How to optimize a URL for SEO?

Everybody has heard about friendly optimization of URLs. But what kind of URLs does Google rank better? Here we bring you an experiment.


We have compared several types of URL optimization to verify which is the most favourable for ranking.

Types of URL optimization subject to comparison:

  1. URLs with and without orthographic accent
  2. URLs with and without determiners and prepositions
  3. URLs with and without special characters
  4. URLs with underscore or hyphen
  5. URLs with and without emojis


To carry out this experiment we have created 10 webpages where we include keywords that we have made up (keywords that did not deliver results on Google) for each URL. We want to find out which of them rank better.

For each of the webpages we have tried to generate the same content (without duplicating it) with the same length in order to prevent it affecting the results. In the same way, the keyword we made up will always be at the beginning to avoid altering the data by the order.

We published all the webpages at the same time, sending its indexing via Webmaster Tools at the same time to avoid that any of them could be ranked higher if they were indexed before. Finally, the results show us that this has not affected.

Optimización de urls


EXPERIMENT 1: URLs with and without orthographic accent

Search by keyword:

For this experiment we use a keyword with orthographic accent to find out whether the ranking works better for a URL that includes the accents or one that does not include them.

If we make the search by the keyword with and without the accent, the search only displays the result of each one (with and without accent).
Url con acento

Url sin acentos

However, if we make a search using the command ‘site’ plus a footprint-which is a word that is repeated in all the webpages of this experiment-to try out which one ranks better without using a keyword on the search, we will see that the optimization that ranks best is the URL WITHOUT the orthographic accent.

posicionar con acentos

EXPERIMENT 2: URLs with and without prepositions and determiners.

Search by keyword:

Making a search using the keyword we made up for this comparative, we can see that the URL with determiners and prepositions ranks better.

url con preposiciones y determinantesIf we make the search using the command site and a footprint inside the title, we see how the URLs WITH determiners and prepositions rank better once again.

posicionamiento con determinantes y preposiciones

EXPERIMENT 3: URLs with or without special characters

Search by keyword:

If we make a search by the keyword we made up for this experiment, the result is the same as on experiment 1. Google only shows the result that corresponds to the specific keyword. In this case it shows the single result of the keyword with and without the “ñ”, and does not show the alternative result too.

url caracteres extraños

posicionar caracteres extraños

To check the result of this experiment we make a search using the command ‘site’ and a footprint that appears on the title so that we can check which ranks better. In this case, the URL that ranks better is that CONTAINING strange characters. We understand that this always happens if a URL is perfectly decodable by search engines.

caracteres extraños en url

EXPERIMENT 4: URLs with underscore or hyphen

Search by keyword:

If we search by the keyword we made up for this experiment using an underscore or a hyphen, we check that the URLs with hyphens rank better, since Google only shows that result.

guiones bajos

However, if we do the search with the footprint of a word contained in two titles (hyphens) we see that it does show two results. The result that ranks better is a URL WITH underscore.

url guiones bajos o medios

EXPERIMENT 5: URL with and without emojis

We made this experiment due to the recent announcement from Google that it would no longer allow emojis on the SERP. It seems that this will actually be like this, since the only URL that appears under the search results is that WITHOUT emojis on the URL.

Search by keyword:

In this case we see that the only result shown does not have an emoji.

url con emoji

If we repeat the search using a footprint we can see that the result is the same. It only shows the URL without emoji.

posicionar emojis

NOTE: With these experiments we aim not to say that these results are unique and conclusive. Other factors might affect. These conclusions are only aimed at explaining the result of some trials about URL optimization that can help us understand what is better or simply which aspects are taken into account and which are irrelevant.



1. For those experiments where we have used keywords that can generate searches with or without some of its elements (e.g. searches with orthographic accents or special characters), Google shows the specific search result of que search. If we search a keyword with accent and we have a URL with an accent on the keyword, this is the result it will show, deleting the URL whose keyword does not have an accent on the search results. The same goes for the special characters. Therefore, we can conclude that the optimization of the URLs with accents or special characters does not prevail, but the results displayed are those that match best the search.

2. As for the experiment where we include prepositions and determiners for a URL, we see that in both cases the URLs that rank best are those which include them.

3. On the experiment of URL ranked with underscore or hyphen, we see that doing the search using the keyword we made up only showed the result of the URL with hyphens. However, when doing the search with a footprint, the result with better ranking is that with the URL featuring underscores. From this we understand that in this case Google does not take into account whether the division is by underscores or hyphens, because neither is more relevant than the other.

4. Last of all, the trials we made to see if we could rank a URL with emojis, we found out that this is not possible. In this experiment the result for both searches shows the URL without the emojis.

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