What Is a URL? Which means, Construction, and Optimization Suggestions

What Is a URL? Which means, Construction, and Optimization Suggestions

What Is a URL?

A URL (Uniform Useful resource Locator) is the net handle of an web useful resource, like a webpage.

You’ll be able to see the URL of the webpage you’re on within the handle bar on the high of your browser’s window.

URL in top of browser’s window

URLs are vital. As a result of they assist customers entry the webpage they wish to view.

Plus, if you happen to’re doing search engine optimisation, they will help you arrange your web site for search engine optimisation success by offering info to serps in regards to the content material and function of a webpage.

To allow them to rank it appropriately.

On this submit, you’ll find out how URLs are structured and tips on how to optimize them for higher search engine rankings.

Let’s begin.

URL Construction Defined

The construction of a URL breaks down into seven distinct elements. Like this:

Parts of URL structure

1. Protocol


The protocol tells your browser how to hook up with a webpage.

It could possibly be HTTP (hypertext switch protocol) or HTTPS (HTTP safe).

The primary distinction between the 2 is that HTTPS encrypts and protects any information transmitted between the server and browser. 

So when customers work together together with your web site, their delicate info (like login and bank card particulars) is protected from attackers.

Web sites that present a lock icon within the handle bar are utilizing HTTPS.

secure HTTPS protocol

Whereas web sites that present a “Not Safe” warning within the handle bar are utilizing HTTP.

not secure protocol

2. Subdomain

subdomain highlighted

A subdomain is a string of letters or an entire phrase that seems earlier than a URL’s first dot.

The preferred subdomain is www. It stands for World Broad Internet, speaking that the URL is an online handle.

Previously, it was widespread to make use of www. However these days you may omit it out of your URLs in order for you.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you utilize it or not. All of it will depend on your private choice.

Then there are different subdomains—weblog, retailer, assist, information, careers, and so forth—which are used for managing and organizing sections of an internet site that serve a selected operate.

For instance, we use the “careers” subdomain to prepare and show all of the profession alternatives at Semrush. 

Semrush careers subdomain

And Wix makes use of the “assist” subdomain to characteristic all their assist articles on the web site.

wix support subdomain

3. Area 

domain highlighted

A site is the principle a part of the URL that identifies the web site. Like eBay, Expedia, or Semrush.

When you’re procuring round for a site identify, our recommendation is to decide on one thing brief and catchy.

Quick and catchy domains are simpler for folks to recollect. So they’re extra prone to return to your web site.

Plus, they’re simpler to suit into logos and different branding supplies in comparison with lengthy, difficult ones. 

4. High-Degree Area (TLD)


The TLD (additionally referred to as area extension) is the half that comes after the identify of your web site, like “.com.”

You’ll come throughout many TLDs on the web. Here’s a listing of 5 of the commonest ones. And what sorts of internet sites they’re fitted to:

  • .com: Business web sites
  • .org: Nonprofit organizations
  • .web: Software program and internet hosting corporations offering community providers
  • .edu: Academic establishments (universities, faculties, faculties, and many others.)
  • .gov: Authorities companies and departments

When you’re within the early levels of shopping for a site identify, we advocate selecting a TLD that finest describes the character of what you are promoting.

Moreover, you need to use country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

ccTLDs are two-letter area extensions that point out an internet site’s affiliation with a selected nation or territory.

Examples embrace:

  • .uk for United Kingdom
  • .de for Germany
  • .cn for China
  • .ca for Canada
  • .in for India
  • .es for Spain
  • .au for Australia
  • .nz for New Zealand

Utilizing ccTLDs is sensible when an internet site’s target market is predominantly based mostly in a selected nation. 

By utilizing ccTLD, an internet site alerts its connection to that location. Which will help to determine belief and credibility with customers in that area.

5. Subfolder


A subfolder is a folder or listing that’s situated throughout the top-most listing (or principal listing) in your web site hierarchy.

For instance, take into account the URL “www.area.com/footwear/”

On this URL, the “footwear” subfolder is situated inside the principle listing of the web site, which is “www.area.com”

Much like subdomains, subfolders are used to separate web site content material into logical sections.

This makes it simpler for guests to know the place they’re on the web site.

For instance, customers on this URL “www.apple.com/mac/” can simply perceive that they’re on the MacBook part on Apple’s web site.

MacBook section on Apple’s website

6. Slug


A slug is the a part of a URL that identifies a selected web page or a submit on an internet site. It helps customers perceive the context and content material of a web page.

Have a look at this URL slug, for instance: “/best-baby-shampoos/”

Studying this slug alone, customers can get an thought of what the web page is about.

However generally, you’ll additionally come throughout URL slugs that learn like this: “/785321/”

Slugs with numbers are complicated to customers.

