Understanding SEO Friendly URL Syntax Practices. Search engine optimization Friendly URL SyntaxPoor URL structure is a frequent SEO issue, one that will impair rankings, keep pages out of the search engine indexes, and suck ranking authority from your other pages or even the entire websites. Some website cms bake poor URL structures straight into their websites. Lax rules can be a culprit, for example, not encoding spaces or special characters.
Meanwhile, some CMS platforms devise URLs using illegal characters that should not appear in addresses. Others generate multiple URLs for pages, creating duplicate content. While it is true that search engine listings visit great lengths to read and index including the worst URLs, awareness of URL management and optimization will provide both SEO and usability advantages.
Good URL Structure. A few years ago, Dr. Peter J. Meyers assembled a cheat sheet on the anatomy of any URL. It’s a high quality one to maintain handy. You can easily read and understand. If I saw this address pasted right into a blog or forum, I would likely simply click it. It really is SEO optimized with breadcrumb style keywords. Search engines try to find keywords in URLs; it’s a known ranking factor. This layout, going from general to specific, is ideal for enterprise SEO.
The URL includes their own anchor-text. If this type of address were pasted into a blog or some other webpage as a link, that link would possess well-optimized anchor text. Old style dynamic addresses are legal and acceptable, though they may have drawbacks.
They are usually longer and difficult to read through because they contain both parameter names plus values. Pairing parameter names with values adds extra words. This may dilute the SEO value produced from keywords in the URLs. This type of address could have information better transmitted outside of the URL. A user ID, session ID, sort code, print code and many other possible parameters could create duplicate content, security or other issues.
Diagnosing URL Issues – To discover URL based issues:
Look for errors and warnings then see whether URLs would be the culprit. Audit all URLs for proper syntax. To check on for errors, begin with Google and Bing webmaster tool reports. Try to find duplicate content then examine the webpage addresses themselves as well as their locations. Numerous third-party SEO tools can locate SEO issues as well. Canonical issues, parameters which do not change page content, loose adherence to coding standards, or numerous reasons will create duplicate content.
I worked with a newspaper that used unique numerical identifiers, away from parameters, to provide articles as webpages. It did not matter what the URL contained, as long as the identifier was somewhere inside the address. Unfortunately, the writing of link hooks into templates was inconsistent, resulting in a multitude of duplicate content pages. We were required 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 like to export every webpage address into a spreadsheet or database. If you’re thinking of using Google site: queries, don’t bother as many of the issues you will search for usually do not can be found in search results. Each character has a specific use. Should they appear, determine if they are used properly, ought to be encoded, or if perhaps the URL needs reconfiguration.
Unsafe Characters – Unsafe URL Characters. Encode unsafe characters unless employed for a particular purpose. The % symbol will not require encoding when employed to encode a character. The # symbol does not require encoding when qngvsy to create an anchor tag.
Miscellaneous Characters – Miscellaneous URL Characters. Strictly speaking, these characters do not require encoding. The truth is, 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 engine listings overlook the # and everything after it in a URL. If using the #, ensure that the webpage appears as you would like it crawled and indexed when the # and everything that follows is taken away. When the # changes content you want indexed, you need to locate a different URL structure. For example,