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Optimising Website URLs For SEO


URL structure and permalink optimisation are important components of search engine optimisation (SEO) that are often overlooked.

Following some simple practices around your permalinks can have a positive impact on your website’s search engine rankings and user experience.


What is a Permalink?

A permalink (short for “permanent link”) is the full URL (web address) that points to a specific web page on the internet.

The permalink is made up of two key parts:

1. The Root Domain 

Also known as the Top Level Domain.

The domain name is the primary web address that identifies a website. It’s the main part of the permalink that comes before the first forward slash.

If the permalink is then the root domain would be

2. The URL Slug

The slug is the suffix of the URL that comes after the domain name and any subdirectories or subfolders. 

If the permalink is then the slug or URL alias would be the-slug

If the permalink is then the slug or URL alias would still be the-slug

What is Permalink Optimisation?

Permalink optimisation is the purposeful creation, structuring and crafting of the permanent URLs (permalinks) assigned to your web pages.

This involves creating permalinks that are user-friendly and search engine-friendly.

Why Try To Optimise Your URLs?

The URL slug or permalink slug is a ranking factor.

Customising the slug is an excellent way to improve search engine visibility and the user experience because it helps to convey the topic or meaning of the page in a succinct and descriptive way.


Tips for Creating SEO-Friendly URLs:

When optimising your permalinks (URLS) for SEO, consider the following guidelines:

1. Use Keywords in the Slug

Whenever possible, include relevant keywords in your URLs. This gives search engines an additional signal about the content of the page.

It also makes it easier for users to get a better idea of what the page may be about before visiting.

Avoid keyword stuffing and don’t try to over-optimise by adding a heap of keywords – keep your URL logical and readable.

If you aren’t sure what keywords you need to be targeting, you probably need to take the time to complete some basic keyword research for SEO.

2. Keep Permalinks Simple & Clear

Keep your URLs concise and straightforward.

Use lowercase letters only. Avoid using uppercase letters, long strings of numbers, special characters, or excessive words.

3. Avoid Using Unsafe Characters

These characters are considered unsafe either because they execute special functions in the URL

Common unsafe characters include (but are not limited to):

  • space
  • < >
  • #
  • %
  • { }
  • |
  • \
  • ^
  • ~,
  • [ ]

If these characters are used in a permalink, they must be encoded. It’s best to simply avoid using them if possible.

4. Use Hyphens for Spaces

Use hyphens (-) to separate words within your permalinks. Hyphens are considered more readable than underscores or other characters.

It is also reported that search engines like Google prefer the use of hyphens over underscores.

5. Don’t Use Stop Words if You Can Avoid it

Stop words are common words like “and,” “the,” “of,” to name a  few.

These words don’t provide much value in URLs and can be omitted to keep URLs clean, clear and concise.

6. Be Descriptive & Logical

Your URL should provide a hint about the content of the page. A user should be able to understand what the page is about just by looking at the URL.

Take cues from the meta page title and/or the H1 Heading of your page to inform your permalink wording.

For example, if you are gunning for an exact match keyword such as ‘SEO Services Gold Coast’ then your slug should be as close to your exact target keyword as possible.

For example

For more keyword tips, see our post on keyword optimisation for on-page SEO.


Example of a Good vs. Poor URL

Good URL:

In the good example, the URL slug is descriptive, includes keywords, and is easy to read.

Poor URL:

In the poor example, the URL slug is not user-friendly and doesn’t convey any information about the content.


Benefits of URL Optimisation for SEO

Improved Click-Through Rates (CTR)

A well-structured and descriptive URL can attract more clicks in search results, as users are more likely to click on URLs that match their search intent.

Enhanced User Experience

Clear and readable URLs contribute to a better user experience, making it easier for visitors to understand the content they’re about to access.

This enhances the user experience for both internal links and external links whilst encouraging users to click on your links.

Search Engines Prefer Friendly URLs

SEO-friendly URLs can help search engines rank your content more accurately.

Search engines use URLs as a ranking factor because it helps both search bots and users to better understand the structure and content of an individual page and your website as a whole.

Increased Keyword Relevance

Including your target keyword and/or other relevant keywords in your URLs slug can provide additional signals to search engines about the topic of your content.

This can contribute to better rankings for those keywords, especially for long-tail search queries.

Less Chance of “Duplicate Pages”

If Google declares a page as a duplicate, it will choose the canonical URL and consolidate the ranking signals.

A consistent and well-structured URL format can help search engines recognise and declare the canonical URLs you intended when creating the page.

Note: Don’t be worried about the “duplicate content” penalties you’ve probably heard so much about.

It’s not possible to have duplicate content on the same domain and if you do, you won’t be penalised for it.

Clean Links Are More Liked to be Shared on Social Media

A clean and concise URL is more shareable on social media platforms, in emails, and across other online channels.

People are generally more likely to share a URL that is easy to read and makes it obvious what the content is on the other side of the link.


Short, accurate and descriptive URLs are also easier to display on mobile devices with limited screen space.

This can improve the overall mobile user experience and potentially lead to better rankings in mobile search results.

Improved Site Structure and Hierarchy

Properly optimised URLs contribute to a solid foundation for your website’s SEO efforts.

A well-optimised URL structure can reflect the hierarchy and organisation of your website’s content.

This makes it easier for users and search engines to navigate your site, understand the relationships between different pages and prioritise your content.



URL and permalink optimisation plays a significant role in enhancing user experience, search engine crawling, and overall SEO performance.

By following best practices for creating descriptive, concise, and keyword-rich URLs, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic.


Need Website SEO? Contact e-CBD

Optimise your website for SEO, increase traffic and lead generation for your business. Work with our in-house team of digital marketing and SEO experts.

For further insights on SEO techniques, reach out to a Gold Coast SEO Agency like e-CBD.

Contact us for a phone consultation or arrange a meeting to explore how we can enhance your online presence and improve your visibility in Google Search.

Reach us at (07) 5531 3810 or submit an online inquiry today.

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Acknowledgement of Country

We respectfully acknowledge the people of the Yugambeh language region, the traditional owners of the land on which we stand, and pay our respect to their elders past and present, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples who now live in the local area.

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