Understanding SEO Friendly URL Syntax Practices. Search engine optimization Friendly URL SyntaxPoor URL structure is a frequent SEO issue, one that will impair rankings, keep pages out of the search engine indexes, and suck ranking authority from your other pages or even the entire websites. Some content management system bake poor URL structures right into their websites. Lax rules can be a culprit, for example, not encoding spaces or special characters.
Meanwhile, some CMS platforms devise URLs using illegal characters that will not show up in addresses. Others generate multiple URLs for pages, creating duplicate content. While it is factual that search engines like google head to great lengths to see and index even the worst URLs, attention to URL management and optimization will provide both SEO and usability advantages.
Good URL Structure. Some time ago, Dr. Peter J. Meyers put together a cheat sheet on the anatomy of any URL. It’s a good one to maintain handy. It is easy to read and understand. If I saw this address pasted right into a blog or forum, I would likely simply click it. It is actually SEO optimized with breadcrumb style keywords. Search engines look for keywords in URLs; it’s a known ranking factor. This layout, going from general to specific, is ideal for enterprise SEO.
The URL includes their own anchor text. If the address were pasted in to a blog or some other website as a link, that link would possess well-optimized key phrases. Old style dynamic addresses are legal and acceptable, though they have drawbacks.
They tend to be longer and hard to see because they contain both parameter names plus values. Pairing parameter names with values adds extra words. This could dilute the SEO value derived from keywords within the URLs. This sort of address might have information better transmitted outside the URL. A person ID, session ID, sort code, print code and lots of other possible parameters could create duplicate content, security or any other issues.
Diagnosing URL Issues – To discover URL based issues:
Check for errors and warnings then see whether URLs are definitely the culprit. Audit all URLs for proper syntax. To examine for errors, start out with Google and Bing webmaster tool reports. Look for duplicate content then examine the webpage addresses themselves and their locations. Numerous third-party SEO tools can locate SEO issues also. Canonical issues, parameters that do not change page content, loose adherence to coding standards, or any number of reasons can create duplicate content.
I dealt with a newspaper that used unique numerical identifiers, outside of parameters, to serve articles as webpages. It did not matter what the URL contained, so long as the identifier was somewhere in the address. Unfortunately, the writing of link hooks into templates was inconsistent, causing thousands upon thousands of duplicate content pages. We needed to pour through each template, rewrite each link hook being an SEO friendly URL, then catalog all the legacy URLs and 301-redirect those to the new optimized addresses.
When auditing URL syntax, I prefer to export every webpage address right into a spreadsheet or database. If you’re thinking of using Google site: queries, don’t bother as lots of the issues you may search for do not show up in search results. Each character has a specific use. Should they appear, determine if they are used properly, should be encoded, or if perhaps the URL needs reconfiguration.
Unsafe Characters – Unsafe URL Characters. Encode unsafe characters unless utilized for a specific purpose. The % symbol fails to require encoding when utilized to encode a character. The # symbol will not require encoding when qngvsy to create an anchor tag.
Miscellaneous Characters – Miscellaneous URL Characters. Strictly speaking, these characters usually do not require encoding. The truth is, many CMS platforms will encode these automatically. If you wish links that contain these characters to keep consistent when shared from website to website, it’s a safe and secure bet to encode these.
Search For The Pound Symbol, # – Search engine listings overlook the # and everything after it in a URL. If using the #, ensure the webpage appears as you would like it crawled and indexed when the # and everything that follows is removed. If the # changes content you would like indexed, you will need to find a different URL structure. For example,