How to Create SEO-Friendly URLs in 6 Steps

Learn how to create SEO-friendly URLs that boost your search engine rankings and improve user experience with our comprehensive guide.
Last Updated November 2, 2023


SEO-friendly URLs are web addresses intended to be understandable by both search engines and humans. These URLs often contain relevant keywords or phrases that correctly represent the webpage’s content.

How can you construct URLs that are compatible with SEO? Continue reading to learn about best practices and advice for how to create seo-friendly URLs that can enhance your website’s user experience and search engine rankings. Let’s begin!

Let’s start by understanding the anatomy of a URL

A URL is the online address users enter into their browsers to visit a webpage. It comprises various components, including the following:

  • Protocol
  • Domain name
  • Subdomain
  • Subfolder
  • Slug


The protocol comes first in a URL and describes how the user’s browser will communicate with the server that hosts the page. Nowadays, most websites use the industry-standard protocol — Hypertext Transfer Protocol (or “http://”) — to ensure the security and accuracy of delivered data.

Another well-liked protocol is “https://,” which adds security through encryption. It’s ideal for an online store or website requiring users to sign in using their personal information. By getting an SSL certficate, you can minimize the risk of malicious third parties intercepting critical information like passwords, credit card numbers, and personal details.

Domain name

A domain name serves as a distinctive identification for a website. Users enter the address to visit a specific webpage in their browser’s address bar. A domain name typically consists of two components: The name itself, which can be the brand or identity of the website, and a domain extension (.com,.org,

It’s critical to pick an appropriate domain name since it impacts a website’s accessibility, legitimacy, and exposure. It must be short, simple to remember, and pertinent to the content or goals of the website.

For instance, if your company offers sustainable fashion items, you can pick the domain name “” to show your commitment to the environment and make it simple for clients to remember and locate you online. This domain name selection strengthens your brand’s reputation and raises the possibility of luring interested buyers concerned about sustainable fashion.


A subdomain is a portion of a larger domain that is used to aggregate and categorize specific Internet sites or functionalities. It’s added a prefix to the primary domain name. For instance, you can use the subdomains “” or “” to distinguish between its blog and e-commerce parts.

Subdomains benefit your company since they provide an excellent structure and user-friendly navigation. Additionally, you can use them to focus on specific keyword phrases or demographics, increasing the visibility and relevance of your website in search engine results.


Subfolders are directories created within the primary domain to classify and organize relevant material. This method may be beneficial if your website has significant content or provides various products and services.

For instance, you can use subfolders to divide the product categories of your company’s clothing and electronics offerings. Your primary domain name can be “,” with the apparel area being located in a subfolder like “” and the electronics section in a distinct subdomain like “” This approach facilitates users’ simple site navigation.

By arranging material into subfolders, you can establish a logical structure that makes it simpler for people to explore and get the necessary information. Additionally, you can optimize subfolders for keywords to raise the website’s search engine exposure and draw in more relevant visitors.


A slug is the URL portion that designates a particular page or information on your website. Typically, it is a brief but precise phrase or word that correctly sums up the information on the page. The slug is generally included in the URL after your domain name and subdirectories. It aids users and search engines in comprehending your web pages’ content before clicking on them.

For instance, the slug in the URL “” would be “how-to-make-a-delicious-cake.” By expressing unequivocally that the page is about making a lovely cake, this slug makes it straightforward for users to discover the relevant information and for search engines to index and rank the page correctly.

Slugs are frequently created automatically depending on the page’s title or headline, but you can also manually alter them for improved efficiency. This tweak might be advantageous for SEO objectives as it enables you to incorporate appropriate keywords that people may look for.

Why URLs are important to SEO

URLs are significant to SEO because they are crucial in determining the relevance and positioning of a webpage in search engine results. URLs are meaningful in SEO. Both users and search engines may get helpful information about a website’s content from a well-optimized URL. A descriptive and keyword-rich URL may also increase click-through rates and draw more natural traffic to a website.

Additionally, URLs are crucial in determining a general structure and organization. Search engines examine the URLs to grasp the hierarchy and connections between website pages. Users can locate relevant content more efficiently due to the website’s improved indexing and ranking by search engines.

