Five Tips for Creating SEO Friendly URLs

Marjory Meechan - May 8, 2009

SEO friendly URLs containing the keywords relevant to the page can help improve your rankings in search engines for a couple of reasons.

First, they can give the page a little boost for those keywords in the rankings.

Second, if the URLs are formatted correctly, the keywords in the URL can serve double-duty as anchor text if anyone links to the page.   This is another good way to boost a page’s keyword relevance.

For example, this link: automatically has anchor text including the words “morevisibility” “press” and “articles”, so just linking to it gives it a boost for any query containing those words.

However, just stuffing a bunch of keywords into a URL isn’t necessarily going to give you the best results. To create power-house URLs, follow these five tips:

  1. Separate keywords in URLs with dashes. This will make them more closely match a user query in search engines. People tend to separate words with spaces and a dash is the URL equivalent of a space.
  2. Place the primary key phrase as close to the root of the domain as possible.
  3. Include no more than five keywords in each URL. Remember that any keywords in your domain name are already included, so don’t bother to repeat them — it wastes space and could even trigger a spam filter. For example, using the word example twice in a URL like this one: would be a big waste of valuable URL real estate and a lot of repetitions of one word.
  4. If your site structure allows, position the words in the same order that you expect a user to input them into a search query. Search engines tend to give higher rankings for pages that feature the queried key phrase in the same order as the searcher used.
  5. Keep the URL as short as possible — less than 78 characters is optimal for URL sharing in an e-mail or marketing the URL on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. URL shortening services are fine, but people who worry about catching computer viruses are more likely to click on a URL from a domain they recognize and trust.
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