Information About The Book!

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Quick and Easy SEO Tips – URL Structure

Posted by on November 28, 2008

This is part of a series of posts for various quick and easy SEO tips.  So far we have covered title tags and meta descriptions, today we are going to cover URL structure.  If you look at the top of your browser you will see a URL such as or  The URL is the particular address of the site you are visiting.  The URL structure of your site is very important for search engine visibility.  I’m not going to talk about sub-directories or folders (these are topics that my team of technical SEO consultants will covering on the blog once the new site is up and running), I am just going to look at the basic URL structure.  The goal behind this post is to show you the difference between a bad URL and a clean URL.  Again I am going to make my small disclaimer by saying that this whole site is going through a redesign so several of my SEO elements are not optimized (just in case you wanted to let me know).  Let’s get into it.

URL Structure

There is a lot to cover here and it can get pretty technical so I will try to keep it quick and easy as the title suggests.  The URL structure, along with your title tags and meta descriptions (and other SEO elements) should all work together to help you with search engine visibility and rankings.  Just like your title tags and meta descriptions your URLs are also all going to be unique.  Let’s take a few examples of bad URLs and good/clean ones.

The URL above is what I would classify as a bad URL, why?  Well, let’s think back to our title tags and meta descriptions, remember how we always try to use specific targeted keywords.  The main problem with this URL is all of those characters at the end, the “?ID=1435667….” search engines cannot interpert such characters for relevancy therefore it is advised to use relevant keywords in your URL that search engines can actually crawl and understand.  Let’s take a look at a good/clean URL to see what I mean.

This URL is taken from a page from the site of the SEO team that I run, notice the difference?  This URL is clean and targets specific keywords that are also being targeted on the page (title tag/description/etc.)  There are no weird characters in the URL and thus it is easily crawled and interpreted for relevancy.

Things to keep in mind when creating URLS

  • Try to use keywords in URL, if the particular page is about “discount del laptops” then try to create a URL that looks like “” as opposed to one that looks like “”  See the difference?
  • Try to use dashes instead of underscores in your URL structure.  Although Google claims that they have started treating dashes and underscores identically, our tests reveal that this is not the case in all situations.
  • Try to keep your URLs short and descriptive.  You can use a few words but don’t try to fit a thesis into your URL.  Also, the shorter they are the easier they are to remember, there are a few other factors at play here, but these will be covered on the SEO blog (as mentioned above)
  • Make sure the keywords in the URL are targeting the same words that your other SEO elements are targetting.  What I mean is that if your title tag, description, etc mention “discount dell laptops” but your URL has the keywords “christmas-cookies” then something isn’t right.
  • stick with lowercase letters, URLs can take both so stick with the default lowercase

Having a poor URL structure can result in:

  • internal competing pages
  • lack of indexation by search engines (meaning your pages basically don’t exist)
  • inability of users to remember the URL
  • targeting/ranking of irrelevant keywords

There are a few other things but I’m keeping this very simple.  Again, the whole point of this post is to show you the difference between a poor URL and a good/clean one.  You should now be able to tell the difference between the two and have an idea of corrective measures you can take to clean up or create new URLs.

Does this make sense?  Do you have any questions?

Thanks for reading!

  • The URL structure is something that gets overlooked sometimes when choosing a platform for distribution, be it a blog, eCommerce site or anything else. Just being aware of its importance and paying a little attention can yield great results in this department.

    • ecommerce sites usually have the worst url structure due to all of their dynamic urls, a lot of large companies also struggle with clean urls.

      i realize a lot of companies are not willing to make their urls perfect but at least they can understand whats going on and hopefully make a few basic changes and improvements.

      thanks for the comment!

  • Jacob – Thank you for this excellent post and great advice. I know from my personal experiences that utilizing key word in the URL tied to specific content that is derived from first researching the right keywords is a very effective strategy for ranking and traffic. It means a few more steps, but those efforts will serve as leverage to ensure that your site is found.

    It is often the little things that make the big difference.

    I am an instant fan and looking forward to further exploring this great blog.

    Best wishes,


    • hey james, you are very welcome, im glad you found the information useful. a complete seo strategy looks at the little things AND the big things. glad you became a fan im definitely hoping to hear more from you in the future.

      thanks for the comment!

