Note: This post follows a new format. The information below is general and doesn’t require technical knowledge. The companion post provides instructions so you can try these things yourself: Try It: Edit Your URLs.
Whenever you write something to present to others — for example, a post on your website or a PDF document — you probably pay a lot of attention to writing a good title. Is it descriptive? Attractive? Relevant?
When writing for the internet, you may not realize that each page and post you create, and each document you upload, has a unique URL.
Just like your title, your URL should be descriptive, attractive, and relevant to the content you’re presenting. Your URL should also be similar to — if not exactly the same as — your title. Your readers will appreciate it. And Google will notice and appreciate it.
Google’s search engines scan the entire content of your post or document and evaluate whether your content is consistent with your URL. If your URL indicates one thing and your title indicates another, it is not only confusing for readers, but in the worst case, may indicate to Google that there is potential malicious intent.
Accordingly, if Google sees that your URL is very different than your title or content of your post or document, it may downgrade its rankings for your post accordingly.
If you decide to go through your website to change some URLs, be aware that the old URLs still exist in Google’s index, in emails you’ve sent, and in users’ bookmarks. If someone clicks on one of your old URLs after you’ve changed it, it will produce an error, and Google will not appreciate that. When you update a URL, it’s important to create a redirect so that your old URL is automatically redirected to your new URL.
For instructions on how to try these things yourself, see Try It: Edit Your URLs.
If you’d like help with any of the issues raised here, feel free to contact me.