Each page should have a well-written URL that is short, accurate and friendly for humans to read.

A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans …

Google, “Keep a simple URL structure”

Use short URLs

Prefer short but accurate URLs for your pages. Short URLs are more appealing to users in search results, are easier to remember and are simpler to type without making mistakes. Try to keep page URLs short while still making sure they accurately describe the content of each page. For instance, the URL example.com/how-to-cook-a-whole-roast-chicken could perhaps be better written as example.com/roast-chicken-recipe. We recommend keeping URLs under 100 characters.

Avoid underscores in URLs

Words in URLs should be separated by hyphens and not underscores. Google recommends this approach for making URLs more human friendly. In particular, words joined with underscores may be viewed as a single word during searches which is rarely what you want. For example, the URL example.com/pc_laptop_reviews would be better written as example.com/pc-laptop-reviews by using hyphens.

Avoid URL extensions

Avoid adding unnecessary extensions at the end of URLs. Common extensions that appear at the end of URLs are .htm, .html, .shtml, .php, .jsp and .asp. Extensions are usually linked to what backend technology is being used to serve the page. This is rarely relevant to users, could change in the future and make URLs more lengthy. When displayed in search results, URL extensions are usually meaningless and distracting to users so more human-readable URLs without extensions should be preferred. For instance, a URL with an extension such as example.com/gallery.html could be rewritten as example.com/gallery.

Avoid URL parameters

Prefer simpler URLs by avoiding the use of URL parameters where possible. For example, in the URL example.com/forum?topic=tv-shows the URL parameter topic=tv-shows can make the URL look unfriendly and complex in search results. Try to eliminate URL parameters where possible such as by using subfolders instead of URL parameters. For instance, the previous example could be written as example.com/forum/tv-shows.

Avoid symbols in URLs

Avoid the use of symbols in URLs and prefer more human readable alternatives. Symbols such as $, %, + and * appearing in URLs can make your search listings look less appealing. URLs generally only need to include letters, digits, slashes and hyphens. For example, the word separators in example.com/john+smith%20interview could be replaced by hyphens to create the URL example.com/john-smith-interview which is easier to read. In particular, watch out for %20 making its way into URLs as this is usually done automatically by backend systems as a valid way to encode a space character.

Use lowercase URLs

Use only lowercase letters in URLs. Some search engines and web servers treat URLs as case sensitive so mixed case URLs can cause issues. URLs that differ only by case which display the same page can create duplicate page issues which can impact your search ranking. Mixed case URLs are also more difficult to manually type in correctly and some servers will fail to serve a page if the casing is wrong. Generally you should only use lowercase letters in URLs. Words that are normally written with uppercase letters should be written in lowercase and you should use hyphens over trying to separate words with capitals. For example, example.com/Flights/GermanyToUK would be better written as example.com/flights/germany-to-uk.

Avoid deeply nested URLs

Prefer simple URL structures that minimise the amount of subfolders used. Deeply nested URLs such as example.com/community/forum/subforum/food/ look long, complex and are hard to read. Try to stick to simpler and more shallow directory structures that help the user understand where they are on the site by grouping related pages into the same folder. For instance, the previous URL could perhaps be rewritten as example.com/forum/food/ to reduce the number of subfolders from four to two. We recommend that URLs don’t exceed five subfolders.

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