Does URL Structure Even Matter? A Data Driven Answer

seo url

URL structure has been debated within the SEO industry for years. From the number of subdirectories to the placement of keywords in URLs, SEOs have tried many optimization techniques to improve their sites’ rankings.

The real question is, does your URL structure even help with your overall traffic? To answer this question, I decided to do a bit of research to help you make a data-informed decision.

Extraneous characters

Sometimes you see strange characters in URLs such as  &, %, $, and @. It is more difficult for search engines to crawl websites if their URLs contain a lot of these extraneous characters.

If you had any doubt whether extraneous characters are important, consider the fact that Google has even gone on record to state that you should be using dashes over underscores because it affects how their search engine reads the keywords in your URL. For instance:

  • com/red-widget – Google sees that this URL is about “red widget.”
  • com/red_widget – Whenever you use an underscore, Google combines the word. So, in this case, Google reads your intended keyword as “redwidget” with no space.

We analyzed the top 100 results for 1,000 keywords in various industries. Can you guess what percentage of high-ranking URLs contain extraneous characters?

It’s not even 1%. In fact, it’s only .194%, which is roughly a fifth of a percent. This goes to show that you shouldn’t use extraneous characters in your URL.

URL length

In regards to URL length, there’s no better place to look than Google itself.

  • The average URL length for Gmail is 59 characters.
  • The average URL length for Webmaster Tools is 90 characters.
  • The average URL length for the Google blog is 76 characters.

Back in 2011, it seemed like long URLs didn’t rank as well as these two examples John Doherty gave in his blog. One of the main reasons for this is that they have built up many backlinks over time, which affect rankings a lot more than URL length does.

When we analyzed the top 100 results for 1,000 keywords, here is what we found:

  • URLs ranked in the top 10 results on average contained 37 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 20 results on average contained 35 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 30 results on average contained 39 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 40 results on average contained 41 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 50 results on average contained 36 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 60 results on average contained 32 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 70 results on average contained 48 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 80 results on average contained 45 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 90 results on average contained 41 characters.
  • URLs ranked in the top 100 results on average contained 38 characters.

Based on this data, it looks like URLs that contain 35 to 40 characters tend to dominate the search listings. This doesn’t necessarily mean that long URLs can’t rank, especially when you consider that 21% of the URLs that rank on page one contained over 60 characters. It’s still worth noting that majority of the URLs fit within the range above.

Keywords within URLs

In 2014, Search Metrics analyzed 300,000 URLs and found some interesting data.

keyword URL

As you can see from this graph, having a keyword within your domain name and URL is a declining factor in rankings. It is becoming less important over time since Google is placing more emphasis on other search factors.

When you create URLs within your site, don’t worry about making them keyword rich. It doesn’t hurt to add keywords if it makes sense, but you shouldn’t stuff your URLs with keywords, or they will seem unnatural.


URLs contain subfolders—in many cases, tons of subfolders. Here is an example URL from a blog post I published last week:

As you can see from the URL, there are 3 main subfolders: the first is 2015, the second is 04, and the third is 03.

When analyzing the top 10 search listings for 1,000 keywords, we found that some of the top-ranking listings contain no subfolders, while others contain up to 12. We found no correlation between the number of subfolders and the positioning of the websites that rank on page one.

In many cases, the keywords for sites that ranked first, such as “elephant population,” contained 3 subfolders, and in other cases, they contained no subfolders.

To keep things clean, you should try to have the least possible number of subfolders, but this won’t have a huge impact on rankings. It’s best to optimize your site from a usability standpoint.

Direct traffic

Over the years, I’ve continually heard that having short URLs is better for direct traffic. I’ve never taken this approach on Quick Sprout, whereas on some of my other blogs, like KISSmetrics, we only try to use short URLs.

The KISSmetrics blog does seem to get more traffic overall than Quick Sprout, but let’s look at direct traffic only. Here is the direct traffic to Quick Sprout over the last 30 days:


And here is the direct traffic for the KISSmetrics blog:


As you can see, Quick Sprout gets 31% more direct traffic even though the KISSmetrics blog generates 14% more traffic and contains shorter URLs.


