PPC & SEO

Why having shorter URLs improves your ranking on Google

By Kostas Giannoukaris

Why having shorter URLs improves your ranking on Google

A shorter URL ranks better in Google search results as well as improving users’ experience.

Optimising the length of your website URLs is a marketing practice your business should consider for better Google search rankings. This blog by the B2B Marketing Lab search team will explain why you should consider reducing the size and complexity of your URLs for best SEO practice.

Google wants a Search Engine friendly URL

Every URL in your website should be easy to browse, easy to read, easy to find and easy to understand by Google.

Many websites employ bad practice and have extremely long and over complex URLs with unnecessary parameters that not only make a website disorganised, but make the job difficult for Google to crawl resulting in worse rankings.

Google wants to be as effective as possible and is always thinking of the user experience and will rank your website depending on how good it is for users.

The risks of not having optimised URLs

In general, users like what you and me prefer - shorter URLs that are easy to remember. Having long and complex URLs can result in:

  • Broken Links - If you have long and confusing URLs you might be risking that users break the link, thinking that the whole parameters on the URL were not necessary, or accidentally break the link when copying and pasting the URL, missing part of the URL in the process.
  • Loss of opportunities - When URLs are too long and include unrecognisable words, users are intimidated and feel they are either receiving or sharing spam content.
  • Bad user experience - The longer the URL the more mistakes users will make when typing the URL into a search engine. Most web visitors will arrive via links, but visitors that come from direct traffic will have to type your URL, so if your URL is straight forward and easier to type, then all the better. Also with the increasing mobile phone usage, users value simplicity even more.

Top five tips and best practice for creating user friendly URLs

  1. Make your URLs memorable, simple and catchy at the launch of your website to avoid having to make corrections (301 redirects) afterwards.
  2. Avoid the use of dashes, hyphens or numbers in the main URL domain. So in the example of our URL, we would not have our URL domain as http://www.b2b-marketing-lab. However this rule doesn’t apply to the keyword in your URL tail because in this instance, Google views hyphens as spaces.
  3. Include explanatory keywords on your URLs that provide users and search engines with additional information about your webpages and avoid generic page names such as “page1.html”.
  4. Make your URLs consistent with your webpage H1 Headers.
  5. If you find out via your analytics that people are coming to the same page via different URLs you should place a 301 redirect between them so that the domain authority of the page doesn’t get split between both URLs.

An example of a bad URL would be: http://www.g0bbl3_d3_g00k.co.uk/63solz~html

Whereas an example of a good URL is: http://www.b2bmarketinglab.co.uk/brightedge-seo

If you want to learn more on how to create effective URLs that will improve your rankings, have a look at this URL Guide by Google Webmasters.

Remember that it is vital to understand the latest SEO trends and ranking factors Google uses to rank your website, so that your business can continue to enjoy search ranking success. Ranking high will make it easier for people to discover your website, will improve your brand awareness and the chance of getting more business.

 

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by Kostas Giannoukaris

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