URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

All pages and files on your website have a URL, which indicates the location of the page or file on your web server. This article gives you tips on building and structuring your URLs so that they are appropriate for both the users of your website and your website's visibility in search engines.


What is a URL?

En URL (also called URL addressweb address, website address and internet address) is a text that indicates the location of a page or file on your website. URL is an abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator. An example of a URL is https://inboundcph.dk/specialer/seo/.

A URL consists of a HTTPS protocol ("https://"), and domain name ("inboundcph"), and domain extension (".dk") and a at [ "/seo/" ]. In this article, I focus exclusively on the path in the URL. You can read more about the other elements by clicking on the links in the text above.


Example of a URL.

The good URL

We recommend that paths in URLs:

  • are short and easily recognisable
  • contains a keyword that says something about the content of the page
  • uses hyphen (-) and not underscore (_) for word separation
  • does not contain special characters (@, !, $ and similar)
  • does not contain æ, ø and å, but ae, oe and aa.

If you follow the guidelines above, you will get a URL that:

  • gives a clear indication of what you can find on the site
  • is short, easily recognisable and therefore attractive to link to
  • does not create technical indexing problems.

For example, if you sell garden furniture, the product category page with garden chairs should have the URL https://website.dk/havestole/ - and not https://website.dk/category?id=118 or similar, which some CMS systems unfortunately create automatically.

Flat and hierarchical URLs

URLs can be flat or hierarchical. A flat URL has one subdirectory after the domain (e.g. website.dk/product/). A hierarchical URL has two or more subdirectories after the domain (e.g. website.dk/category/product/).

Short, easily recognisable URLs are an advantage, but there are good arguments for using longer hierarchical URLs: they help users and search engines to understand the structure of the website, and they make it easy to analyse website traffic segmented on categories.

We recommend hierarchical URLs for larger websites with many categories of content. However, URLs for product pages are not inherently hierarchical, as the same product can be found in multiple categories. E-commerce websites can therefore benefit from flat URLs.

Local letters and special characters

URLs may contain local characters (æ, ø, å, ç, ñ, é, ü, μ and others). From an SEO perspective, these letters are fine to use, but as they can be a source of technical problems, you should avoid them in your URLs. Instead of æ, ø and å, use ae, oe and aa.

Special characters should be avoided for both SEO and technical reasons. Special characters include commas, colons, brackets, emojis, mathematical characters (+, =, ) and $, €, @, !, §, * and ". Numbers (0-9), hyphens (-) and underscores (_) are not special characters and may be used.

Forced lower case letters

Search engines perceive small and capital letters as unique characters. Therefore, if a URL on your website can be accessed with both lower and upper case letters, you risk diluting the SEO value of the page over several pages. For example, a link to the address website.dk/example does not add value to the address website.dk/example, even though it is effectively the same page.

Make sure your URLs are case sensitive. You can do this by setting up a 301-redirectthat automatically redirects URLs written with one or more upper case letters to the corresponding URLs written with lower case letters. The redirect can be set up for the whole website and does not have to be set up manually for each page.

Trailing slash

En final slash is the forward slash that often ends a URL (for example in https://inboundcph.dk/seo/). In practice, there is no difference between a web address ending with or without a slash, but in Google's eyes there are two different pages, and the problem is the same as with upper and lower case.

Make sure your URLs can only be accessed with or without a slash. It makes no difference which version you choose. The solution is a 301 redirect, which automatically redirects all URLs written with or without a slash to the correct version. Remember to change internal links on your website according to the version of the URLs you have chosen.

Frequently asked questions

What is a URL?

En  URL is a term for the address of a page on the Internet.

What is URL an abbreviation for?

URL is an abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator. In English, a URL is also called a web address or internet address.

What does a URL consist of?

A URL consists of a protocol (for example "https://"), a domain name (for example "inboundcph"), a domain extension (for example ".dk") and a path (for example "/seo/").

What is a web address?

A web address is a synonym for a URL. Also called an Internet address and a website address.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

Se forfatter

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