Optimizing your URLs—by avoiding extraneous characters, using dashes, and adding appropriate keywords—can’t hurt your rankings.

However, there’s no need to focus too much of your marketing efforts on your URL structure because it doesn’t impact rankings as much as backlinks or content quality.

So, what do you think? Does URL structure even matter?


  1. Trevor Gustaveson :

    Neil, is there a reason you include the date subfolders in your URLs? I lean more towards just having the post title and no date, will that hurt? Should I change my URLs to include dates?

    Also, when will we get an update on your new nutrition blog?

    • Steve Estimable :

      Great questions Trevor i’m wondering the same on my side.

      • @Trevor & @Steve – I have a tech blog that ranks well for many terms and it has the date based WP url structure and it has been doing pretty well for the last 5 years. So, I would believe putting dates in the url do not matter but makes your url very long for sure. Thanks.

    • Kosio Angelov :

      Great question, I’ve been thinking about asking about this myself. Let’s see what Neil has to say.

    • I think one good reason could be that when people see the date in the link then they’ll realize that “hey this is not the most recent article. Let’s see what other interesting articles are there the home page” and they go to the home page. Atleast that’s what I’ve noticed when I see links like that.

      • Sam, you are right on the dot with you assumption. It’s all about creating that mystery and encouraging people to look deeper. As for the nutrition blog — more details to come soon.

        • Jamie Turner :

          Hi Guys —

          I’m considering updating my blog posts so that they don’t have the date. I could be wrong, but I believe that when people do a search and see a date on a blog post, if it’s an older date, they don’t click through because they think the information is old. My two cents. I could be wrong.

          — Jamie

          • I rarely read a blog post or even web page that doesn’t have a date because I can’t then judge how outdated it might be, hence how applicable it might be to today.

            In short, without a date I’ve no idea what level of confidence to put in it, so have little.

            Some things matter if they are a month old. Some if they are a years old. It mightn’t matter if an article on how to cook a goose is a dozen years old. But what if it refers to the price of something? Or a brand that failed a few years back?

            You need to test the effect though. Not everyone’s like me!

            And what if the result is you get more click throughs on old posts, but the rate on new posts goes down?

        • Koji Kawano :

          But can you get the same effect by making the publish date more prominent at the top of the content and not include it the URL?

      • Emilee C Hatch :

        I was also wondering why people use date in the url.. I got the answer before asking anyone.. Thanks Neil

    • Trevor Gustaveson :

      haha, nice try boss.

      • Trevor, sorry about that — disregard that spam comment. It wasn’t me.

        • Trevor Gustaveson :

          I realized that, but thanks for the clarification. Perhaps this gives you an opportunity to write a post about how to manage comment spam!

    • Hi, Just want to jump in here. I believe the reason to include date in the URL is to help categorize the article in the system and it helps the system find the article faster thus increase page load.

    • Dates help with certain news sites. Some require numbers for submissions (usually not dates though). That’s why I have it.

    • I don’t see a reason for dates of blog posts in their URL.
      If you update an article, you should change the date and then you would have to change also its url.
      And in some articles the date is not important (e.g. if it’s not news, events…, just some guides, recipes…)

      • Personally, I don’t use dates in URLs, and for a good reason.
        Why would you need to add a date to a URL when Google shows the published/updated date in the search results. If you have your blog set up correctly to have date schema, then you should be structuring your URL with the correct keywords and have breadcrumbs to match them (also shows in search results if schema is done right).

        So, all in all, using numbers/date in the URL is actually pointless unless your blog is not set up correctly, with correct date schema for google (and other search engines) to pick up on, since its that schema which is used to by search engines to determine when you updated your blog posts.

  2. My answer is yes.

    • Palash, awesome. Let me know if you have any other feedback or insights.

      • Anil Agarwal :

        Definitely, URL structure matters.

        As we all know, Google wants precise and simple results. If you use a clumsy URL structure, it will only destroy your rankings.

  3. Ayush Sharma :

    Thanks for the blog post, I have created a silo and was worried if the long urls will hurt.. I guess they wont.

    Great post, and when can we hear an update on the nutrition blog and the interview?

    Ayush Sharma

  4. Tyler, Easy Agent Pro :

    Hey Neil,

    Interesting analysis. I’m loving all the data.

