Creating User-Friendly URLs

Creating User-Friendly URLs

Creating a user-friendly URL that’s well structured and keyword optimized can bolster your online presence and lead users and search engines to your web page. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) appears in the address bar at the top of every web page in a browser window, and should include the ‘meat and potatoes’ of what the page is about. A URL that’s easy to read (user-friendly) allows humans and search engines to know what to expect when they arrive on the page; this is the first step in engagement. Let’s explore the main parts of a URL, learn how it can affect website traffic, and figure out how to create a friendly URL that resonates with readers and search engines. 

The 5 Main Parts of a URL

Most URLs include five main parts, and each plays a crucial role in guiding users and computers to a destination. From the protocol at the start of the URL that determines how the information is transferred, through the domain pinpointing the exact server location, to the slug offering additional details, a URL provides a structured means of connecting to online content. 

1 | Protocol

The letters at the beginning of a URL make up the protocol, which tells the browser how to connect. A URL can begin with HTTPS, signifying that it’s secure, or HTTP, which is not secure. When it comes to security that keeps your visitors' data safe and Google happy, that’s where HTTPS shines. It's like Fort Knox for your website, encrypting every byte of information flying back and forth. Not only does it build user trust, but search engines love secure sites, giving you a ranking boost.  An  HTTPS protocol lets visitors  know you care about their privacy. Whenever I land on a web page that’s “not secure,”  9 times out of 10, I’ll bounce to one with an HTTPS protocol.


2 | Subdomain 

The letters before the first dot in the URL represent the subdomain. The most common subdomain has always been www, but many businesses are moving away from this age-old construction. Semrush, for example, uses “careers” in the URL on their career web page to organize all of the employment opportunities they offer:


Your URL subdomain can be anything you like—just make sure it accurately represents your website. 

3 | Domain 

This part of the URL identifies the website domain, which will likely be your business name. Our domain name tells you exactly what company you’re viewing when you land on our blog web page.


4 | Top-Level Domain (TLD)

Also known as the TLD, the top-level domain comes after your domain and should reflect the nature of your business. Commercial websites often use .com, but other choices include .org (for nonprofits) or .gov (for government agencies), for example. 

5 | Slug 

A URL slug is the part of a web address that represents a specific page or content. It typically consists of a few words separated by hyphens, providing a readable and descriptive summary of what’s on the page. URL slugs contribute to both user understanding and search engine optimization, as they often include target keywords. If I’m working on a product page for leather biker jackets, you can bet that my URL will look something like this:


How Does a Friendly URL Affect a Website?

As digital landscapes evolve, I cannot overstress the importance of creating a well-composed, user-friendly URL for your web pages. A well-crafted URL acts as a roadmap, guiding users and search engines to exactly what they're looking for. Crystal clear URLs not only improve user experience, but also send powerful signals to search algorithms, boosting  your website traffic. That’s where it all begins, but some of the other positive effects of using the right URL for a web page include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A well-structured URL with relevant keywords can contribute to better search engine rankings.
  • Shareability: Users are more likely to share links that are easy to understand, and this can lead to increased traffic and visibility for the website.
  • Link Building: Other websites may be more inclined to link to your content if the URLs are clean and relevant.
  • Branding: Consistent URL structures contribute to a cohesive brand identity. 
  • Accessibility: Simple and descriptive URLs are more accessible for all users, including those with disabilities who may use screen readers.

By paying attention to URL structure, you can contribute to a positive user experience, improve SEO, and enhance the overall performance of your website.

7 Tips To Make a URL More User-Friendly

In this section, I’ll unveil seven tips to transform your URLs into user-friendly web addresses. From the strategic placement of hyphens to the incorporation of relevant keywords, Eight Oh Two Marketing follows these best practices to create user-friendly URLs for our clients, that are the most effective for search engines and humans.

1 | Explain Your Web Page Clearly

Whether it's a web page for a product you’re selling or an informative article about SEO, readers and search engines should know what the web page is about just by reading the URL. This example shows the difference between a URL that offers no defining web page information and one that tells me exactly what I’ll find if I click the link:


2 | Make the URL Reader-Friendly 

Though it’s important to include pertinent information about a website page in the URL, make sure it’s readable. Search engines and users should get a clear idea of what they’ll find on the page behind the link. Though URLs can sometimes include numbers and codes, it’s best to stick with clear and concise words people can read and instantly understand. 

3 | Include Primary Keywords in the URL

It’s a well-established practice to optimize each of your web pages around strategic keywords for SEO, and these keywords should also appear in the page title and URL. Friendly URLs that include target keywords and accurately represent the content can contribute to better search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Position the primary keyword at the beginning of the URL for maximum search engine optimization. But avoid overstuffing your URL with keywords—keyword stuffing is yesterday's SEO strategy. It looks spammy, it’s confusing for users, and it can send your rankings down the tubes. Focus on crafting concise URLs that speak to your audience and incorporate keywords naturally. 

4 | Stick to Lowercase Letters

Using lowercase letters ensures consistency in your URLs. Differentiating between uppercase and lowercase letters can lead to confusion, as URLs are case-sensitive: "" and "" can be treated as different URLs by search engines. This can result in duplicate content issues and may impact SEO rankings. URLs with lowercase letters are also easier to share and remember. Users may not be consistent in typing uppercase and lowercase letters when manually entering URLs, and using lowercase letters reduces the likelihood of errors.

5 | Separate Words in the URL With Hyphens

Spaces are not allowed in URLs, so using hyphens is a common practice to create visual separation between words. Google and other search engines treat a hyphen as a space, helping them interpret individual words in the URL. Using hyphens promotes consistency and adheres to a standard format for URL structure; this consistency also makes it easier for users to understand and remember URLs.

6 | Keep the URL Short and Sweet

Long URLs are a nightmare to read, remember, and share, not to mention search engines often chop them off in results pages. Short URLs are easy to read, easy to remember, and I’m more likely to come back to your website if I can remember how to get there. This can be particularly important for marketing and branding purposes. And short URLs are less likely to be truncated in emails, messages, or social media posts, retaining their integrity and effectiveness. The URL for this article, “URL Structure: Best Practices for SEO-Friendly URLs,” gets right to the point:


I also do my best to avoid common filler words like these that don’t add much value to a URL and do little to clarify the page and tell the reader what it’s about.

  • A
  • And
  • Of
  • The
  • That
  • Have

7 | Create Evergreen URLs

“Evergreen” content remains useful and relevant to readers regardless of the time it was created. This means readers are more likely to share this content year after year, racking up social shares over time. The result is a steady stream of traffic to the web page and a thriving online presence. I always create evergreen URLs when sharing content I want people to access consistently, so I never have to worry about the information becoming obsolete. I avoid using time-specific information like dates or years unless it's absolutely necessary for the content.

In contrast, time-sensitive content like news articles or event pages may be ascribed less-evergreen URLs (for example, a URL slug that includes a date stamp), as the information they contain becomes less relevant over time.

Finally, remember, your URL is more than just an address—it's a powerful first impression for your content. By mastering its anatomy, understanding its impact, and applying our actionable tips, you can create a friendly URL that unlocks doorways to greater website traffic and engagement.

Are you ready to create user-friendly URLs that can entice and appease both readers and search engines for a boost in your business? Contact us today to learn how we can help take your website to the next level.

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