What is the difference between link and url

URL - everything about the server address

The URL - a “uniform resource indicator” with SEO potential!

The URL, an abbreviation for the English term “Uniform Resource Locator”, is also known colloquially as “Internet address” or “Web address”. However, very few people know that there are a few things to consider when creating - we will tell you exactly what!

URL - doesn't sound particularly exciting at first. But without them we would be really lost. The URL is generally understood to be the page address that we enter in our browser or click in a link to access a specific website. Without the three letters, we would not be able to access the content of the "WWW", because behind the URL is the IP address and this is a prerequisite for the computer to communicate with a server. But let's start from the beginning. In the following we explain what the URL is all about, why we use URLs today and why URLs are important for search engine optimization.

What is a url?

URL stands for "Uniform Resource Locator" and appears as part of the URI, the "Uniform Resource Identifier". The URL is an address that identifies a file on a server. The common language terms "Internet address" or "Web address" are better known. So a URL is what we enter in our browser or what is hidden behind a link. The URL enables the computer to identify resources via a network protocol such as http, https or ftp and to access them in a targeted manner.

Why are there urls?

Behind the URL is the unique IP address of the website that we want to call up. Theoretically, we can also access this without the URL, i.e. only via the IP address. However, since this usually consists of a long sequence of numbers that can hardly be remembered, URLs were introduced and pack an IP address in a string of characters that people can easily read and remember. The words and numbers in a URL should usually be chosen sensibly and are an important part of search engine optimization. But more on that later.

How did the URLs come about?

Due to the problem of entering an IP address described above, the rapidly developing Internet was confronted with this as early as the 1990s. Researcher Tim Berners-Lee therefore set out to find a simpler and user-friendly way to make web pages more easily accessible for people without having to enter long rows of numbers. In 1994 the time had come and the RFC 1738 standard was published. Initially, the URI was defined with it, but the URL as a subform quickly follows and is shown today in the structure that is common to us.

How is a URL structured?

A URL was made up of the following components:

  • the protocol
  • the server name or domain name behind which the IP address is hidden
  • and the file path, which can consist of several directories

A URL always follows the same structure and contains the following elements:

  • http: // or ftp: // (protocol)
  • www.suchhelden.de (server or domain name)
  • /URL.php (file path)

Put together, the URL looks like this: http://www.suchhelden.de/URL.php. If this is entered in the browser, the user is directed directly to this page. The term domain is often used for a URL. However, a domain is only this part “(www.) Suchhelden.de” where “WWW” means the subdomain. A URL, on the other hand, is the complete address http://www.suchhelden.de. But www.suchhelden.de/magazin/https.php is also a URL and not a domain. Because the IP address is hidden behind the URL, tools can be used to identify the IP address of a site by converting the character string.

The peculiarity of a URL

The uniform standard of the URL is intended to prevent errors from creeping in during input and so only certain characters are allowed for encoding. The ASCII character set is used for this. This makes it possible to use certain special characters that are recognized by the browser. On the other hand, it aborts the call as soon as characters are used that are not assigned to the ASCII character set.

This is the case with umlauts such as Ä, Ü or Ö or ß.

The coding also assigns functions to certain characters in the URL:

The question mark is relevant for tracking, for example, and introduces the so-called "query string" of a URL. This contains values ​​to which corresponding parameters are assigned.

The equal sign separates the values ​​and parameters and stands for the content. The ampersand is used as a separator between the parameters. The pound sign indicates a link within a file.

How is a URL related to search engine optimization?

A URL plays a major role in onpage optimization. It is primarily about the user and machine friendliness of a URL. The easier it is to identify a URL and assign it to a certain topic, the more attractive it is for search engines and users. It shows that the Internet crawler evaluates a complete and easily understandable URL better than a cryptic sequence of numbers. Because a URL should not be changed once it has been set up, since it is then already indexed, it is important to think about the URL structure and structure right from the start. If you use a short and crisp URL that is understandable for users, you also increase the click rate on the page, which Google also rates positively.

Accordingly, a URL can be constructed with keywords (above all the main keyword) that reflect the topic of the page, serve for better orientation and increase readability. Good to know: That would certainly be counterproductive, but Google is able to recognize around 1,000 characters in a URL.

The following factors should be considered in URL SEO:

Relative URLs

This means URLs that are specified without the domain name. The paths thus relate to the context and can be displayed relative to the web server and relative to the file. A complete URL is always referred to as an absolute URL. A relative URL refers to the server with a “/” and without to the file or document.

Example: / magazine / https or https.php

The advantage of relative URLs is that the complete URL does not have to be specified every time for internal links, and it is easier to move a domain. According to John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, absolute and relative URLs are equivalent to the search engine.

Talking URLs

The so-called "speaking URLs" are URLs that consist of a meaningful string of characters. Based on the structure of the URL, these already show what the page is about and what awaits the user here. Navigation is also much easier to understand with speaking URLs. Sharing in social networks or the snippets in the search results themselves is also much easier and more user-friendly. The speaking URLs create trust, which has a positive effect on the click rate.

Static URLs and Dynamic URLs

There is also a difference between static URLs and dynamic URLs. Static URLs do not contain any parameters and are therefore usually easier for users to understand. Because they remain, the name of the domain should therefore be carefully considered in advance. Dynamic URLs, on the other hand, have parameters and are usually much longer. These are also changed in the same way as on a website which adds new products to a shop.

Keywords in the url

Keywords are the main actors in search engine optimization and therefore also play a key role in URLs. Google itself recommends using important and relevant search terms in a URL. This makes it easier for Google's crawler to identify the content of the page. However, it shows class instead of mass, because if you put too many keywords in the URL, you risk being penalized by Google.

Shortening URLs

With SEO, particular care must be taken that a URL is designed as user-friendly as possible, legible and gives a first impression of the content of the page. It therefore makes sense to keep URLs as short as possible. URLs often become endlessly long and completely impractical due to many subdirectories or cryptic numbers, letters and special characters during product launches. It is therefore possible to shorten a URL without losing the unique reference. There are different tools for this.

How can you find and copy a URL on Google?

  • The desired page is searched for using the Google search.
  • Clicking on the corresponding result in the search results takes you to the website.
  • Once there, the address bar is marked in the browser.
  • In the Chrome app: Click on "Cut" or "Select all" and then "Copy".
  • With Safari: Click on "Copy".