Are URLs case sensitive? This is a question that I often get asked.
URL structure plays a big role in helping Google understand what it is your page is describing.
In this article, we will discuss whether URL’s are case sensitive and what you should look to do when it comes to creating search engine friendly URL structures.
What is a URL?
- What is a URL?
- What is the difference between a domain name and a URL?
- Does case matter in URLs?
- Should URLs be capitalised?
- Does case matter in domain names?
- What is the best practice when it comes to URL structure?
- Organised category structure
- Using target keywords in URL’s
A URL is a complete web address used to find any one of the pages within your website, with just the domain name included.
Every URL contains a domain name, as well as other elements that form part of the URL structure.
What is the difference between a domain name and a URL?
A domain name works as a replacement for the IP address of a website. It is designed to be a more readable and user-friendly alternative to reading a website address as numbers. A URL relates to the path and subfolders of a domain that typically appears after the domain name.
A URL will enable you to get to a specific page destination whilst reaching a website just by the domain name will typically send you directly to the home page.
Does case matter in URLs?
I often get asked whether case-sensitivity makes a difference when it comes to URL paths – and the answer is yes… Case sensitivity definitely does matter when it comes to URL’s.
If you were to search for one URL using just lower case letters and the same using upper case letters, this would be like searching for 2 different pages.
Now, most of the time, a website will handle capitalisation and it should take you to the same page but in some cases, it can result in producing a 404 error if the URL is not exactly the same.
The best practice when it comes to creating URL’s is to keep everything lower case as this is far easier to read for users of your website.
Should URLs be capitalised?
Generally, you should avoid using capitalised characters for your URL names. Using upper case letters for URL’s makes them slightly harder to read as a pose to lower case and doesn’t look too natural when a user lands on your website.
Whilst capitalised URL’s will not make a difference in terms of the page location, you should generally avoid this. If your URL’s also depends on the structure of your subcategories, some of your folders may pull in lower case with the URL of your page pulling in upper case.
Does case matter in domain names?
Domain names are not case sensitive and whether you type in a domain in capital or lower case, you will end up on the same website.
Whether you search for the upper case or lowercase version, you will end up at the root domain of a page. Search engines deal with domains in lowercase letters and this is the same for every website.
What is the best practice when it comes to URL structure?
A site’s URL structure should be as simple and easy to remember as possible. You need to think about the user when it comes to creating URL’s that are user friendly.
By keeping URL’s to a reasonable length, using hyphens to separate keywords and using the same name as your target keyword for that particular page is the general recommendation when it comes to good URL structures.
Organised category structure
You should also think about your category structure when building URL’s too.
Some website builders like Magento will generate the URL’s of a particular page depending on the category and subfolder structure. You want your pages to be as discoverable as possible and any more than 3 subcategories will essentially bury your content.
Google gives less credit to pages that are deeper within a website and it only increases the length of your page URL.
Using target keywords in URL’s
You should definitely use the target keyword you are aiming for on a particular page when creating your URL. They are one of the big factors that help Google understand what a page is talking about and it will also help your users understand the purpose of the page at first glance.
So, to conclude, are URL’s case sensitive and what should you do when creating URL’s for a website?
The answer is… Yes, absolutely they are case sensitive and you should try to keep any URL’s you create simple and in a lower case format.
There are many factors that go into building relevance and trust around a keyword that you are trying to rank for. URL’s play a big part in telling Google what a specific page is talking about.
Keep it simple and keep your categories structured and you can’t go too far wrong when creating healthy, optimised website pages.