Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices


What is a URL?
A URL (uniform resource locator) is the web address for your page. It’s the always associated with your page, and displayed in the web address bar and in SERPs. Both are pictured

Why are URLs important?
URLs are important for a number of reasons. Good URLs lead to organized site structure. They should give users an idea what will be on the page, and they help search engines crawl the page better. When people share a website, they usually give the URL, making it even more important for the URL to be simple, intuitive, and memorable.

How proper URLs are made
Because URLs serve the wide variety of purposes listed above, they need to be simple. It’s not always possible to make them short, but making URLs easy to read and remember should be a priority.
URLs should contain words that are relevant to the site and page content, make sense to searchers, and aren’t too long. For example, a URL like this “” is confusing, hard to remember, and hard to type directly into an address bar. These URLs should be changed so that they are shorter and more understandable, such as the one pictured above, “”
Another factor is the symbols used to separate words in a URL. Spaces, underscores, plus signs, etc. are hard for web applications to interpret correctly. At all times, a hyphen should be used to separate words, if separation is necessary.

Do Not:

ISU Best Practice
Format: The page name is suggested, or some intuitive variation thereof. Include a keyword, but don’t just use a string of keywords. Lower case is preferred. It should resemble (or keyword-phrase)
Length: Try to avoid making URLs longer than 40 characters. However, this is a suggestion. Don’t shortchange searchers to stay within a character limit.
Content: Intuitive information about the page. This name should be easy to remember or easy to interpret.
Stability: Do not change URLs unless absolutely necessary. If a change is needed set up a redirect from the old URL to the new URL.

Special Note: 301 redirect
301 redirects are set up to refer people to the preferred or dominant page of a site from a less-preferred version of a page. If a website contains duplicate pages, setting up a 301 redirect (or an rel=”canonical” link element) to take users to the preferred version of the page is suggested. For more information and instructions, visit