How to create SEO-friendly URLs

Here’s how to create SEO-friendly URLs:

  1. Choose between a static URL vs. a dynamic URL
  2. Conduct keyword research
  3. Use the keywords to create a page title
  4. Start optimizing your permalink
  5. Include relevant breadcrumbs in your URLs
  6. Test your URLs to ensure they don’t return a 404 error

1. Choose between a static URL vs. a dynamic URL

Start by deciding between static and dynamic URLs depending on your website’s demands and goals. A static URL is a set address that does not change without changes to your website’s content or structure. A dynamic URL, on the other hand, is created automatically based on numerous criteria, such as user input or database queries.

Static URL vs. dynamic URL: Which is best for SEO?

Search engines typically prefer static URLs because they are simpler to understand and index. They are more user-friendly and more likely to attract organic visitors because they include pertinent keywords. Conversely, dynamic URLs may be more flexible, making tracking and managing website content easier.

Static URL Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Easy to remember and share

Better for search engine indexing

Can improve user experience

Can improve website loading speed

Includes relevant keywords

Likely to attract organic traffic

Limited flexibility

Difficult to update or change

May lead to duplicate content issues

Dynamic URL pros and cons

Pros Cons
Highly customizable

Easier to update and change

Suitable for large-scale websites with constantly changing content

Allows for targeted marketing campaigns based on URL parameters

May result in URL parameters being ignored by search engines

Less user-friendly and shareable

Can lead to broken links if parameters are not managed properly

2. Conduct keyword research

Next, do keyword research to find appropriate phrases for your website. Keyword research entails finding the terms and phrases your target market is likely to use while looking for products or services that are comparable to yours. This step is essential for making your URL search engine-friendly and drawing in organic visitors.

Including these keywords in your website’s content increases the likelihood that it will appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users enter those specific search phrases. Furthermore, keyword research can assist you in locating long-tail keywords that are more specialized and less competitive, increasing your chances of appearing higher in SERPs.

Here are some of the best practices for conducting keyword research:

  • Start by developing a list of pertinent themes and topics related to your website or company.
  • Utilize keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer to find popular and highly ranked keywords in your sector.
  • Discover what keywords your rivals are using to rank by examining their websites.
  • Look for long-tail keywords with low search volumes but high conversion rates for better targeting.
  • Consider the keyword’s search intent and optimize your content to provide useful information or solutions.

Once you have a list of all the keywords your URLs will target, you can move on to the next step!

3. Use the keywords to create a page title

Use these keywords to create a concise, descriptive, and straightforward page title. The page title is one of the most crucial components of SEO since it appears as a clickable link in search engine results. It must appropriately represent the page’s content and persuade visitors to click.

Here are some tips for creating compelling page titles:

  • Incorporate your targeted keywords into the page title naturally, without keyword stuffing.
  • Aim for a title of around 50–60 characters to ensure it is fully displayed in search results.
  • Consider including power words or action verbs to make your title more compelling.
  • Test different titles and monitor their performance to find the most effective one for your page.

You can boost your chances of ranking higher and increasing organic traffic by organically combining your desired keywords into the title. Additionally, avoid keyword stuffing since it might hurt your website in the eyes of search engines.

Instead, concentrate on creating a headline that correctly summarizes the information on your page and compels them to click through.

4. Start optimizing your permalink

A new page or post in a content management system like WordPress should automatically generate a permalink when you create it. So, start optimizing it to assist search engines in better grasping your website content.

Here are some practices you can employ to optimize your permalink for SEO:

  1. Remove special characters or symbols
  2. Include the primary keyword in your URL
  3. Use lowercase letters in your URLs
  4. Keep your URLs short and simple
  5. Use hyphens (-) vs. underscores (_)

Let’s take a closer look!

a) Remove special characters or symbols

Your page’s permalink can include unique letters or symbols that confuse search engines and make it harder for them to understand the context of your page. Remove any individual letters or symbols to ensure your URL is SEO-friendly. Use terms that accurately reflect your website’s content instead of confusing and ambiguous ones.

b) Include the primary keyword in your URL

The main keyword in your URL might help search engines determine how pertinent a topic or search query is to your website. If you do this, you have a greater chance of ranking higher in the SERPs for that phrase.