    Personally, I put the keyword/topic in the URL. I think it looks cleaner when it comes to email outreach.

    For example:


    looks a lot less like spam than:


    in my opinion.

    I measured this awhile back and it seemed to have a positive effect on people clicking the links in my emails.

    Thanks again,

  5. Human readable matters. Shorter URLs, fewer subfolders, dashes instead of underscores. Google is engineered by humans. We use dashes more frequently than underscores especially in an adjectival way. Whatever is easier to read for a human will work better overall.

  6. Hi Neil,
    As per Google News Guidelines, the URL for each article must contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits.

    Whats ur take on this???

    • Rattan Furniture :

      Do you do a lot of hitchhiking?
      Interesting findings Neil, especially as I use a ‘preformed’ e-commerce site where I have no control over the urls.
      I will have to contact the webmaster to see if we can get rid of the various extraneous characters. I’d never given this a thought before.

      • Minesh, I don’t have any evidence to substantiate that claim — maybe you have some insights?

        Rattan, I deleted that spam comment haha. Thanks for reading and glad I could spur some thought.

  7. I was hoping you’d address website speed in this article. For SEO purposes, many suggest the url equal the post title. However, some report that this can slow down a site if there are no subfolders such as the date ones (which blogger forces) and that their sites, all things being equal, get a performance boost when subfolders are used.

    • Justin, I just wanted to stay specific to URLs in this post. In a future post I will definitely go deeper into site speed.

  8. William Zimmerman :

    Neil, thanks very much again! This will be very helpful because I (as I said before) I am starting my company/website within the next 2-3 weeks.

    You are the man,
    Bill Z

  9. Hi Neil, Yet another very useful post, thanks for sharing. I have read that url’s with date in them will be ignored by google in favor of new content, is that true ? As I can all your posts in quicksprout and neilpatel blog has dates in the url…

    • Hemapriya, that is definitely not true. There are some merits to omitting dates, however, like creating a sense of recency.

  10. Some great points, I think ultimately URL structures that make sense to Google crawlers are important.

  11. Harshit Sharma :

    Its good to know that URL structures not matters much because from a long time I am just using only my title without any subfolder.

    Hey Neil, I am waiting to hear about your new blog. Please let me know when your first post is going on the blog.

  12. Rodrigo Martinez :

    Great post! Quick question, what about for example a company, say PEPSI using the URL all across the web versus using How does the first option benefit Pepsi (and overall? Thank you Neil.

    • Hey Rodrigo,

      I’d wager that URL shorteners like you are referencing are being used for a totally different purpose.

      1. To enable tracking of multiple unique placements of a single piece of content (for example tracking facebook clicks, vs twitter clicks).
      2. To make them more palatable for social media (in particular twitter which has a 140 character count).

      To answer your question as to why vs using – I’d imagine that is to keep the brand name in front of the audience.

      • Ryan, great points and thanks for helping out with this question. URL shorteners are used for a number of reasons… primarily for social sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

  13. Yes. And, I try not to include too many subfolders, especially ones that contain dates. I feel that if readers pick up on older dates they aren’t as likely to read thinking that the info won’t be as relevant.

    Looking forward to the next Nutrition blog post!

    Thanks, Neil.
    Cheers, Walter

    • Walter, great points — thanks for sharing your insights.

      More details on the nutrition blog to come soon!

  14. Steve Twomey :

    Hi Neil,

    First off great post. The way you keep your FOP (frequency of publish) up so high, while still maintaining a great level to detail and interesting topics is impressive. The data driven analysis is hard to dispute. I have found that proper site structure, I prefer silo structure, will help streamline the url structure. Example. the user and Google can see that the url path is set up to talk about ann arbor homes for sale, and that ann arbor is in michigan. Without having to stuff the keyword michigan into the blog post. Also from a flow standpoint, the pages in the michigan silo will get added “trust” from having the ann-arbor-homes-for-sale page do well as it is part of the silo for michigan. I agree with you that avoiding over optimizing your urls with keywords is important. . As far as sharing long url’s posted or shared on blogs or web sites- many people myself included have become quite used to seeing url shortners in posts. I myself use Thank you for the post.

