SEO-Friendly URL: Tips for a Good SEO URL Structure

What does the Internet address have to do with your Google ranking? Quite a lot. Not only search engines will be happy with a well thought-out SEO URL structure and optimisation tips. Users also benefit from this.

From an SEO perspective, the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of a website fulfils four functions: It is an ID for providers, an overview of the directory structure, a content summary and a good place for keywords related to the user intent.

The URL plays a multi-faceted role in Onpage optimisation, even if its significance as a Google ranking factor is constantly changing.

This also involves technical issues like the use of the secure transfer protocol https. On a qualitative level, factors currently dominate that turn a technical foundation for the discoverability of websites into a meaningful source of information for users.

What does an SEO-friendly URL look like?

The core requirement for every SEO-friendly URL: It must be clear at a glance what can be expected from the page. To achieve this, various factors are defined under the key term speaking URL. Not all of them have a huge influence on the ranking, but all of them increase user trust and thus the click probability.

For example, the URL of our article on short URLs looks like this:

You can draw the following conclusions from this sequence alone:

  1. You are on the website of the provider SISTRIX.
  2. This service is hosted on a generic top-level domain (top-level domain ending in .com).
  3. This article comes from the category Ask SISTRIX and deals with the subcategory SEO basics with a focus on URLs.
  4. This article apparently specialises in short URLs.

Without having read a single sentence, you know what the article is about. You can also use the directory structure to understand whether the specialisation of the article is oriented in your direction. An overview of the page hierarchy in the URL is also a good guide to understanding the meaning of the article.

By naming the provider and their location, users can get an idea of the general trustworthiness of the domain. It is true that country-specific top-level domains (ccTLD) have a difficult time in international rankings. However, if your content is aimed at a specific language area anyway, you will fare better than with generic top-level domains (gTLD).

Although the importance of keywords in the URL is always debatable, it generally does no harm if the URL contains keywords that the user is targeting.

What makes up a good SEO URL structure?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for a better ranking for the URL, just as there is none for the title tag. However, you should follow a few basic tips with the principle of the speaking URL in mind.

Make sure the URL is clean

Session IDs and other dynamic parameters that accompany a “session” between client and server should not appear in the URL if possible. Cookies are the better alternative from an SEO URL perspective.

Keep the directory structure simple

Each backslash (/) in the URL delimits the sublevel from the directory above it. Even though precise sorting is important, you should not go more than five directories deep. This ensures clarity, saves you the use of short URLs and makes crawlers happy.

This is less about shortening the URL. You simply need to tidy up the directory structure. The closer the content is to the main page, the more important it is for the ranking. The fewer steps it takes to get from point A on the website to point B, the more user-friendly the website is.

Don’t forget: If you move URLs and restructure page directories, you should set up 301 redirects or htaccess redirects to protect bots and users from a 404 error.

Optimise the (qualitative) URL length

The URL is a place for headlines and keywords, not a place for great speeches. Make sure to condense the respective directories of the URL to their central terms.

An example: Which URL captures the content better?


Filler words, prepositions and vocabulary other than subject and object should not appear in the URL structure. This allows you to reduce the so-called slugs (URL components) to meaningful units.

The technical URL length is limited to 2,000 characters anyway. However, readability is generally more important than the pure width. A URL optimised in this way is also an important aid for breadcrumb navigation.

Optimise the keywords

Even if keywords in the URL are not as easy to establish as a Google ranking factor as keywords in the title tag or content, the logic is clear: A word that picks up on the search query or search intent is better than a generic term.

As keywords occur in practically every element of a page in Onpage optimisation anyway, you can also implement this resource directly in the URL – regardless of how high up this factor ranks at the end. You should therefore always take into account recommendations for keywords at URL level.

Are URLs with capital letters valid?

In general, you can use upper and lower case letters in URLs. According to Google, capital letters do not affect the ranking and SEO performance of pages. However, it is better for the presentation to write addresses in lower case. You may also run the risk of creating duplicate content if your page is accessible via different URLs, for example, via:


What are URLs with incorrect syntax?

URLs with incorrect syntax are URLs that are built incorrectly. An example for this is http::/// Such a URL cannot be read by a browser and leads to an error message. Correct URLs are also extremely important in links.

Note that web servers also handle this issue differently. Windows servers, for example, treat URLs with upper and lower case the same, while Linux web servers differentiate between them. The same applies to content management systems. Ideally, you should give every page a self-referencing canonical link, that points to the URL in lower case. This way you avoid duplicate content.

How do I avoid dynamic URLs?

Dynamic websites are different from static websites, as they are not permanently stored on a server, but are created upon request. This means, an application creates the page matching the user request with the help of data from a database. Dynamic URLs are used in online shops, for example.

Correct URLs follow a specific pattern. They consist of:

  • a protocol, for websites http or https,
  • a port number, in case it deviates from the “80” (rare),
  • a host, that is composed of a top-level as well as a second-level domain and potentially a subdomain,
  • partially a directory,
  • a file name.

An example for this is:

Dynamic URLs have many advantages, starting with their easy creation via content management systems up to the minimal effort needed for their management. However, try to keep URLs short and without unnecessary parameters so that search engines can read them better. It is also recommended not to hide any important parameters. Google also discourages from rewriting dynamic URLs with which these are transformed into static URLs.


If you put as much effort into a URL as you do with the rest of your Onpage optimisation, you will be rewarded by users and search engines alike. Beyond that, working on your SEO URL structure will also help you tidy up your online presence.