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.

Shorter URLs Aren’t Given Preferential Treatment in Search

July 13, 2018 Source

Google doesn’t have anything in their algorithms to prefer URLs that are shorter in length, despite of what some ranking studies suggest.

Click Depth Determines Page Importance More Than URL Structure

June 1, 2018 Source

Google cares more about click depth rather than what the URL structure looks like itself with regards to page importance. For example, it doesn’t matter too much if a page is several layers deep in the URL structure if it is linked from the homepage.

Move Outdated Content From Re-Usable URLs Onto Archive URLs

May 1, 2018 Source

If you have content that you update for a yearly event, for example, include the newest content on one, re-usable URL where accumulative signals gained will allow it to rank higher, and move outdated content onto archive URLs.

Google Can Understand International Sites Without Hreflang Guidance

March 9, 2018 Source

Hreflang is best practice for international sites. However, Google can understand different language versions of a site without hreflang present through internal linking or the URLs themselves.

Google Differentiates Page Types And Weighs Them Differently

November 28, 2017 Source

Google differentiates between different page groups (e.g. irrelevant pages, cruft URLs and parameters) and weighs them differently. These pages will be looked at occasionally but won’t be considered as a primary part of the site.

Hreflang Takes Precedence Over URL When Conflict Exists Between Language & Location Information

October 3, 2017 Source

If the country or language codes conflict between the URL directory structure or query parameters and the hreflang then John thinks that the latter would take precedence e.g. if EN was featured in the URL and DE in hreflang markup, hreflang would be used by Google.

Words in URL are Relatively Small Ranking Factor Compared to Page Content

October 3, 2017 Source

Google does use words in URLs if there is anything useful there, but this is a relatively small factor compared to content on the page. However, Google does pick up country and language codes that they think are relevant to identify different versions of a page.

Hash Symbols Are Ignored by Google

September 22, 2017 Source

When Crawling and indexing pages Google ignores everything that comes after a hash symbol. Using these is fine as long as they don’t lead to unique content not available within the normal URL as this would likely be missed by Google.

Location Name High in URL Path Raises Suspicion About Doorway Pages

September 22, 2017 Source

Location names high up in the URL path raises suspicions that there are going to be a lot of doorway pages on the site, where the full content is being duplicated across a large number of cities. The web spam team might take action on these if there is nothing unique across these city pages.

Related Topics

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