    • Steve, thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to share your insights. It’s readers like you who make everything possible. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  15. Hi Neil – Great information thank you! Also, is there any info on the case study health blog you’re building? I am trying to mirror you and am just curious on how it’s going.

    Thank you,

  16. Neil hi!

    Tnx for the great content.

    Wanted to ask you about subdomains.

    I am currently researching about the idea behind sites like viralnova, aplus etc and their subdomain strategy. To be more specific, I notice that for certain “viral” articles, they don’t have the regular URL but a whole subdomain.

    What is the logic behind that?

    Thank you,


    • Jordan, I think one motive behind that would be to drive people to a landing page. That way people will be more inclined to sign up for a product or service or provide their email. If you have any other thoughts would love to hear them.

  17. Steve Estimable :

    Neil, great data driven blog post on URL structure.

    Informative insight on exploring Google URL and I totally agree that we don’t need to focus too much of our marketing efforts on the URL structure.

    Q: So, what do you think? Does URL structure even matter?
    A: Yes in a usability standpoint and as long the URLs is descriptive and optimized naturally for humans and not for search engines.

    Thank You for this blog post.

    Have a nice “structured” day!

    • Steve, you always seem to answer your own questions haha. Thanks for the continued support and insights.

  18. Wow ,
    Before this, I didn’t knew google take the _ as combining and – as space.

    Thanks Neil !

  19. Pankaj Singh :

    Very informative article sharing with us. Thanks for sharing this information.

  20. Pashminu Mansukhani :

    Does that mean that I need to change the URL of the blog posts to remove the date? I have a weekly updated industrial photography post and the typical URL is like this:

    • David Smith :

      I wouldn’t change old urls unless you update the content or know how to sort 301’s.

      You should also go through your old content and update any internal links rather than rely on a 301 which will put more work on your server having to redirect all the internal links.

      Dates on urls shouldn’t make too much difference. Every WordPress blog has the url present when permalinks are updated as standard.

      Google will ignore a lot of the things they see as unuseful such as the dates. They were added to try and make the urls more unique, just like adding a post number to the urls.

  21. L.L. Barkat :

    Was just discussing this with a colleague today, as to whether a comma would matter. We went with “Goodbye Facebook” instead of the more correct “Goodbye, Facebook.”

    Did it matter? Could she have kept her grammatical ethics intact? 🙂

  22. manish Kumar :

    Very informative 🙂
    Now a days content quality is everything and you had mentioned in last post about storytelling 🙂

  23. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    As in the Matt Cutss video, the url structure does help a lot, but quality content and links have too much higher value.

    For example, wikipedia uses _ instead ot – in their sub-headings url’s, but still ranks for their quality.

    To give user a neat experience, url structure is important.

    Nice take and data here. Awesome buddy.

    Take care.

  24. Hey Neil,
    I just joined your email list, so this is the first post I’ve read from you. I noticed in your examples, and also with this website itself, that you use “www” in your URL structure. From what I understand it is not necessary to put a “www” at the start of your web address.

    Is there a reason you use “www” for your website? Has there been any studies that show that having “www” effects rankings or UX?

    • Jon, nothing I have come across necessitates www. I honestly think it looks more aesthetically pleasing though. Also, it gives the site a little more weight from a user perspective — much like a .com does over a .net.

  25. Hi Neil, Another insight, another good one. I have always been trying to use keywords in URL and results are satisfactory. I will now try with short url without keywords, lets see how much this will effect.


  26. I think that there are valid arguments for short URLs and long URLs (nesting directories based on categories), especially for categorizing articles from a human standpoint. But, the only valid argument I can think of for using dates in the URL structure is if your posts are time sensitive as in the case of news articles.

    However the decision to change your structure after you have established it is a whole other ball game. I think that once you have chosen a structure, and have any substantial amount of content out there, you are best to stick with what you have created.

    Thanks for the analysis!


    • Vi, you bring up a great point. It’s always best to stick to certain key elements. However, this is more of a guideline for people creating new webpages.

      • It’s definitely an important consideration in creating a new site. I do like the idea of categorical nesting from a data architecture standpoint.