However, avoiding stuffing your URL with terms is best, as search engines can consider this spam. Instead, try to include your primary keyword in a concise, descriptive URL that accurately captures the information on your page.

c) Include the primary keyword in your URL

Use lowercase characters in your URLs to maintain uniformity and avoid ambiguity. This is due to the case sensitivity of URLs, which causes search engines to regard “” and “” as two different pages.

By adopting lowercase letters, you can avoid any possible problems and ensure that your URLs are standard and straightforward for people and search engines.

Additionally, since some operating systems and browsers may have trouble deciphering URLs with uppercase characters, utilizing lowercase letters might help make your website more accessible.

d) Keep your URLs short and simple

Keep your URLs brief and straightforward to enhance the user experience and make it simpler for visitors to remember and share your links. It may be daunting and challenging to input long, complicated URLs, resulting in mistakes and irritation for users.

Keeping your URLs short and straightforward makes it easier for readers and boosts the likelihood of your content being clicked on and shared on social networking sites.

Furthermore, search engines like shorter URLs since they appear more relevant and authoritative. As a result, while designing your website’s URLs, it is critical to favor simplicity and brevity.

e) Use hyphens (-) vs. underscores (_) in your URLs

It’s advisable to use hyphens (-) rather than underscores (_) when deciding which character to use in your URLs. Hyphens are simpler to read and comprehend for both people and search engines.

Contrarily, underscores can occasionally be misread for spaces, which can cause broken links and user confusion. Therefore, for the best URL structure and clarity, it’s recommended to keep with hyphens.

5: Include relevant breadcrumbs in your URLs

Breadcrumbs are a navigational tool that assists visitors in understanding their present location on a website. They frequently appear at the top of a webpage and provide a hierarchical trail of links running from the homepage to the current page.

You can provide search engines with more information and make it simpler for them to index and rank your sites by incorporating breadcrumbs in your URLs. Additionally, breadcrumbs can enhance the user experience by making it simple for users to return to earlier pages or categories. This may be extremely useful for bigger websites with numerous layers of classification.

6: Test your URLs to ensure they don’t return a 404 error

Test your URLs to verify they are not returning a 404 error to maintain a consistent user experience and optimize your website’s SEO. A 404 error happens when a requested URL cannot be found on the server, causing users to be frustrated and potentially harming your website’s rankings.

Regularly check your URLs to ensure they lead to the desired pages by clicking on them to avoid this. If any 404 errors are found, repair broken links or immediately redirect the URLs to the appropriate sites. This method will boost user experience as well as the general operation of your website. Regular 404 error monitoring and correction can improve how well search engines scan and index your website, leading to higher rankings.


Learn more about how SEO and URLs overlap with these FAQs:

Does changing URLs affect SEO?

Changing URLs affects search engine optimization (SEO) by influencing organic search rankings.

That’s because a URL is your site content’s address — it’s what Google knows, and when you change the URL, whether at the slug, folder, or domain level, you’re asking Google to learn your content’s new address. That takes time (and some trust).

What is the SEO impact of changing URLs?

The SEO impact of changing URLs varies and can range from improving (or decreasing) the following:

  • Rankings
  • Organic traffic
  • User engagement metrics, like time on page and bounce rate

While Google describes the SEO impact as minimal (and rare when it happens), many SEO experts endorse changing URLs for SEO purposes, whether moving to a more authoritative domain, creating more descriptive URLs, or establishing a more intuitive site structure.

How does changing a URL affect SEO?

According to Google, changing a URL can affect SEO in a positive, negative, or neutral way:

  • Positive impact: If the new URL is more descriptive and contains relevant keywords, it can improve rankings and attract more organic traffic. This is because search engines rely on URLs to understand the content and relevance of a webpage. Using keywords in the URL makes it easier for search engines to match the user’s query with the webpage’s content.
  • Negative impact: On the other hand, changing a URL can have negative consequences if not done properly. If the new URL is not redirected correctly from the old one, it can lead to broken links and 404 errors, causing a drop in rankings and organic traffic.
  • Neutral way: If the URL change is implemented correctly and all redirects are set up properly, the impact on search engine rankings and organic traffic can be neutral. While the URL change may not necessarily improve rankings or traffic, it won’t negatively impact them.

