URL structure was discussed at length in the course Site Architecture & Navigation. It is critically important that every page on your site utilizes a well-optimized categorization structure.

However when creating a new page of content you must also decide what the URL will be for that specific page. Typically by default a CMS will usually just use the page title as a URL. However, if the title that you have given the page is long, contains stop words, or had the most important keyword at the end of the title, you may want to take control and create a URL that is better optimized.

For instance, let’s say a blogger writes a post that is focused on the keyword “shopping for car insurance” and they give it the title: “3 lessons that I learned while shopping for car insurance”, by default their CMS may want to use this url:


The problem is that this URL is very long and includes a bunch of stop words (that, i, while, for). In this example, the word "for" is actually part of the target keyword phrase, but the other stop words are not part of the keyword phrase. They are unnecessary filler.

The only time you should use stop words in your URL structure is if they are a part of the specific keyword phrase you are optimizing for. Traditionally, stop words have been filtered out by search engines prior to the processing of text. So, basically you don’t want to use them in your URL unless they are a part of your target keyword. However, with Google making a significant push into semantic search and natural language processing, there is data to support the notion that they are beginning to look at stop words differently. Still, if the stop word is not a part of your target keyword phrase, then don’t use it in the URL.

Because of this, the URL should probably be changed to:


Remember the idea of keyword prominence and try to start your page URL using your most important keyword.

Also, remember that you may want to write similar articles in the future and will need to use an original URL, so make your URL distinct and not too generic.

Here is a list of common stopwords:

a, able, about, across, after, all, almost, also, am, among, an, and, any, are, as, at, be, because, been, but, by, can, cannot, could, dear, did, do, does, either, else, ever, every, for, from, get, got, had, has, have, he, her, hers, him, his, how, however, i, if, in, into, is, it, its, just, least, let, like, likely, may, me, might, most, must, my, neither, no, nor, not, of, off, often, on, only, or, other, our, own, rather, said, say, says, she, should, since, so, some, than, that, the, their, them, then, there, these, they, this, tis, to, too, twas, us, wants, was, we, were, what, when, where, which, while, who, whom, why, will, with, would, yet, you, your, ain't, aren't, can't, could've, couldn't, didn't, doesn't, don't, hasn't, he'd, he'll, he's, how'd, how'll, how's, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, isn't, it's, might've, mightn't, must've, mustn't, shan't, she'd, she'll, she's, should've, shouldn't, that'll, that's, there's, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, wasn't, we'd, we'll, we're, weren't, what'd, what's, when'd, when'll, when's, where'd, where'll, where's, who'd, who'll, who's, why'd, why'll, why's, won't, would've, wouldn't, you'd, you'll, you're, you've

So, When It Comes To Your URL Structure…

No If’s, And’s or But’s!

…unless they are a part of your target keyword phrase.

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