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How to approach SEO-friendly URLs

Tamara Hellgren
Mar 13, 2023
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Learn best practices for creating & implementing web page URLs to improve SEO and make it easy for Google to crawl your website.

URLs for SEO: Key takeaways

  • Keep URLs brief and descriptive - not too long
  • Include keyword(s) in URLs if natural, but don't force it
  • Use all lowercase with dashes between words
  • Don't change URLs after they've been indexed

Keep URLs brief and descriptive

The URL of a web page should be brief and descriptive. A well-crafted URL helps search engines and humans determine what a page is about and how it fits into the structure of the website. 

It may be necessary to have URLs that drill down into subfolders, such as: https://milwaukee.com/things-to-do/winter/family-friendly

This is OK and can actually provide helpful context. But as a rule of thumb, shorter URLs are better, and you should avoid unnecessary subfolders between the domain name and the page file.

Should You Use Keywords in URLs? 

Keyword usage in URLs was a stronger ranking signal in years past. That signal is given less weight in current search engine algorithms, but keywords in a URL could help users decide if a page is relevant to their search. If you can use relevant keywords in a URL without stuffing, go for it.

Best practices for creating URLs: 

  • Use short and descriptive words.
  • Use all lowercase letters.
  • Separate words in a URL using dashes (i.e. /blog/seo-best-practices-for-content). 
  • Do not use spaces, underscores, punctuation, or non-ASCII characters.
  • Do not create URLs longer than 115 characters.

Best practices for implementing URLs: 

  • Establish a logical website structure through URLs.
  • Use static URLs (no dynamic parameters, if possible).
  • Include URLs in XML sitemap.
  • Avoid changing URLs after they’re indexed.

The recommendations above should be followed when creating new content. We do not recommend changing URLs for existing pages unless there is an SEO plan in place, as that can complicate indexation and possibly dilute link equity (or “link juice”).