The first objective of the URL slug is to explain the content material of a web page. So while you create a slug, be sure it’s descriptive.

7. URL Parameters

url parameter

URL parameters (or question strings) are a part of a URL that comes after a query mark (?).

They’re composed of keys and values, separated by an equal signal (=). 

The key tells you what sort of info is being handed. The worth is the precise info being handed.

Let’s take a look at an instance.

Within the URL under, “coloration” is the important thing and “blue” is the worth. This parameter will apply a filter to a webpage to show solely blue merchandise.

You’ll be able to add a number of parameters to a URL by separating them with an ampersand (&).

multiple parameters in a URL

Now, there are two parameters: “coloration” with the worth “blue” & “kind” with the worth “latest”

This is applicable a filter to a webpage to point out blue merchandise and kinds them by the most recent first.

Parameters serve a number of use circumstances:

  • Looking out parameters will let you search outcomes from an internet site’s inner search engine
  • Filtering parameters allow you to kind and filter listings on class pages. Listings will typically be merchandise, jobs, resorts, flights, and many others. And they are often filtered by numerous attributes, like value, availability, dimension, model, wage, location, flight time, supply time, rankings, and many others.
  • Monitoring parameters assist you observe visitors out of your advertisements and advertising and marketing campaigns 
  • Paginating parameters are useful in organizing weblog archive pages and discussion board threads in a collection of pages

For extra details about parameters and tips on how to use them in your web site, learn our full information to URL parameters.

What Are the Completely different Varieties of URLs?

URLs may be broadly categorized into two varieties: absolute and relative.

An absolute URL specifies the complete path to your web site URL, together with the protocol, non-obligatory subdomain (www), area identify, and path (which incorporates the listing and URL slug).

Right here’s an instance of an absolute URL:


A relative URL solely specifies the trail. That’s, the listing and URL slug.

Right here’s an instance of relative URL:


URLs will also be categorized by the operate they serve:

  • Canonical URLs: A canonical URL acts because the grasp model for duplicate URLs in your web site. Canonical URLs can fight duplicate content material points, which might hinder your rankings in serps.
  • Callback URLs: A callback URL is the web page customers are mechanically redirected to after they full a selected motion or activity. For instance, when customers login to an internet site utilizing a third-party authentication service like Google, the web page they’re redirected to after efficiently authenticating with Google is the callback URL.
  • Self-importance URLs: An arrogance URL is a customized URL that’s brief and simple to share. They’re generally utilized in advertising and marketing campaigns or on social media to advertise a selected webpage out of your web site. You need to use URL shortener instruments like Bitly, TinyURL, and Quick.io. to create them.

Learn how to Optimize URLs for search engine optimisation

A technique to make sure your pages rank in serps and get extra visitors from Google is by optimizing their URL construction for search engine optimisation.

Right here’s how to try this.

1. Use the HTTPS Protocol

HTTPS protects your guests’ delicate info from attackers. It’s additionally been a light-weight Google rating issue since 2014.

So in case your web site remains to be on HTTP, make a change at present by encrypting your web site with an SSL (Safe Sockets Layer) certificates.

You may get one out of your internet hosting service supplier. 

Most internet hosting corporations, together with GoDaddy and Bluehost, will assist you buy and set up an SSL certificates on your web site.

2. Keep away from Utilizing Subdomains

From an search engine optimisation standpoint, it doesn’t matter whether or not you utilize “www” as your subdomain.

Individuals have began to omit it from their URL construction as a result of it’s not obligatory for an internet site to operate correctly.

Plus, if you happen to do away with “www” out of your URLs, it is going to make your URLs that a lot shorter and easier. Which means they’re simpler to sort into browsers.

As for utilizing subdomains particularly to prepare content material into a number of sections, our recommendation is to make use of subfolders for this function as an alternative of subdomains. Particularly for content material that’s meant to rank in serps.

This can be a extremely debated subject within the search engine optimisation neighborhood.

Google says it’s high-quality to make use of both subdomains or subfolders.

However many SEOs argue that Google treats subdomains as separate web sites. So that they’ll crawl and index subdomains individually.

This implies any authority your web site features from backlinks might not be shared between the area and subdomains.

Because of this, your subdomains might wrestle to rank increased.

So from an search engine optimisation perspective, it could be finest to make use of subfolders. 

What we all know for sure: Subfolders don’t trigger points that subdomains would possibly trigger. So it’s your most secure guess to go together with subfolders.

3. Select an Applicable TLD

The selection of TLD will depend on the aim of your web site. For nonprofit organizations, .org is finest.

For instructional establishments, similar to universities, faculties, and faculties, .edu is essentially the most well-suited TLD.

For industrial web sites, .com is the best way to go.

