalink from your page title while excluding the stop words.
Stop words do not add any value to your WordPress SEO. So, if you wish, you can exclude them from your URL structure or keep them to make them meaningful.
How to Set URL Structure in WordPress?
By default, WordPress has 6 URL structures. If you go to Settings > Permalinks, you’ll see the below options there.
This type of URL does not give any clarity to the search engine or the user about the content of the post. So, this is not at all a good option for an SEO-friendly URL structure.
Day and name
This includes the exact publishing date of the post. So, it may be useful for giving the user an idea about the actual publishing date. However, it consumes a lot of space of your WordPress permalink, so not a very good option for optimizing URL structure.
Month and name
This is commonly used by many bloggers. Generally, if you migrate from the Google Blogspot platform to WordPress, then you have no other choice but to follow.
Otherwise, you have to follow a huge 301 redirect in case you want to change the permalink structure. This could be very risky for your blog if you are not an expert.
This is not an example of an SEO-friendly URL as this type of URL does not describe anything about your webpage.
This is the most SEO Friendly URL Structure in WordPress and the most popular too.
You can also see that for this article also we have used this structure
The beauty of this permalink structure is you can put proper long tail keywords in the post URL within the limit.
Relate the title of your article with your WordPress URL and try to make it meaningful too.
You can create a custom URL structure in WordPress with the available tags like category, post ID, etc.
Putting a category in your URL structure is helpful if you have a large website with multiple categories.
E.g. https://www.yourdomain.com/web-hosting/cloud-hosting-comparison/. This link clearly tells the purpose of the article and which category it belongs to.
Now under this https://www.yourdomain.com/wordpress-hosting/, you can write more articles related to WordPress hosting.
Once you set your URL structure, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.
WordPress will update your .htaccess file instantly and all your new posts will start using the structure.
Also, make sure to follow the same standard URL structure for your pages as well.
Conclusion: Best SEO-Friendly URL Structure for WordPress
In case your main domain name is short then you will get more scope to prepare a good permalink with natural keyword targeting.
Also, try to make it meaningful covering the primary keyword of the article. And then convert the same in the permalink considering the shorter character count.
I hope you will find this small guide on how to make WordPress URL SEO friendly useful. And, if you did then don’t forget to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also, pin the below picture on Pinterest.
Also, please feel free to share your experience of creating the best SEO-friendly URL structure for a WordPress site.