Your webpage URLs play a minor role in your search ranking and lead generation, but they make a subtle impact on the perception people have of your website. In order to maintain your performance levels and overall success on the web, you may want to spend some time adjusting your URL structure to get the best results possible. Listed below are four effective ways to clean up your webpage URLs so you can keep your site tidy and powerful for years to come.
Wait A Minute…What Is A URL?
A URL or Uniform Resource Locator indicates the location of a file on the internet. The parts of a URL include: protocol (HTTP vs. HTTPS), domain name (DetroitInternetMarketing.com), file path (category/blog-post-name.html or similar), and possibly a fragment or named anchor (/#anchor-name). Every page has a unique URL, even if they hold the same title or heading. There may be multiple URLs for a single webpage if you use directional anchors to guide people to different sections on the page. The primary URL will remain the same no matter what though.
How To Clean Up Your Webpage URLs
Check out these quick ways to improve your URL structures and enhance the look of your website.
1 – Use Full Words In Your URLs
Instead of a URL like this: https://detroitinternetmarketing.com/?p=1071, you should structure it to look like this: https://detroitinternetmarketing.com/social-media-marketing.those two URLs technically point to the social media marketing webpage on our site, but the second one is more user friendly. It shows people what the page is about before they ever start reading the content.
2 – Add Keywords To Your URLs
Adding keywords to your URLs is one of the easiest ways to optimize website content and emphasize the intent of a post. Any article or webpage you put on your site should have a target keyword regularly mentioned in the content. This acts as a guideline of sorts for the writing itself. Include the target word or phrase in your URL structure for proper SEO optimization.
3 – Eliminate Stop Words
Stop words are commonly used prepositions, articles, adjectives, and conjunctions that take up important character space in a URL. These words will make a URL unnecessarily long, and they may diminish the value of the keywords used above. Note that the URL for this post is https://detroitinternetmarketing.com/ways-clean-webpage-urls, not https://detroitinternetmarketing.com/4-effective-ways-to-clean-up-your-webpage-urls. The first option is cleaner, simpler, and easier to remember.
Note: If you use WordPress for your content management, you can install a plugin like Yoast WordPress SEO to automatically remove stop words for you.
4 – Cut Back On Your Categories
Having a multitude of categories on your website may seem beneficial as a whole, but it can make your site more complicated than it needs to be. This may hurt your navigation and make it more difficult for search engines to crawl your site’s content and boost your ranking. Cut down on the number of categories and subcategories used on your website, or eliminate them from your URL structure. This will make it easier for you to edit your URLs and clean up your content as a whole.
Note: Most CMS platforms have simple solutions for changing webpage URL structures or permalinks in their dashboards. For WordPress, Got to Settings > Permalinks to make this adjustment.
WARNING: Do NOT Change The URL Structure For Successful Existing Pages
Don’t mess with the URLs of successful webpages or blog posts that are already on your site. Doing this will alter any backlinks from other websites that are currently pointing to those pages, reducing the traffic levels and decreasing your PageRank at the same time. If you have to change the URL structure for a page that is already doing well, make sure you create a redirect for the page so the old webpage URL points to the new one. This will minimize the damage you incur from the switch.
Christopher Bower is a Member and Marketing Director of Detroit Internet Marketing, LLC and brings over 20 years' experience in marketing and online marketing. His education includes Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Marketing, and has been involved in both national and local marketing in Chicago, South Florida and Michigan.