        On the other hand, there’s a good argument for short URL’s and keeping the post URL’s flat.

        Thanks again!

  27. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the article. I used to over optimize my url with just the keyword. Now, from your article I have learned not to over-optimize it. I will try not to over optimize the urls and see the results.

    Lets c what happens.

  28. vijender singh :

    Great Article Neil,

    But I already know about url structure.

  29. Muneeb Qadar :

    Thanks Neil, For sharing some information about URL Structure. Very helpful for me. Thanks again.

  30. Neil, interesting topic. Yes, that’s true. I strongly believe that URL structure & length matters to Google and it will increase the user experience. Thanks for sharing!

    Curious to hear your thoughts!

  31. I think it matters, but like you said only a small amount. I think it is worth putting a very small amount of time in because every little “SEO bonus point” you can get is always welcome!

    Awesome data!


  32. Hey Neil, thanks for the post, contains some valuable insights – as usual 🙂
    To add to the discussion, Rand Fishkins published a great article on a similar subject over at Moz:
    Combining both of your tips sure will make you pretty awesome in crafting URLs both for SEO and your readers.


  33. Deepika Patel :

    Cool post Neil. You’ve provided a lot of interesting information here.

  34. Saulo Segurado :

    Hey, Neil! This was always a doubt for me, so thanks for clarifying that for me.

  35. Neil,

    The one question you left unanswered is the oldest I can remember. Is a sub-domain better or worse than a folder. In other words, is better/worse/same as Same number of characters in the URL, same keywords. Just a different arrangement.

    • Florian Mettetal :

      A subdomain has more value than a subfolder. If your blog is about your company put it on www.domain, if your blog is about your industry then put it on a blog.domain. The only content that should be on www should be related to selling your primary value proposition.

    • Brad, I get this question a lot in relation to blogs. It doesn’t matter as much. Try out different variations and see which one sticks. I think the second one looks better though.

  36. Hi Neil, so according to url length, shall we go for a short domain? Just curious.

  37. Thanks Neil for sharing with article. Nice information. I know about the tactics of using keywords in URL of the site but its effect on search engine and google consideration about the characters of URL, which I don’t know.

    Thanks. Great analysis.

  38. AB Associates :

    how many hyphen we can use in a single url, is there any fixed limit by google???

    • I do not think so, Google sees them as spaces. Looking at this blog post URL itself :

      We have almost 8 hypens here.

    • There isn’t a fixed limit but at some point the URL will just looked cluttered. Focus on key words and use hyphens accordingly.

  39. Ritesh Patel :

    I totally agree with Neil. Using good URL structure is an SEO technique that is not to ignore. When you talk about URL structure you think from a user point of view as well as search engines. That’s why you should use unique keywords which user always find through search queries. When you want to make your website URL, then must use hyphens instead of underscores or plus-signs. Finally, don’t ignore sub folder as well as URL length.

    • Ritesh, thanks for summarizing the points. It’s important to follow the right blueprint for maximum results. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  40. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for this post, i found it really valuable, bro i just want some help from you, i am bit confused about niche blogging, i don’t have much passion in a particular niche, it is difficult for me to write daily blog post on particular topic, so should i go with multi topic blog or stay tuned with my travel niche. Do you have any post about that or do you have any suggestion for me..

    Please bro i am eagerly waiting for your reply

    • Munawar, it sounds like you already have a pre-existing blog in the travel niche. If you are passionate about that you should continue to write within that niche. It’s important to have an interest in what you are writing about or you’ll get bored and your content will suffer.

  41. Pankaj Dhawan :

    This is indeed very helpful post. I had been working too much on URL because of Yoast plugin suggested so. Though I will continue to focus but not as much as I did so far.

    Thank you Neil 🙂

  42. muhammad farhan :

    Really interesting posting Neil! I really wondering how url structure could effect to site ranking. But I have one question about this topic, is the url structure still matter if the site using breadcrumb?

    • Muhammad, the URL structure always matters — it’s just one of the things you have to check off when creating and optimizing a site.

