The acronym “URL” stands for universal resource locator – catchy, isn’t it? If the name for your “location” isn’t pleasing to the search engine, your URL risks a poor review. The questions asked by many companies are: Why does a URL matter? What is an URL ugly? How can a URL be improved?
Since a URL is the location of your site’s content, it must be concise for a search engine to efficiently log and rank it within search results. If your URL is too long or confusing, the search engine may in fact forgo ranking it. Being that the frequency upon which a site is indexed can be few and far between, you must choose a URL is related to your site’s content and promotes a quick review by a search engine to take advantage of re-indexing.
An ugly URL can be defined as a URL that is too long, improperly structured, undescriptive and/or fragmented. Now, you must understand the difference between a domain name, URL and accompanying title tag. A domain name is the main address for your landing page. The URL is the entire address for each page and the title tag is the name of a site’s page. For example, your house number is your domain name, your street name is your title tag and the entire address is the URL. The URL lets you, your visitors and search engines know where they you are when they reach a page of your site, which can be extremely confusing if it isn’t done right.
An integral part to your SEO strategy is to have nice, clear URL’s that relate to the content on your site’s pages. First, avoid underscores and instead use hyphens. Second, do not use numbers; spell them out. Third, focus on using keywords from your page in the URL, but do not overdo it. Fourth, do not use abbreviations. Lastly, shorter is always the better. Quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb to follow with improving a URL. However, if you plan to change a URL that is already listed in search engine results, review our article on mobilizing a 301 redirect to ensure you are safeguarding the traffic flow and SEO credit from your old destination to the new one.