When can changing URLs can help your SEO?

Changing URLs can help your SEO in the following scenarios:

You have unreadable URLs

Which URL is easier to read?


The first one, right?

Changing a difficult-to-read URL to a more accessible version can benefit your SEO by providing a better user experience for users and web crawlers. Google’s John Mueller cites this as one reason to change a URL (though he notes that it only might benefit your URL).

You create 301 redirects

Change a URL without setting up a 301 redirect — which signals a URL has moved permanently — and you will create a URL problem that harms your SEO. Set up a 301 redirect, and you’ll benefit (and protect) your SEO by sharing with users and search engines that your content has moved to a new location.

That’s why creating a 301 redirect is an industry best practice when changing URLs.

You repair keyword cannibalization

Targeting the same keyword across multiple pages can lead to keyword cannibalization, which doesn’t help your site improve its organic search rankings or traffic. Instead, you weigh your site down with content that — while different — is a little too close.

Bringing these pages together can help your SEO — and for that to happen, you need to change URLs.

When can changing URLs can hurt your SEO?

Changing URLs can hurt your SEO in the following scenarios:

You create 404 errors

You’ll see a negative SEO impact of changing URLs when you skip setting up 301 redirects. What happens in this scenario is all your internal and external backlinks to your URL become 404 errors.

These broken links lead to a terrible user experience (people can’t get where they’re trying to go) and tell web crawlers that this content doesn’t exist! Setting up a 301 redirect is vital because it redirects users and web crawlers to your new URL.

You skip sitemap updates

Your sitemap is a powerful tool in search engine optimization. Via your sitemap, web crawlers can explore every level of your site, which is critical for folders that live deeper in your website, like

You give web crawlers inaccurate information if you change URLs and don’t update your sitemap.

You move to a scammy domain

Researching the SEO impact of changing URLs at the domain level?

Then, you’ll need to consider your domain’s history. You can do this a few ways, like early access to the domain’s Google Search Console account (here, you can see if the site has any actions against it) or using blacklist check tools to see if the domain is blacklisted.

If you don’t and move to a scammy domain, you could see adverse effects on your SEO.

When can changing URLs maintain your SEO?

Changing URLs can maintain your SEO (or have zero impact) in the following scenarios:

You prettify URLs

While you may not like the look of, changing the URL to is unlikely to have an impact on your search engine optimization.

If you’re looking to rename URLs for readability, focus on ones that are harder to read than that.

You set up 301 redirects

It’s important to note here — 301 redirects are essential when changing URLs.

A 301 redirect will help protect your SEO efforts by telling search engines and users your content’s new online address. So, even if you don’t see a positive SEO impact from changing URLs, 301 redirects will help maintain your SEO.

When should you change URLs?

There are a variety of reasons companies change URLs, including:

  • Represent company rebrand or merger (through a domain name change)
  • Improve URL readability
  • Establish site architecture
  • Support sharing on third-party sites
  • Condense site content

If you’re thinking about URLs, take the time to consider why you’re doing it and that reason’s impact, especially if you’re committed to building an SEO-friendly website.

How to best change URLs (and preserve your SEO)

Okay, so you’ve decided to embrace the SEO impact of URL changes. Here is how to get started:

  1. Create an effective site architecture, like /clothing/women/dresses/
  2. Build short, descriptive URLs, like /clothing/women/dresses/floral-dress/
  3. Use hyphens to separate words in URLs, like /blog/summer-look-book/
  4. Use 301 redirects to direct search engines and users to your URL’s new location
  5. Run an SEO audit to find and fix 301 errors, 404 errors, and redirect chains

With these tips, you can improve your chances of success when changing URLs.

For more guidance on search engine optimization, check out our SEO resource library.

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