  43. gaurav khurana :

    Thanks for this analysis.. Its really helpful for the bloggers to know such small things which contribute a lot in SEO

  44. Thanks Neil for this wonderful article to focus on URL Structure.. I am quite disaggregated at your last point which you have mentioned that “there’s no need to focus too much of your marketing efforts on your URL structure because it doesn’t impact ranking.” What i want to explain according to Google webmaster guideline, URL is the way how you organize your content and constructed logically in a manner that is most intelligible to humans. URL is play as still important role in ranking. Google also recommend that how to avoid potential problems with URL structure.

    • Neil Patel :

      Thanks for sharing these insights. While URL structure still matters — I want to show that there are some other variables at play as well.

  45. harekrishna :

    The extraneous characters can create confusion for the search engines. I learn the significant differences between underscore and dash that how search engines interpret and behave with these two characters. Nevertheless, It may be true about too much marketing effort on URL structure can not give us great benefits.

  46. I have two small details to add, in case they are useful for someone.

    The first one is that dashes are not the only option, tildes (this symbol > ~ < taken from the Spanish language) work the same way than dashes.

    The second one is that, in multilingual languages, there is proof that the language subdomain (e.g. or the language subfolder (eg. can be avoided too. I spotted a website which just uses the URLs in the language they are writing, and they still rank very well.

  47. Harekrishna :

    Excellent article where you have shared the information about URL structure. The importance of URL structure can truly helpful to me. I have found other details from

  48. Great article, thank you for sharing! I’m always a fan of concise, clean URLs. I was wondering if there’s any benefit/detriment to using a consistent URL structure for articles in a “series”, and including the date on them? For instance:

  49. Matthew Pollard :

    Neil another great article.

    From now on I will focus on 35 to 40 characters in my URLS

    I have however 50 pages that are well over that – like the below page that is over 90

    What should I do, should I stick with it, as changing it would create 301 redirects on top of 301 redirects. I can still change H! and H2’s I just wanted your opinion. Thank you

  50. Great article really helpful…. as usual

  51. Rich Spaulding :

    Terrific article, Neil. Your data has changed my mind about sub-folders. I always thought “shorter and cleaner” is better for SEO. Now, I’m still thinking the same thing – but the reason is more for user experience and less for SEO.

  52. Question for the experts… One of my clients is about to go from 1 physical location and 1 website to 4 locations, each needing their own location-specific content. The website is built with WordPress. I have been planning on adding additional WP installs in subfolders (,, etc).

    Am I correct in my understanding that this is the best practice for SEO?

  53. Sansar Lochan :

    Hello Neil Patel ji,

    I am a frequent reader of your blog. I always learn something new from your every post. But just as a novice blogger I am eager to ask you — I am a hindi blogger. My question is —-to attract English readers also for my hindi blog, I want to start something like so english readers can also enjoy my english articles.

    Is it a bad idea for a hindi blogger to run English blog in a sub-domain? My blog is an educational blog as you can see.

    Kindly suggest me seeing the positive or negative impact on my hindi blog if I do something like this.
    Eagerly waiting for your reply.

    • I would create a sub director, rather than a subdomain. You can see how I did this with translated into Portuguese (brazil)

      • Sansar Lochan :

        Thank you so much for your reply. I followed your instruction and made english blog in sub directory. Well, did you use any translation plugin? If you have used any, kindly share a link of plugin so I can too apply it for my subdomain.


  54. Hi

    Was wondering what the thinking was on removing the folder from the URL, and placing the more valuable keywords towards the front of the url?


    would become

    Amazon seem to be employing this rather than following a structure beginning with the parent category>sub category, etc:

  55. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for this article, and quick question as this wasn’t covered. Does it have any affect on the SEO whether you’d used : instead of as blog URL ?

    Thanks and keep up the good work,


    • Sub direcotory are better and easier to maintain and have link juice pass through, a sub domain becomes a whole site in itself

  56. whitefonttech admin :

    Hi Neil
    Can i make with Key word old url to new url?


    old url is
    new url

  57. whitefonttech admin :

    which one is better for CMS and SEO

    Concrete5 or WordPress

  58. I have a business that services multiple locations which URL structure would you recommend.

    Option 1.

    Main state landing page

    City landing pages within the state

    Option 2.

    Main State Landing Page

    City landing pages within the state

    *note in option 2,… navigating to just /florida manually would not produce any pages.