  • Jacob,

    Very informative article. My question to you is how do you change the URL in your blog post to go from a bad one to a good one? I use wordpress for my blog. Your help is appreciated.

    • hey rick,

      when you create the blog post, underneath the title, there is a section where you can modify the url and create one of your choice.


  • Some good tips in this and all the other SEo posts you have done. I'm going to
    have to send some of my customers on to your site to prove to them I'm noting making this stuff up.

    If I hear from any more clients that say, But the site was made last week, why are we not number in Google yet I might just go postal.

    Sometimes I just don't know why I bother.

    • hey sam, by all means send them on over, my team has the data to back up everything we say and recommend 🙂

      some people just really dont understand it…

      thanks for the comment!

  • Those were some nice helpful tips. What i have always wondered is that how can replacing underscores with hyphens helps site visibility on SERP.

  • Let me give you some tips on how to manage SEO on your website.

    1. Do the best keyword analysis and select the keywords which has good search volume and should be relevant to your website content.

    2. Create content which has good keyword density in it and please make a note that content should be fresh, as google likes fresh content.

    3. After creating website, please do focus on Meta tags of your website, which helps you get quick ranking for your targetted keywords.

  • chennai_bala

    these days URL structure with repeated keywords (or high density) has been filtered out in the search results. we need to be careful in making URL structure user-friendly instead of SEO friendly.

    SEARCH ENGINE with a mind.

  • thanks for the short but stuffed entry you made, now it's much clearer for me to understand the importance of good and clean URL, keep things coming and I'm sure to come back again =)

    • thanks for the comment, aren't you working with arielle ford on her new book launch? definitely have plenty of seo tips 🙂

  • Great tips for creating search friendly URL’s. One option for websites who already have a pre-existing dynamic URL structure is to do a mod-rewrite that will allow them to mask the dynamic url with a more search friendly one.

  • This is part of a series of posts for various quick and easy SEO tips. So far we have covered title tags and meta descriptions,

  • This is part of a series of posts for various quick and easy SEO tips. So far we have covered title tags and meta descriptions,

  • Thanks for this great tips. Having a clean URL with your keyword on it is really helpful not only that you will have a nice looking URL but also its a part of optimizing your site using your keywords.

  • jchopper70

    Great tips…. I am starting to become a follower of this blog. Keep up the great work!

  • Kelgerling

    I'd like to know if redundant keywords in a URL are problematic for PageRank and organic search listings in my area.

    I have a consulting service and a counseling service.

    I have a website that has my name, and two categories of services, and then lists of services:

    I've been advised by a friend that “personal change services” is not anything that anyone searches for. Rather they search for “Portland counselor” or “portland counseling” or “Portland therapy” or “Portland hypnosis” or “portland weight-loss hypnosis.”

    What I'm wondering is whether renaming my section, menu text and URL text from “personal change services” to “counseling-coaching-therapy” or “portland-counseling-coaching-therapy” would be better for search, both in the URL, and in the content headlines, internal menus, and of course, within the content.

    Thanks for having such a nice site Jacob.

  • Alla

    I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

    SEO Armenia

  • I would like to appreciate the work of blog author that the person provided us with an extremely excellent information regarding the topic. I really learned something from this blog and started to contribute my ideas via commenting on this blog. Keep it up!

  • The search engine marketing specialist do the recommendations to optimize source code including the URL, filenames, page titles, descriptions, javascript, etc.

  • Thanks for your information:)

  • Portland SEO

    Thanks for the tips. They are really useful for SEO.

  • Thanks for sharing. This is a really good article.

  • Anonymous

    Wow……. the tips are extremely looking so quick about SEO. The regarding SEO tips are really looking with full of elegance. And they all are really looking most promising about to bring the lots of traffic to our site. And I am really impressed by the features of this post. This one is truly one of the best contented post about the best of SEO. Thanks for sharing some exceptional information about it.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the existing post really discloses the best of information about how to do the best SEO. As the existing tips are really looking the most understandable thing to bring lots of traffic to our site. And this one is extremely looking the best source to know about effective SEO. Thanks for sharing some exceptional information about it.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the nice seo tips. I also use this tips on my website. SEO is best for getting traffic for website. Google also like this type of url structure.