One of the biggest problems encountered by many working in search engine optimization (SEO) is poor URL structure – and, believe it or not, neglecting the structure of your URLs and allowing them to fall into disarray can have a very detrimental affect on your SEO strategy. Use these tips to help you get your structure right the first time and to fix up some of the more common problems:

Word Delimiters – It really doesn’t matter whether you use hyphens or underscores (although, hyphens tend to work better for SEO and readability), as long as you don’t use some other character or no characters at all.

Length – In terms of URLs, shorter is almost always preferable to longer. In an ideal scenario, you will have no more than five words. Avoid using abbreviations, stop words or really short SEO keywords wherever possible.

Keywords – As you will know, keywords are vital to any effective SEO strategy, so why wouldn’t you include them in your URLs? You need to be careful, however, not to stuff too many keywords into your URL, as this is a black hat SEO technique and you will appear less trustworthy to users.

Numbers – One of the biggest problems associated with using numbers in SEO and a URL is that the search engines will occasionally mistake them for dates (if they are laid out in a particular way), which affects your SEO strategy by making the content appear outdated. Avoid numbers if you can.

Redirections – Occasionally, the need to change your URLs may arise (especially if you’re updating your SEO). You should use a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one to prevent any problems arising (and to prevent any issues with your SEO strategy).

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