In the past we have talked about the importance of your URL when it comes to your SEO efforts. In that post we discussed how using keywords in your URL can have a positive impact in your SEO efforts. In today’s post we’ll discuss some very important URL do’s and don’ts. Like many SEO tactics there is a fine line between using keywords effectively in your URL and improving your rankings, and using keywords poorly and missing out on traffic and impressions in search engine results.
URL Do’s for SEO
Do #1 Keywords in the URL Should Be Relevant
The number one most important rule when using keywords in your URL is to make sure that those keywords are relevant. Imagine that you run a site where you blog about Ultimate Frisbee and sell Ultimate Frisbee products. You name your site the-ultimate-frisbee-game.com (which appears to be available if you are interested). As your stricture the site you know that you will have a blog, and you will have a page of products. In your blog you plan on covering Ultimate Frisbee leagues across the nation. Instead of calling your blog the-ultimate-frisbee-game.com/blog call it the-ultimate-frisbee-game.com/ultimate-frisbee-news. Those keywords would represent the content on your page and “ultimate frisbee news” may also be a term that your target audience is searching for.
Do #2 Mix it Up a Bit
When you create a post with WordPress a URL is automatically generated when you name your post or page. Sometimes you have a title in mind that makes a terrible looking URL. For example the title of this post is “URL Search Engine Optimization Do’s and Don’ts.” That would create a terribly long and nasty looking URL. I have changed the URL to vimm.vom/url-seo-tips which still contains relevant keywords, but is much more user friendly. WordPress makes it very easy to change your URL. Simply click on edit and type your new URL. See the image below. One very important thing to remember. Once a post is published you can change your URL however if you change the URL of a published post you will need to set up redirects to avoid creating 404’s and possibly negatively impacting your link building efforts. I would recommend only changing published URLs if you are comfortable with using 301 redirects.
URL Don’ts For SEO
Don’t #1 Never Stuff Keywords
I would hope at this point we don’t even need to bring up keyword stuffing. But for those of you who don’t know keyword stuffing is the act of unnaturally cramming lots of keywords into your content and URLs in an attempt to trick the search engines. This is a very old and bad SEO tactic that some people are still using. Stuffing keywords breaks both of the above rules and is bad. Don’t stuff keywords.
Don’t #2 Avoid Stop Words
Remember that a short URL is a user friendly URL and search engines love content that is user friendly. Stop words are conversational words that extend URLs. For example words like the, a, and, but… are all stop words. Again WordPress creates a URL automatically when you name your post or page. It is very easy with WordPress to edit your URL and remove stop words (see the above image). But remember that you should only change URLs for published posts if you are comfortable with using 301 redirects.
Remember that your URL is part of your content. When considering Search Engine Optimization your content should always be relevant and user friendly. These same rules apply to the URL.