URL Architecture

URL architecture relates to the structure of a webpage’s URL and how it can impact a page’s performance in search. There are several elements to consider when creating a URL structure to ensure it is optimised for both search engines and users. These are covered within our Hangout Notes, along with recommendations and insights from Google.

Google Can Treat Hash URLs as Separate URLs if They Lead to Unique Content

July 23, 2019 Source

Google usually ignores anything after the hash, but the exceptions to this are hashbang URLs and hash URLs that lead to unique content that isn’t available on the non-hash version of the URL. John recommends that you should avoid relying on this, however.


Keep URLs Under 1,000 Characters in Length

July 23, 2019 Source

John recommends making sure that URLs are under 1,000 characters in length so that they can be crawled and indexed.


Google Will Read the URL String Contained After the Query Parameter

July 12, 2019 Source

If you are using a ? query parameter, Google will read the remaining URL string and it is not something which blocks crawling or indexing. However, they will drop anything following a # parameter.


Be Consistent in Trailing Slash Usage Across a Site

July 9, 2019 Source

John recommends being as consistent as possible with the use of the trailing slash in the links across a site.


There Are No SEO Benefits For Translated URLs

May 28, 2019 Source

As long as Google is able to see unique URLs for each language, it is not a requirement for each word within the URL to be translated. While it can be positive for user experience, it doesn’t provide any SEO benefits.


Focus on Internal Linking Rather Than URL Structure For Passing Signals

May 3, 2019 Source

John recommends focusing more on how pages are connected within a website through site architecture and internal linking and how easy it is for Google to find and pass signals through them, rather than worrying about the URL structure.


Use Query Parameters For Onsite Search

May 3, 2019 Source

John recommends using a separate query parameter for on-site search as it’s a lot easier for Google to recognise as something that might vary. If there are additional parameters also added to the URL e.g. for pagination or filtering, utilising a query parameter makes it easier for Google to learn what the individual path parts are for as well as helping to optimize the crawling of these pages.


Keywords in URLs are a Very Small Ranking Signal

May 1, 2019 Source

The words featured in a URL are such a small ranking signal that John wouldn’t recommend reshaping a website to accommodate more descriptive URLs as it is unlikely this would significantly improve performance in search.


Don’t Use URLs That Change on the Fly

November 27, 2018 Source

If URLs change on the fly to include session IDs, for example, this will cause Google to spend more resources on crawling duplicate content. This will also cause confusion around choosing the right canonical page.


Related Topics

HTTPS Parameters Site Architecture Subdomains Canonical Domain Facets TLDs Site/Page Quality