21 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating URLs

creating URLs

The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address of a website or web page that is used to locate it on the internet. URLs are an essential part of website creation, and creating them properly is crucial to ensure the website’s visibility and accessibility.

However, many web developers and website owners make some common mistakes when creating URLs, which can have a negative impact on the website’s performance.

In this article, we will discuss the common mistakes to avoid when creating URLs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating URLs

1. Using Dynamic Parameters in URLs

Dynamic URLs are those URLs that contain parameters that change the content of the page. For example, a URL that includes a search query or session ID is dynamic. Dynamic URLs can cause issues with search engine crawlers, as they may have trouble indexing the page.

Additionally, dynamic URLs can be confusing to users, as they do not provide any indication of the content on the page. To avoid this, it is recommended to use static URLs that provide clear and concise information about the content on the page.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/product?id=123
  • Correct: www.example.com/product/123

2. Using Long and Complex URLs

Long and complex URLs can be difficult for users to remember, and they can also be challenging to share. Additionally, search engines may have trouble indexing long and complex URLs, as they may not be able to determine the content of the page.

To avoid this, it is recommended to use short, simple, and descriptive URLs that accurately describe the content on the page.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/this-is-a-really-long-url-that-includes-many-words-and-numbers
  • Correct: www.example.com/product/123

3. Using Underscores Instead of Hyphens

Using underscores instead of hyphens in URLs can cause issues with search engine crawlers. Search engines may interpret the underscores as spaces, which can lead to confusion about the content on the page.

To avoid this, using hyphens instead of underscores in URLs is recommended.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/this_is_an_example_url
  • Correct: www.example.com/this-is-an-example-url

4. Using Stop Words in URLs

Stop words are common words such as “the,” “and,” “or,” and “a” that are used to connect phrases and sentences. Using stop words in URLs can make them longer and less descriptive.

Additionally, search engines may ignore stop words, which can impact the page’s visibility in search results.

To avoid this, it is recommended to remove stop words from URLs and use descriptive words that accurately describe the content on the page.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/the-best-product-for-your-needs
  • Correct: www.example.com/best-product-needs

5. Ignoring Capitalization in URLs

Capitalization in URLs can impact the page’s visibility in search results. Search engines treat uppercase and lowercase letters differently, and using inconsistent capitalization in URLs can lead to confusion about the content on the page.

To avoid this, it is recommended to use lowercase letters in URLs and avoid using uppercase letters unless necessary.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/AboutUs
  • Correct: www.example.com/about-us

6. Avoid Using Non-Alphanumeric Characters

Non-alphanumeric characters such as “&,” “$,” and “%” can cause issues with URLs. These characters are often used in programming languages and can be confusing to search engines and users.

To avoid this, it is recommended to use only alphanumeric characters in URLs.

For example, instead of using a URL like www.example.com/product?id=123&size=L, use a URL like www.example.com/product/123/L.

7. Use Keywords in URLs

Using relevant keywords in URLs can help improve the page’s visibility in search results. Including keywords in URLs can also help users understand what the page is about before they click on the link.

For example, instead of using a URL like www.example.com/page1, use a URL like www.example.com/seo-tips-for-beginners.

8. Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can negatively impact website performance and SEO. Having multiple URLs with the same content can confuse search engines and users, as they may not know which page to index or visit.

To avoid this, it is recommended to use canonical tags or redirect duplicate URLs to the preferred URL.

For example, instead of having multiple URLs for the same content like www.example.com/product and www.example.com/product?category=shirts, use a canonical tag or redirect one of the URLs to the other.

9. Use a Consistent URL Structure

Using a consistent URL structure can help users and search engines understand the organization of the website. It can also make it easier to navigate the website and locate specific pages.

For example, using a URL structure like www.example.com/category/subcategory/product can help users understand that they are looking at a product within a specific subcategory of a larger category.

10. Use HTTPS Protocol

Using HTTPS protocol in URLs can help improve website security and protect user data. Additionally, search engines may give a higher ranking to websites that use HTTPS.

For example, instead of using a URL like http://www.example.com, use a URL like https://www.example.com.

11. Keep URLs Short and Concise

Keeping URLs short and concise can make them easier to remember and share. Additionally, shorter URLs may be more appealing to users and may help improve website performance.

For example, instead of using a URL like www.example.com/products/electronics/cameras/point-and-shoot, use a URL like www.example.com/cameras.

12. Avoid Changing URLs Frequently

Changing URLs frequently can negatively impact website performance and SEO. It can also lead to broken links and confusion for users.

To avoid this, it is recommended to choose URLs carefully and avoid changing them unless necessary. If a URL must be changed, use 301 redirects to ensure that users and search engines are redirected to the new URL.

13. Use Descriptive Anchor Text

Using descriptive anchor text in links can help users and search engines understand what the linked page is about. It can also help improve website performance and visibility in search results.

For example, instead of using a link that says “click here,” use a link that says “learn more about our products.”

14. Use a consistent URL format

A consistent URL format can help with website organization and make it easier to understand the hierarchy of pages. For example, using the format domain.com/category/subcategory/product can help users navigate to specific pages and understand the relationship between pages.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/product1
  • Correct: www.example.com/category1/subcategory1/product1

15. Use URL parameters for tracking and analysis

URL parameters can be used to track campaigns and analyze website traffic. For example, adding a UTM parameter to a URL can help track the source of traffic and provide insights into which marketing efforts are most effective.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/product1
  • Correct: www.example.com/product1?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=spring_sale

16. Consider the user experience

The URL should be designed with the user in mind. A URL that is easy to remember and understand can make it more likely for users to share it with others. Additionally, a URL that accurately describes the content of the page can help users determine whether the page is relevant to their search.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/p=123
  • Correct: www.example.com/best-products-for-spring-sale

17. Avoid special characters

Special characters, such as emojis or foreign characters, can cause issues with URL encoding and make it difficult for search engines to understand the content of the page. It is best to avoid using special characters in URLs.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/🌺🌸🌼🌻🌷
  • Correct: www.example.com/spring-flowers

18. Include the target keyword in the URL

Including the target keyword in the URL can help improve the page’s visibility in search results. However, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing and use the keyword naturally in the URL.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/product1
  • Correct: www.example.com/spring-sale-product1

19. Use a subdirectory instead of a subdomain

Using a subdirectory instead of a subdomain can help consolidate domain authority and improve the website’s overall performance. Additionally, subdomains can confuse users and search engines.

  • Incorrect: products.example.com/product1
  • Correct: example.com/products/product1

20. Use a consistent URL length

Using a consistent URL length can make it easier for users and search engines to understand the structure of the website. Additionally, consistent URL length can improve website performance and indexing.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/sale/spring/sale2022/running-shoes/brand/new-balance/mens/size/12/color/grey
  • Correct: www.example.com/sale/running-shoes/new-balance-mens-size-12-grey

21. Use descriptive file names in URLs

Using descriptive file names in URLs can help users and search engines understand the content of the page. It can also make it easier to navigate the website and locate specific pages.

  • Incorrect: www.example.com/img001.jpg
  • Correct: www.example.com/product1-image.jpg

Conclusion

In conclusion, creating URLs that are user-friendly and search engine-friendly is crucial for the success of a website.

By following best practices and avoiding common mistakes, web developers and website owners can ensure that their URLs accurately describe the content on the page, are easy to remember and share, and help improve website performance and visibility in search results.

So, take the time to review your URLs and make sure they accurately reflect your content. You’ll be on your way to improving your website’s usability and search engine ranking, ultimately driving more traffic to your site.

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