SEO glossary: URL structure

In a nutshell: What is the URL structure?

The URL structure is an important part of Search Engine Optimization. It should be particularly user-friendly and help search engine crawlers to easily understand the structure of a website.


What is a URL structure?

A URL structure is the systematic structure of an Internet address including its directories and documents/files. Its structure should be simple and understandable. This makes it easier for both search engines and users to find their way around a website.


For this reason, for example, it should be noted to go to a maximum of three directory depths for a URL structure. Otherwise it can happen that crawlers the URLs are too long and/or the CRAWL-BUDGET is used up. But more about that in a moment!


First, let's look at the structure of a URL:


First, the URL consists of a pure domain name:


In addition to the domain, a directory can now be attached:


In addition, a file or document can still be inserted in a directory:


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What does a good URL structure look like?

To make the URL structure as simple and friendly as possible, there are some recommendations and tips for this:


  • Directory depth: Keep URLs as short as possible and work with a maximum of three directory depths. This is the only way to ensure that the URL is not too long and the crawler does not have to dig too deep. The crawl budget should also be taken into account here.
  • URL length: Even if a crawler can easily read URLs with a length of 1,000 characters or more, you should not make them unnecessarily long. If only because users cannot read the URL in the SERPs see. Short and snappy URLs can increase attention, which can lead to a better CTR. Be careful not to use unnecessary parameters or stop words.
  • Avoid session IDs: Refrain from using session IDs when possible. They can result in potentially duplicate content being indexed. This in turn has a negative impact on the ranking. As an alternative to session IDs, you can use the modern variant cookies to perform tracking and further analysis.
  • Punctuation marks: If a subpage, like an HTML document, has multiple descriptive terms, separate them with punctuation marks. The best way to do this is to use hyphens.
  • Few parameters: The more parameters a URL contains, the more difficulties a search engine crawler has when reading it. So try to reduce such parameters as far as possible or omit them completely.
  • Meaningful URLs: This is where the parameters come into play again. Instead of your URL consisting of just any characters and numbers, you should make it more meaningful. So include complete words. Users and search engines will thank you for it.


How important is a clear URL structure for search engine optimization?

The following advantages show how important a simple and clear URL structure is in terms of SEO:


  • When users look around the SERPs for a suitable result, clear URLs can help them find their way around more quickly. This may have a positive effect on user behavior. In addition, bounce rates may be reduced.
  • But it also makes it easier for search engines to crawl the entire project. Crawlers like the Googlebot have a limited crawler budget. Complicated URLs or too many directory depths mean that URLs may be left out and not indexed.
  • Simple URLs also offer a clear advantage in terms of administrative effort. If you have clearly structured your URLs, it will be easier for you to maintain and optimize the project later on.


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Conclusion: What is a URL structure?

Even before a new web project is created, it makes sense to think about the URL structure beforehand. This makes it much easier for both crawlers and users to find their way around a domain. But also for the own order, maintenance and optimization of the website a clean URL structure is clearly advantageous.

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