What is a URL? Meaning, Structure & Examples

Staff Writer
Last Updated
February 9, 2024
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Uniform Resource Locator famously known as the URL is the web address of an internet resource, like a webpage. The address bar located at the top of your browser, displays the URL of the webpage you're currently viewing.

URLs are one of the most crucial components as they can help people access the webpage they want to view. To help you understand better about what is URLs, below are some examples of URLs:

But do keep in mind that URLs can also be longer and more specific than the examples above. A well-crafted URL can be a powerful tool to improve SEO performance. Therefore, ensuring that you optimize your URLs is important to boost your website’s rankings.

How Is a URL Structured?

The structure of a URL contains multiple parts that can be broken down into seven distinct parts. To help you better understand how a URL is structured, read below to get the ultimate insight. 


The protocol directs your browser on how to connect to a webpage, typically using either HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) or HTTPS (HTTP secure). The key disparity lies in HTTPS encrypting and safeguarding data exchanged between the server and browser. 

This security measure significantly enhances a website's protection and plays a vital role in enhancing its search result rankings. Consequently, when users engage with your site, their sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card details, remains shielded from potential attackers. 

The bold font indicates the protocol of these URLs: 

  • https://support.google.com/
  • https://www.cardinaldigital.com/ 

From the example that we’ve shown above, you can see that all the sites are using protocol with HTTPS. This shows that reputable websites prioritize HTTPS as their site protocol, to emphasize user safety and security.


A subdomain comprises words or phrases preceding the first dot in a URL. Commonly, in the context of the internet, "www" represents the World Wide Web and is the most prevalent subdomain. But now, including "www" is an optional practice as its presence or absence doesn't hold much significance. Regarding SEO, using or excluding "www" doesn't notably impact rankings. But indeed, omitting "www" can result in shorter and more user-friendly URLs.

Additionally, you can use various words as subdomains to organize website sections, such as "blog" or "support," directing to specific directories within the primary domain. These aid in managing and structuring website segments based on specific functions.

The bold font indicates the subdomain of these URLs: 

  • https://support.google.com/  
  • https://www.cardinaldigital.com/ 


The domain constitutes the core segment of a URL, serving as the website's identifier. It's the term users input into their browser's address bar to navigate to a specific site. Each domain name is distinct and signifies its associated IP address, directing users to the website's server. 

When seeking a domain name, opting for brevity and memorability is advisable. Short, catchy domain names are simpler for individuals to recall, potentially prompting them to revisit your website.

The bold font indicates the domain of these URLs: 

  • https://support.google.com/  
  • https://www.cardinaldigital.com/blog-article/beginners-guide-to-seo

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The top-level Domain (TLD), also known as the domain extension, follows the name of your website, such as ".com." - one of the most prevalent TLDs for websites. The most commonly used TLDs are:

  • .com: Commercial websites - https://www.cardinaldigital.com
  • .org: Nonprofit organizations - https://www.un.org/
  • .edu: Educational institutions - https://www.harvard.edu/
  • .gov: Government agencies - https://www.state.gov/

Furthermore, the utilization of country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) is also another option you can choose. These ccTLDs consist of two-letter domain extensions that indicate a website's link to a particular country or region, such as .sg, .id, and .uk. 

For those in the initial phases of acquiring a domain name, it is important to opt for a TLD that most accurately reflects the essence of your business. Choosing the right TLD is crucial for URLs due to several reasons:

  1. Relevance: A relevant TLD can indicate the nature or purpose of the website, aiding users in understanding its content before visiting.
  2. Trustworthiness: Certain TLDs, like .org, and .gov are more familiar and often associated with established trustworthy websites. 
  3. Geotargeting: Country code TLDs (.us, .uk, etc.) help in targeting specific geographical regions, which can be beneficial for local businesses or services targeting specific locations.
  4. SEO Impact: While the impact might be minimal, search engines sometimes use the TLD as a factor for determining the relevance of a website to a particular region. It's one of the many factors they consider in local search rankings.

Choosing an appropriate TLD that aligns with your website's purpose, audience, and trustworthiness can positively impact user trust, and potentially aid in search engine optimization efforts.


A subfolder refers to a directory situated within the primary directory of a website's hierarchy. These folders serve the purpose of organizing website content into distinct and coherent sections. Their function is to enhance visitor navigation by providing clear delineation and aiding users in understanding their location within the website structure.

The bold font indicates the subfolder of the URL: 

  • https://www.cardinaldigital.com/blog-article/beginners-guide-to-seo
  • https://www.luce.sg/services/aircon-servicing


A slug within a URL specifies a particular page or post on a website, offering users insight into the content and context of that specific webpage. However, there are instances where URL slugs might appear as strings of numbers like "/83451/". Such slugs can be confusing for users. 

The key purpose of a URL slug is to succinctly describe a page's content. Therefore, when crafting a slug, it's crucial to ensure it is descriptive and conveys meaningful information about the page's content for better user comprehension.

The bold font indicates the slug of the URL: 

  • https://www.cardinaldigital.com/blog-article/beginners-guide-to-seo
  • https://www.luce.sg/services/aircon-servicing

URL Parameters

URL parameters, also known as query strings, are components of a URL appearing after a question mark (?). They consist of pairs of keys and values, delineated by an equal sign (=). The key indicates the type of information being conveyed, while the corresponding value represents the specific information being passed along within the URL.

The bold font indicates the parameter of the URL: 

  • https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj429LTxrGDAxWPSmwGHWbgD1gQFnoECBAQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2F

What Are the Different Types of URLs?

Absolute and relative are the ultimate two types of URLs that are important for you to know and understand.

  • Absolute URL: Absolute URL shows the full path to your website URL, from the protocol, subdomain (www), domain name, and URL slug. Here’s an example of an absolute URL: https://www.cardinaldigital.com/blog-article/how-to-become-an-seo-expert 
  • Relative URL: Meanwhile, a relative URL specifically identifies the directory and URL slug without indicating the full path. Here’s an example of a relative URL: blog-article/how-to-become-an-SEO-expert  

How to Optimize URLs for SEO

  1. Be Descriptive: Use relevant keywords in URLs. If the content is related to SEO, make sure to put SEO as the main keyword for your URL.
  1. Keep It Concise: Keeping URLs concise is important, as shorter URLs are easier to read and share.
  1. Use Hyphens: To ensure better readability, you should make sure to separate words within the URLs.
  1. Ensure Readability: Make URLs human-friendly, which is easily understandable for users. Ensuring human-friendly URLs can also help to enhance your SEO goal.
  1. Use the HTTPS Protocol: HTTPS protects your visitors’ sensitive information from attackers. Thus HTTPS is much safer to utilize for your site.
  1. Choose an Appropriate TLD: A relevant TLD like .edu for educational institutions, or .gov for government sites, can indicate the nature or purpose of your website.
  1. Use Subfolders to Organize Content: Use subfolders to organize your content and make it easy for users to know where they are on the website.
  1. Optimize URL Slugs: URL slugs should describe the content of the page because it helps the search engine understand what the page is about


A URL is a full web address directing users to a particular file online. Understanding more about how URLs are created, and everything behind the URL is important if you want to improve your website SEO. 

Looking to enhance your website's visibility and reach? Consider hiring our reliable team at Cardinal Digital!

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