Use an audit to strengthen your SEO-friendly URL addresses!

Use an audit to strengthen your SEO-friendly URL addresses!

URL audit is one of the most important processes in on-page optimization, and something that many business owners seem to overlook or ignore completely. That’s why it’s so important to keep these tips in mind when performing an audit on your site’s URL structure. This will help you create a more user-friendly experience and ultimately get you better results with your search engine optimization efforts.

What exactly is an URL?

You may not have given it much thought, but your website’s URL is an essential element for SEO. URLs are the things that people see in their browser address bars and click on to go to your site. Every link you create to share with others should tell people what they’re going to get when they click on it.

Building the address

The general structure of the URL is a bit complicated and can contain information such as: protocol, login, password, host, port, resource path and numerous other parameters. A special type of URL is a website address, which is much simpler to build and contains only three or four elements: protocol, server address, resource path and possible parameters.

How to build friendly URLs?

Friendly URLs make your site more user-friendly. They allow search engine crawlers to better index pages and improve your website’s rankings on Google. Try to keep the current structure if it is not too long or complicated, otherwise, change it into a simpler one with only one level of depth, or remove unnecessary keywords. Remove any parameters that you don’t need. Use hyphens (-) between words instead of underscores (_). Use no spaces in your URL unless you have an underscore as a word separator and try to avoid numbers.

How does Google use URLs?

When Google crawls the web they’re looking at many factors including but not limited to on-page relevance, content quality, and performance metrics. One factor that has been gaining momentum in the past few years is URLs. There are two main types of links in a site: internal links and external links. Internal links are where one page or post refers back to another page or post on your website, such as an author referring to their previous blog posts. External links are external pages that you link from your website to another site.

The importance of address

Although the URL can seem like a straightforward, basic piece of metadata, it is actually one of the most vital components to SEO. You should always be mindful about how your web address impacts a visitor’s first interaction with your site. It may not seem like an important decision now, but in the long-run it could lead to higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates. The best way to do this is by performing an audit on your website and taking note of any problems that need to be fixed.

First step: audit SEO

Why do you have to perform an audit for URL address?

As your first step in an audit, start by inspecting your website’s URL structure. If you don’t have an audit in place, your website might have problems that you don’t know about. URLs play a pivotal role in determining whether or not someone is going to follow through with reading more of your content. For example, you can tell what information they were looking for when they clicked on the link. It will also help make sure your website is crawl-able, index-able and attractive to search engines. It’ll help you diagnose problems with URLs that might lead to 404 errors and duplicate content.

Finding hidden URL problems

A big part of an SEO audit is looking for any URL issues that might be preventing your site from ranking as well as it could. The best way to find these problems is to check for any patterns in the following areas Broken links, duplication, canonicalization and optimizability. You can also use a website like Check My Links to help you identify broken links on your website. It will let you enter the address of one page on your site and then scan through all of the links to other pages on that domain, telling you which ones are working correctly. Next step is how to fix URLs with errors, using either 301 or 302 redirects or 404s depending on what type of issue needs fixing.

Tools that help with audits

  • Google Search Console – offers free SEO analysis of your website’s performance including keywords and optimization status. You can also analyze pages, site maps, crawl stats, canonicalization issues, index coverage, links and more.
  • SEMrush – includes features like rankings checker and keyword research tool which helps track competitor backlinks and report competition in SERPS.
  • Bitly – a link shortener which helps monitor clicks and shorten urls to avoid spammy results in search engine results pages. In fact, Bitly is integrated into Facebook Ads Manager for optimizing Facebook ads campaigns.
  • Screaming frog – a powerful crawling platform that can spider websites and help generate reports on its content. Using these tools you can audit your URL structure and see how well-optimized it really is

Things to consider during audit

Length

When it comes to SEO and the words that you use in your URLs, it is generally agreed upon that shorter URLs are better. However, this doesn’t mean they should be too short – it’s best to keep them to a maximum of 50 characters. This helps ensure you are including relevant keywords, as well as still being concise. Longer URLs are harder for people to read and remember, so there’s a good chance that they’ll give up before getting there.

Keywords

In the world of search engine optimization URLs are king. Well-structured URLs will have a substantial impact on your search rankings in SERPs, so it is important to not only optimize your website for search, but also for its own structure. The importance of keywords in your URL can not be overstated, they are a means of identifying pages or information. The keyword in your domain tells search engines what you do, and how to rank you. Keep them natural and do don’t overdo.

Anchors

Anchors are a website navigation system used to bookmark a specific section of content within a webpage. They are also commonly used on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The anchor can be created by using the anchor text attribute in the HTML code for the web page. Once created, clicking on the anchor will take you directly to that point in the web page, as opposed to scrolling all the way back up again.

WWW or non-WWW version

There are pros and cons for going with a WWW or non-WWW version. There is more competition for the www domain, which can mean you need to work harder for ranking on the first page of Google. However, it does appear that Google prefers the www version of your site when users click on your listing, so it’s worth making sure this is spelled correctly throughout your site to give searchers a clearer idea of where they can find what they want on your site.

Dynamic or static

A static URL structure will allow search engines to better identify the individual pages on your website because they are more persistent. Dynamic URLs, however, often contain parameters that make them difficult for a search engine to follow. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, either could be an option for your website. If you prefer a more dynamic approach but worry about changing address being confusing or harmful to SEO, you can include keywords in the query string parameter of your URLs instead.

Last words

An audit doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. With a little time and effort, you can learn all there is to know about the URL structure of your website, and use this knowledge to improve your visibility! Take some time now to visit your own website, and find out what could be improved from an SEO perspective.

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iCEA Group
Category: SEO
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