Understanding Search engine optimization Friendly URL Syntax Practices. SEO Friendly URL SyntaxPoor URL structure is a frequent Search engine optimization issue, one that can impair rankings, keep pages out of the search engine indexes, and suck ranking authority from your other pages or perhaps the entire websites. Some content management system bake poor URL structures straight into their websites. Lax rules can be a culprit, as an example, not encoding spaces or special characters.
Meanwhile, some CMS platforms devise URLs using illegal characters that should not show up in addresses. Others generate multiple URLs for pages, creating duplicate content. Though it may be true that search engines go to great lengths to read and index even worst URLs, awareness of URL management and optimization will give you both SEO and usability advantages.
Good URL Structure. A few years ago, Dr. Peter J. Meyers assembled a cheat sheet on the anatomy of the URL. It’s a high quality one to maintain handy. It is easy to read and understand. Should I saw this address pasted right into a blog or forum, I might likely click on it. It is SEO optimized with breadcrumb style keywords. Search engine listings try to find keywords in URLs; it’s a known ranking factor. This layout, going from general to specific, is great for enterprise SEO.
The URL includes its own anchor-text. If this address were pasted in to a blog or other web page being a link, that link would possess well-optimized anchor text. Old style dynamic addresses are legal and acceptable, though they may have drawbacks.
They tend to be longer and difficult to see because they contain both parameter names plus values. Pairing parameter names with values adds extra words. This could dilute the SEO value derived from keywords in the URLs. This type of address may contain information better transmitted outside the URL. A person ID, session ID, sort code, print code and many other possible parameters could create duplicate content, security or other issues.
Diagnosing URL Issues – To locate URL based issues:
Look for errors and warnings then determine whether URLs would be the culprit. Audit all URLs for proper syntax. To examine for errors, start with Google and Bing webmaster tool reports. Search for duplicate content then examine the webpage addresses themselves along with their locations. Numerous third-party SEO tools can locate SEO issues too. Canonical issues, parameters that do not change page content, loose adherence to coding standards, or any number of reasons can provide duplicate content.
I worked with a newspaper that used unique numerical identifiers, outside of parameters, to serve articles as webpages. It failed to matter exactly what the URL contained, so long as the identifier was somewhere inside the address. Unfortunately, the writing of link hooks into templates was inconsistent, causing thousands upon thousands of duplicate content pages. We had to pour through each template, rewrite each link hook being an SEO friendly URL, then catalog all the legacy URLs and 301-redirect those to the newest optimized addresses.
When auditing URL syntax, I favor to export every webpage address right into a spreadsheet or database. If you’re thinking about using Google site: queries, don’t bother as most of the issues you are going to look for do not appear in search engine rankings. Each character has a specific use. If they appear, determine if they are used properly, needs to be encoded, or if perhaps the URL needs reconfiguration.
Unsafe Characters – Unsafe URL Characters. Encode unsafe characters unless utilized for a certain purpose. The % symbol does not require encoding when employed to encode a character. The # symbol does not require encoding when qngvsy to produce an anchor tag.
Miscellaneous Characters – Miscellaneous URL Characters. Strictly speaking, these characters tend not to require encoding. In fact, many CMS platforms will encode these automatically. If you want links which contain these characters to remain consistent when shared from website to website, it’s a safe bet to encode these.
Look For The Pound Symbol, # – Search engines overlook the # and everything after it in a URL. If using the #, ensure the webpage appears as you want it crawled and indexed once the # and everything that follows is removed. In the event the # changes content you want indexed, you need to locate a different URL structure. For example,