What Is an SEO-Friendly URL
and How Do I Write One?

Uniform Resource Locators, more commonly known as URLs, are a collection of characters and words describing a specific web page address. URL text is what we type into a search-engine browser address bar to access web pages.

Although URLs are commonly constructed the same way, they’re content is not created equally. To write a successful URL, you’ll want to use appropriate keywords, feature condensed and concise text, and align with on-page SEO best practices to best respond to your user needs. 

How Do I Pick the Right Words for My URL?

To determine the subject of your content, search engines look at the URL of your web page, its title tag, the link anchor text, and the content itself.

A few factors to consider when preparing your webpage URL:

  • If a default URL is used, the page will technically still work. But the URL will be more challenging to read and comprehend for both users and search engines. 
  • Google best practices include using hyphens instead of underscores or spaces in your URL structure. 
  • Random, lengthy URLs with random characters are ugly, and it’s recommended that you spend time using search engine optimization (SEO) to inform how you craft the URLs on your website. This will help to improve your prospects of appearing on the top SERPs. 

SEO-friendly URLs are vital elements of your webpage design and construction, and the words and format you choose for your URL can significantly hurt or help user experience and SERP ranking. 

According to the latest online stats, Google processes over 99,000 searches per second—that’s more than 8.5 billion searches every day. With all those searches, you have lots of opportunities to grow your visitor base, but only if they’re able to find your website URL.

How Do I Write a SEO-Friendly URL? 

SEO-friendly URLs are defined by their structure and use of pertinent keywords. Before you start brainstorming the right titles or phrases to use in your URLs, it’s essential to conduct keyword research. Using the right words will help boost your site SEO, align with popular words your customers may be using to search for your type of business. 

Once you have preliminary keyword research under your belt, the following factors can help you craft a smart, SEO-savvy URL, starting with your page title.

  • Get rid of any special characters.
  • Remove numbers from the link text.
  • Skip using uppercase letters.
  • Use only hyphens (-) between the words within your URL title.
  • Delete any irrelevant details and stick to just the most important words.
  • Try to make use of separate and impactful keywords.
  • Make sure your URL text is easy-to-read and understandable.
  • Avoid using dynamic parameters

Let’s dive more deeply into the above factors, and discuss the individual elements that can help you create impactful, SEO-friendly URLs. 

1. Skip the special characters.

Have you ever encountered a URL containing square or back brackets ([ ])? Most likely not. The reason being these are characters that just don’t belong in URLs. It’s important to keep special characters out of URL titles. Don’t include apostrophes, commas, colons, semicolons, exclamation points, and more. These characters are too difficult for Google to crawl, understand, and organise in SERPs.

2. Remove or replace numbers.

Keep in mind that if you use a number in your URL (e.g., six-ways-to-write-SEO-friendly-URLs), you may need to later update your content. For this reason, it’s best to leave numbers completely out of your URLs from the start.

That’s not to say you can’t include them in your on-page article title, though. You may write an article (“6 Ways to Write a Great SEO-Friendly URL”) and use a number-free URL string (“top-ways-to-write-SEO-friendly-URLs”). This will make it easier to add to your article content, on page; while retaining the same quality, SEO-friendly URL. 

Much like avoiding the use of numbers or counts in your URL, it’s also a good idea to avoid using dates. For example, if you plan to write a round-up of top products to sell in the current year, avoid using “example.com/widgets/top-widgets-2022” and instead try, “example.com/widgets/top-widgets”.

3. Nix the uppercase letters.

Everything listed after the hostname (for example, www.topcontent.com), or domain name, in your URL is case sensitive. To ensure that search engines can read and understand your URL text, it’s important to only use lowercase characters. 

Uppercase letters may be treated as different versions of the same word by some servers and web browsers. This can lead to duplicate content issues and can negatively impact search engine rankings.

4. Use only hyphens (-) between words.

Spaces are prohibited in URLs and are converted to the text string “%20” by all browsers. To avoid your URL titles being misread, only use hyphens between the words in your hyperlink.  

Some users have asked if underscores (_) may be an acceptable substitute for use in URL titles. But, we advise against it. Google instead recommends you use the following best-practice naming convention when creating a  URL title tag: title-tag-SEO. 

5. Stick to the most important words.

There are a few reasons behind Google’s recommendation that URLs be kept as straightforward as possible. First, lengthy URLs may intimidate visitors. Second, long URLs frequently get cut off in search results. 

You’ll want to find a sweet spot with length. Too long and you’ll run into the issues cited above. Too short and you risk your title not making sense. A good target to aim for is between 50 and 70 characters.

6. Focus on separate and impactful keywords.

When crafting your URL, try to build a keyword-rich version of your original article title, using simple and descriptive language.

For example, if your content features the top five SEO optimization tips for online retailers, the following could be an effective URL: top-tips-to-boost-your-online-store-SEO.

Related words, called “keyword modifiers”, can also help boost your URL quality and give your link added context. For instance, if we look at the title tag data for one of our rival websites, “seo” and “html” appear several times. For this reason, we should consider using one, but not both, in our own URL text.  

