Optimize your Url Structure

Discussion about URL structure for websites , in the context of SEO.

Today I would like to address one of the most overlooked issues of onpage SEO “The url structure”. Though, many webmasters still have second thoughts regarding the contribution and effectiveness of SEO friendly Url. But I would like to part off myself from those geeks.
Even if you have a look over Google webmaster central blog regarding Url structure you will find that, they have recommended keeping your Url structure as simple as possible. I have always insisted my clients to build such Url structure that itself acts a title and can be termed as pretty Url. Let’s see, how we can make best use of our Urls through proper Url structure.

1.       Using keyword in URL to increase relevancy:

We usually think about keyword relevancy while selecting the domain name but often neglect the same logic while building internal pages. Always try to have a keyword relevant page name.  This gives addition weight and relevancy to the search term you are targeting.
For example, we are having a internal service page on seo and internet marketing. Thus we can have a url structure like

http://www.websys.co.in/seo-internet-marketing.html rather than


2.       Hierarchy structure within url:

Logical hierarchy based url structure helps users to figure out the how pages are correlated with each other. It also facilitate in proper categorizing the webpage by search spider.

Ex: a) Good url: http://www.websys.co.in/seo-internet-marketing/keyword-ranking.html
Bad url: http://www.websys.co.in/keyword-ranking.html

b)Good url: http://www.your_domain.com/compact-system-cameras/Sony/NEX-5-Black-18-55-lens/

Bad url: http://www.your_domain.com/online.store/products/77650/show.html

3. Canonicalise www and Non-www :

Again, I would like to address one of the tiny issues often unnoticed by developers and webmaster “duplicate content”. The non-www URL is returning the same page as the www version. This means that, it is effectively creating two exact copies of the same website.

The solution is either you can use canonical tag (<meta name=”canonical” content=”http://www.websys.co.in” />) or you can use 301 redirect for non-www URL.

4.       Handling non-Secure Https pages:

This is an advance level of correcting duplicate content that usually arises in those website which uses relative url structure for navigation. In such cases when user enters into any secure pages using https connection and navigates to other pages from there, the url retains the https connection. So you are having the same content for both http and https pages.
To overcome this issue, make sure that for all none secured areas or pages, the https versions is having a 301 redirected pointing to the corrected http versions.

5. The Trailing Slash:

This is another duplicate content issue. The problem in such cases arises from those websites which renders same content for both Urls ie. with and without the trailing slash. Correcting the issue is straight forward and can be fixed with a simple 301 redirect rule for all pages without a trailing slash pointing to the version with a trailing slash.

6.       Rendering Index file:

Almost 8 among 10 websites are suffering with this issue. It happens when your root directory is projecting the same page as that of the index file (index.html or index.php or index.aspx etc.).
For example: http://www.your_domain.com/ and http://www.your_domain.com/index.php renders the same page that flags the issue of duplicate content

This can be corrected by canonical tag in index.php or using 301 redirect of all such urls.

7. Handling Category IDs:

Many websites specially those having CMS and shopping cart, uses category id as http request for passing product ids through header. In such cases the Url structure become quite ugly.

For ex: http://www.example.com/product.aspx?ID=11526&IT=5f7d3d

These letters and symbols in a URL means absolutely nothing to either a human visitor or a search engine spider.
My advice will be, developers can programmatically define these category ids corresponding to their unique product name so that such type of url can transform from ugly url to pretty url.

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