How to Write an SEO Friendly URL

urlThe URL – Uniform Resource Locator – or address for your web page, is a key “on-page” SEO element. It is one of your primary opportunities to tell the search engines what your web page is about.

Although the URL is made up of several components, it is the subdirectory or path that I want to focus on.

i.e. http://www.EchelonSEO.com/subdirectory/

The subdirectory should be the “name”, based on keywords, for that individual page, and should be closely related to the primary Title Tag for the page.

i.e. http://www.EchelonSEO.com/how-to-write-a-url/

URL Parameters

In order to be optimized for search, subdirectories should contain your keywords, be no longer than 3-5 words and should be separated by a hyphen (NOT an underscore).

i.e. http://www.EchelonSEO/search-engine-optimization/

WordPress URL SEO

Note: If you have an existing blog, changing these settings will change the URL’s from your already published posts! I would recommend instead, just customizing each as you post them. However, if you are setting up a new WordPress blog . . .

For search purposes, set your WordPress blog so that your default URL subdirectory is the title of your post

i.e. http://www.EchelonSEO/how-to-write-an-seo-friendly-url

If your current default settings result in a URL that looks like one of these . . .

  • http://blog.echelonseo.com/?p=123
  • http://blog.echelonseo.com/2013/24/02/how-to-write-an-seo-friendly-url/
  • http://blog.echelonseo.com/2013/02/how-to-write-an-seo-friendly-url/
  • http://blog.echelosnseo.com/archives/123

. . . go to your WordPress dashboard and click on SETTINGS >>> PERMALINKS >>> and the POST NAME radio button.

Although it doesn’t affect your SEO, I would recommend not including the date of your post in your URL – it ages it in the eye of your reader, making them less likely to read, as you get further away from the publishing date.

If you want to customize the default URL – it may be too long (like mine) – you can click on the URL “Edit” button . . .

custom URL

. . . and customize your URL. In this example, I could change it as follows:

http://blog.echelonseo.com/write-an-seo-friendly-url

The URL is a simple, but important element of “on-page” SEO. As a bonus, an optimized URL is also usually much more user friendly and helpful to the visitors of your website.

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Brent is a REALTOR with Keller Williams in Henderson (Las Vegas valley) NV. He has a background in digital marketing and is a nationally recognized SEO expert. In addition to this blog, he is a VIP contributor to Search Engine Journal and has been syndicated through SteamFeed, Social Media Today and B2C.
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