  59. Jeremy Olson :

    Hi Neil, I love reading your stuff!

    Our site is on Shopify, and they force ID numbers into every one of our blog URLs. You also get a default URL based on your title that can’t be changed.

    For example:

    Do you think that this inability to remove the number string or change the URL in any way puts Shopify bloggers at a major SEO disadvantage?

    Or is it something that you can work around as long as you’re putting out good content?

  60. Hey Guys,
    a quick question here… is there any difference, and if yes which is better, between these two URLs:

    in other words, is it a good practice for SEO to use several ” / ” to describe category, subcategory and product or it cab be directly the product name, which usually in my case contains the keyword I would like to optimize for?

    Kind Regards!

    • Not much… either one works.

    • I was wondering exactly the same. I’ve been reading that Google should be able to follow a path through your site, so in the case of my travel site, that could be homepage > homepage/countrypage/ > homepage/countrypage/postaboutcountry/. However, my url structure is simply homepage/pagename and homepage/postname.
      I’ve been looking everywhere as to whether I should go to the hideous process of updating and redirecting all urls.

  61. Hey Neil,

    Interesting article thanks for posting.

    I’m currently researching URL structure for a client ecommerce site. They have a mixed bag of product URLs and category product URLs indexed and I need to make a decision which to go with moving forward then add canonicals and redirect one to the other.

    I’m leaning more towards the shorter version without categories. Some of their URLs which contain category names are more than 110 characters long and I can see from your post the shorter ones do seem to rank better. (I also think they look cleaner and less keyword stuffed)

    In your experience, do the shorter URLs also have a better CTR in the SERPS?


    • I would suggest keeping them clean, and then just being consistent with that throughout. There maybe a difference, but very slight to none

  62. Nike Pas Cher :

    Currently it looks like Expression Engine is the
    preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you
    are using on your blog?

  63. Its fantastic as yyour otther articles :D, appreciate iit for putting up.

  64. Thank you for your post Neil. Terrific as always. Two questions relating this, if you can/want to answer.

    – If you have a business whose goal is to sell services and a blog to try to bring people to the web (but the main content is the different pages of services) is better to use the folder /blog/ to separate one part of the web from the other, or it doesn’t have any particular effect?

    – If that same business offers local services. Is it required to name the local town in each url for each service? Or it will be better to avoid that? For example: /criminal-lawyers-brooklyn/, /tax-lawyers-brooklyn/, /family-lawyers-brooklyn/, etc.

    Thank you in advance.

  65. Farooq Ahmad Bhat :

    I really don’t know how to thank you

  66. Neil great info. Question about your opinion on SEO for real estate sites focusing on lead generation given most buyers search for “homes for sale in city name” or something similar.

    If budget is not a concern in terms of paying for multiple domains and maintaining different sites do you see an advantage of one of these vs the other



    homesforsaleincity/neighborhood (in this scenario have multiple sites and advertise the brokerage name on the homepage and have a separate site dedicated to the brokerage)


    • to clarify the question:

      in the first scenario there would be one site for the brokerage and separate pages for each city and each neighborhood within each city under the brokerage site


      in the second scenario there is one site for each city, with multiple neighborhood sub pages withing that city site. In this case have yet a separate URL for the brokerage itself.

  67. I noticed if I clean up my blog URLs by removing the date subfolder Google still links to the old URL. Does Google eventually adjust the URL accordingly? If so, how long does it usually take and is there a risk that it will drop in rank?

  68. Jonas S. Almeida :

    Thanks a lot for this tutorial, I’ll put it all in practice in my new website that i’m creating with the free hosting service of Hostinger.

  69. I was actually reading Neil Patels blog on getting my site indexed faster but he linked to this page and I got distracted…good post! Almost forgot how I got here 🙂

    As an affiliate marketer I prefer to not have the date in my URL, I keep it simple with %postname% though if I could go back in time may have went with %category%%postname% but its too late to do that with over 300 posts now (or at least I think so?)

    Next venture as a few mentioned here is ecom, the Doggie niche!



    • Thanks for reading and for sharing your insights 🙂 I would avoid changing your URL structure unless you want to do 301 redirects for every page 🙂

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