When you solely do enterprise exterior the U.S., your country-code top-level area (ccTLD), like .au for Australia and .nz for New Zealand, is ok, too.

However keep away from utilizing TLDs like .data and .biz—folks are inclined to affiliate these with spam. So that you may need a tough time constructing high-quality backlinks to your web site. That are vital to rank increased.

4. Use Subfolders to Manage Your Content material

Use subfolders that logically arrange your content material and make it straightforward for customers to know the place they’re on the web site.

That is vital from a person expertise (UX) standpoint. Which is carefully related to search engine optimisation.

Your subfolders ought to point out the kind of content material discovered at that URL. This will even assist Google perceive your content material higher.

Good subfolder: https://web site.com/weblog/best-travel-tips/

Dangerous subfolder: https://web site.com/folder1/best-travel-tips/

When you personal a very massive web site—an ecommerce web site, for instance—it would get tough to prepare all of your pages utilizing just one stage of subfolder.

In that case, use sub-subfolders to additional outline your web site hierarchy.

Right here’s an instance of fine sub-subfolder utilization:


However keep away from key phrase repetition in your subfolders—it appears spammy.

Right here’s an instance of key phrase repetition in sub-subfolder URL construction:


5. URL Slugs

You want to do 4 issues to optimize your URL slugs for search engine optimisation.

Be Descriptive

Google says your URL slug ought to describe the content material of the web page as a result of it helps the search engine perceive what the web page is about. And rank it appropriately.

Good URL slug: /best-baby-soaps/

Dangerous URL slug: /page1234/

The easiest way to make your URL slug descriptive is to make use of your web page’s goal key phrase. When you don’t know what your goal key phrase is or tips on how to discover one, learn our information to key phrase analysis.

Make It Quick

Lengthy URLs are tougher to learn for customers. And Google typically truncates lengthy URLs in search outcomes. 

Like this:

long URL example

So attempt to maintain your slugs inside 5 phrases.

Good URL slug: /home-workout-tips/

Dangerous URL slug: /the-7-best-home-workout-tips-the-ultimate-cheatsheet-for-training-without-a-gym/

Use Hyphens to Separate Phrases

Google recommends utilizing hyphens to separate phrases in your URL slug as an alternative of underscores. They’re a typical means of separating phrases in a URL.

Good URL Slug: /free-marketing-tools/

Dangerous URL Slug: /free_marketing_tools/

Use Lowercase Characters

URLs are case-sensitive. And you probably have a specific URL in each lowercase and uppercase, it could create duplicate content material points in your web site.

Plus, lowercase URLs make it simpler for customers to sort the URL appropriately. URLs that blend uppercase and lowercase can result in errors when typing within the URL.

Good URL Slug: /how-to-make-pizza/

Dangerous URL slug: /How-To-Make-Pizza/

When you maintain these 4 issues, your URL slugs ought to be optimized. However you may take your URL optimization even additional. Learn our full information to URL slugs for extra info.

Additionally, if you happen to’re a Semrush person, you need to use the Website Audit software to verify whether or not your URLs are arrange appropriately and if there are any points current.

Create a mission within the software and run a full crawl of your web site.

After the crawl is full, navigate to the “Points” tab and seek for “URL.”

The software reveals whether or not your web site has any URL-specific points like URLs being too lengthy. Or phrases in URLs being separated with underscores.

Warnings section in Site Audit tool

The software additionally affords recommendation on tips on how to repair every challenge.

Why and how to fix it section

Learn how to Set Up Your URLs in WordPress

Hottest web site platforms and content material administration methods (CMSs), similar to WordPress, Shopify, Wix, and many others., allow you to select the way you construction your URLs.

Right here’s the method for WordPress:

Out of your WP admin dashboard, go to “Settings” and click on “Permalinks.”

Navigation to Permalinks section

WordPress has six choices for URLs.

WordPress URL options

For most traditional web sites and blogs, you’ll wish to go together with the “Publish identify” choice. It’s the clearest of all.

And to edit the URL of a person web page, go to the web page editor for that web page.

On the fitting panel, you’ll discover the URL part. You’ll be capable of edit your URL from there.

Edit URL page


A URL hyperlink is the net handle of a web based useful resource. The useful resource could possibly be a webpage, video, picture, tweet, or different forms of content material on the net.

2. What Is a URL Instance?

Listed below are some examples of URLs:

  • https://www.apple.com/
  • https://www.microsoft.com/
  • https://www.tesla.com/
  • https://www.semrush.com/

However URLs may be for much longer and far more particular than these examples. A URL for a part of our Digital PR course, as an example, is that this: https://www.semrush.com/academy/programs/mastering-digital-pr-course-with-brian-dean/classes/lesson-1/

3. The place Is the URL Situated?

The URL is situated within the handle bar on the high of your browser’s window.

URL location