What Are The Parts of a URL? | Lesson 8/31 | SEMrush Academy

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0:05 Сomponents of a URL
1:39 Why are URLs an important part of SEO?
2:57 URL redirects

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If you’re going to be doing SEO, you’re going to become intimately familiar with URLs. Let’s start by looking at the components of a URL. You can break and URL into 5 components.

At the beginning, we have the protocol – this is going to be either HTTP or HTTPS, depending on whether or not the site is secure, followed by colon slash slash.

The subdomain follows the protocol. In most cases, the subdomain is simply www, but on larger sites, separate sections can live under a separate custom subdomain. The search engines look at subdomains as separate entities from the main website, so authority is calculated independently.

Next, we’ve got the domain name, which is your custom name for the website. While Google has released several exact match domain name updates to lessen the power of a domain name made up of an exact match keyword phrase, it’s still beneficial to use a domain that includes your important keywords.

The top level domain follows the domain name – this is your .com, .net, .org, or any of the various TLDs that are available.

Any page other than the home page will include a slug at the end, which is everything that comes after the TLD. The slug can include subfolders, or simply be a page address at the root of the site. Think of the slug as the actual address for the individual page on that specific domain.

URLs are an important part of SEO – it’s important to create URLs that are keyword-focused, while still being unique and as short as possible. When you’re using multiple words in the slug, you should use hyphens to separate the words, like this: http://www.dealership.com/used-cars-dallas-tx

You could also use underscores, like this: http://www.dealership.com/used_cars_dallas_tx

Or plusses, like this: http://www.dealership.com/used+cars+dallas+tx

But according to best practice, you should use hyphens. Make sure users can understand what the page is about, but try to leave out words like “an” or “the” – they’re not really necessary for humans or for search engines. Avoid including the same keyword more than once in a URL as well.

In a perfect world, a page’s URL would be constant… but unfortunately, we all know it’s not a perfect world. When you change website platforms, or roll out site updates, sometimes URLs will change.

Since Google assigns authority at the page level, you don’t want to lose any value when the URL of a page has to change. Also, if there are any other sites on the internet that link to the old URL, users who click on an old link will land on a 404 page and think your site is broken.

In these situations, you’ll want to set up URL redirects. A redirect is a directive that tells browsers and search engines that a page has been moved to a new address. It’s great for users, because it’s an automatic, seamless experience. For search engines, the value of the original page will be passed to the new address.

To set up a redirect, you need 3 important components: The source, or original URL, the type of redirect you’re using, and the destination, or new URL.

There are several types of redirects, but as an SEO, you really only need to know two of them. The first is a 301 redirect – this is what you’ll use in nearly every case. It tells the browser or search engine that the page has permanently moved to the new address.

In certain cases, you might also use a 302 redirect, which is a temporary redirect. Search engines won’t pass authority through a 302 redirect, so it should only be used during truly temporary situations like site maintenance.

When you’re starting SEO work on a new site, it’s important to analyze any 301 or 302 redirects that have been set up in the past. You’ll want to avoid adding redirects to any redirect that have previously been added.

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