What Are URLs?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and it represents the address of a given unique resource on the Web. A URL is a human-readable text that was designed to replace IP addresses that computers use to communicate with servers. It also defines how to access the resource using a “protocol” such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.

URLs must be shorter than 2083 characters and they consist of a protocol, domain name, and path.

The protocol tells how a browser should access information about a resource. The standard for websites is usually HTTP or its secured version HTTPS. Browsers may also contain protocols like FTP: to handle file transfers or mailto: to open your default mail client.

The domain name is the name for the specific location where a resource is located. It shows which web server is being requested.

Port indicates the technical “gate” and it’s used to access the resource on the webserver.

URLs can also contain specific folders or subfolders of a website, any parameters that may be stored in the URL, and anchors that allow visitors to navigate to a specific resource point.

Why Is URL Important for SEO?

The first and probably the most important benefit is improved user experience. A well-designed URL provides both search engines and humans with more understanding of the contents of the page. Even when there’s no title tag, a concise URL can still provide a clear idea about what you’ll find on the page and improve the user experience.

Even though URL is not a big factor when it comes to rankings, it is still quite important to the overall domain itself. A keyword used in a URL can act as a ranking factor. However, that doesn’t mean you should just stuff keywords in the URL.

A well-written URL can be its own anchor text when copied and pasted into blogs, social media, forums, and so on. Facebook, for instance, can leave shared links completely unformatted and unoptimized which can seem unwieldy and it can deter clicks instead of garnering them. But, if you have a well-written and human-readable URL, it can provide a better idea of what the users will get when they click on it.

How to Write a Good URL

Always keep it as simple, compelling, relevant, and accurate as possible. Even though the URL can include ID numbers and codes, the best is to use the words that people can understand.

The point of URLs is to be definitive and concise. Users and search engines should have an idea of what the page is all about only by seeing the URL.

Use hyphens only if necessary, don’t use underscores, spaces, or any other character to separate words.

Use lowercase letters because sometimes uppercase letters can cause issues with duplicate pages.

If possible, avoid the use of URL parameters because they can create issues with tracking and duplicate content.

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