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Keeping a clean and orderly URL structure for your site can be more than just a helpful way of keeping your pages organized. SEO-friendly URL structure can also make your site easier for search engines to index and modestly improve how Google and Bing rank your site.

Unfortunately, establishing the absolute best URL structure can be a bit confusing. Some would have you believe it is more art than magic, while others would argue “everybody is doing it wrong”.

John E. Lincoln from Ignite Visibility and Brian Dean from Backlinko set out to clear up the confusion with a handy infographic that explains the best practices for keeping your URLs easy to index and easy for users to sort through, including the most common questions like URL length and keyword usage.

See the infographic below or at Search Engine Land.

SEOFriendlyURL

Bad URL structure is far too common of an issue in SEO. It can drag down your rankings, keep your pages from appearing in search engine indexes and destroy ranking authority from any other pages and websites you are a part of.

This is sometimes the fault of content management systems who can build poor URL structures within the websites. Elsewhere, some platforms devise URLs with illegal characters.

Search engines do try to read and index even the most poorly made URLs, but paying attention to your URL management and optimization has its own set of benefits. It’s about time you made sure you are doing your part.

It isn’t difficult to diagnose URL based issues, however. You can check for errors and warnings that suggest URLs are causing the issues, and you can audit all of your URLs for proper syntax.

Google and Bing Webmaster Tools also have reports that reveal duplicate content. From there, you can examine the webpages themselves and their locations. Google and Bing aren’t even the only ones with these types of tools. Plenty of third-party SEO tools can help identify these types of issues. Also make sure to check for unsafe characters.

Tom Schmitz from Search Engine Land has charts to help make clear what characters you should be using and when. He also has many other suggestions on how to solve issues with poor URL structures.