Why not both? Too many keywords and not enough context can overload your link text and is called “keyword stuffing.” For example, the following URL format is what a stuffed URL convention might look like: seo-title-tag-HTMLtitle-tag title-tag-SEO-HTML-title-tag.

7. Be clear and concise.

Some URLs are more straightforward and easier to read than others. For example,  “seo-title-tag” makes logical sense and is easy to read. But, “html-title-tag-seo”–although keyword rich–doesn’t make any sense at all.

Pay close attention to your URL slug: The slug is the part of your website’s URL that comes immediately after the domain name. This part of the URL lets your visitors know what to expect from the webpage’s content. To optimise this part of the URL and make it SEO friendly, you’ll want to make the language simple and easy to understand. 

For example, instead of writing the more descriptive (but longer) URL: “how-to-write-URLs-in-the-best-possible-way”; try the shorter, more to the point: “how-to-write-URLs-right”.

8. Avoid using dynamic parameters. 

Dynamic parameters are variables that are added to the end of a URL string and are used to pass information to a server or application. These parameters are often used in search queries and can be used to filter or sort results, or to specify a particular action or behavior.

Let’s dissect the following URL to better understand dynamic parameters: https://www.example.com/search?q=keyword&sort=relevance

In this URL, the “q” parameter is used to specify the search keyword, and the “sort” parameter is used to specify that the results should be sorted by relevance.

Dynamic parameters can  make URLs longer and less user-friendly. They can also create issues with search engines, because the text may not be read as correctly and each unique combination of dynamic parameters could be seen as a separate page, leading to duplicate content issues.

To help avoid problems, refrain from using dynamic parameters in URLs whenever possible. Instead, stick to static, keyword-rich URLs—this will help improve your visitors’ experience and will also improve how search engines rank your website.

How Do I Select My Top-Level Domain?

A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the most significant factors to consider and will directly impact how your site will rank in SERPs.  must purchase a brand-new domain extension for your website.

Numerous extensions exist, including .edu, gov, net, com, etc. Although “.com” is the most popular and is utilised by marketers. 

When selecting a top-level domain (TLD) to purchase for your website, there are a few factors to consider. You’ll be able to select from several standard extensions, like .net or  .com, from which to build your domain. You’ll also want to consider the following, as you build your TLD:

  • Relevance: Choose a TLD that is relevant to your business or industry. For example, a .com TLD is generally more appropriate for a business website, while a .edu TLD is typically reserved for educational institutions.
  • Target audience: Consider the location of your target audience when selecting a TLD. For example, a .com TLD may be a good choice for a global audience, while a .co.uk is best if your customers are specific to the UK.
  • Branding: Consider how the TLD will fit with your branding and overall online presence. For example, if you have a strong brand and want to create a professional image, a .com TLD will be your best bet. 
  • Availability: Check to see if the TLD you want is available before making a decision. If it isn’t available, you may need to choose a different TLD or consider using a different domain name altogether.

Do I Need a Sub-Domain?

A subdomain is the domain that follows your TDL. For example: help.content.com is part of the content.com domain.

Determining if you need a subdomain depends on several factors. To help decide, ask yourself the following?

  • Do I need to differentiate between different types of website  content? Subdomains can be used to separate different types of content on your website. For example, you might use a subdomain for a blog, a support centre, or an online store.
  • Am I targeting a very specific audience? Subdomains are helpful if you need  to target specific audiences or regions. For example, you might use a subdomain for a language-specific version of your website or for content targeted at a specific country.
  • Do I need to build a unique and separate online presence? Subdomains can be used for a specific product, service, or brand. This can be useful if you want to keep the content and branding of these subdomains distinct from your many company’s websites.

If you have a small website with a limited amount of content, you may not need to use subdomains. But, if your site has a lot of content and is much larger—and if you want to target your site to a specific audience or geographic region—a subdomain may be a good idea for you. 

Making It Work: Create URLs That Are Optimized for SEO

By following these best practices, you can create an SEO-friendly URL that is easy for both your website visitors and search engines to understand and use. 

There are other key factors that will play into how search engines view and rank your URL, including:

  1. Domain name: The main part of your website’s URL will impact search rankings. So, it’s important to be smart with your keyword usage.  
  2. Page title: Your webpage’s titles, also known as “title tags,” play into how search engines rank your content. Make sure your on-page titles also use relevant keywords and accurately capture the content you’re featuring on that particular page.  
  3. Page content: The full content of your webpage should include valuable information for your visitors. You’ll also want to use a variety of content types (text, images, video). This can help you boost your SEO and SERP ranking—and provide value-add to your visitors. 
  4. URL structures: A clear and logical URL structure can make it easier for both users and search engines to understand and navigate your website, which will also impact your content served in SERPs.  
  5. Keywords:  Including relevant keywords in the URL and throughout the page can help search engines understand the content of the page and improve its ranking.

Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your website showcases a good user experience and a strong technical foundation. All of these important factors will ultimately impact your search engine optimization and help your pages rank well in SERPs.