The URLs for your pages may seem like a jumble of words, letters, numbers and symbols, but their construction can have a significant impact on the success of your site. A search engine friendly URL is one that contains as few meaningless characters as possible. This means eliminating the dynamic ‘?’ wherever possible, and making sure your URLs contain as much sense as they can.
Search engine friendly URLs are a basic part of a search engine optimisation campaign. Your SEO consultant should review the URLs of your site and rewrite them where possible, and you can approach us at SEO Consult about URLs and your SEO plan. One benefit of search engine friendly URLs that is rarely considered, however, is the fact that they appeal to human users too.
A search engine friendly URL is one that is understandable to the average human brain. Usually, the content of the page it acts as the address for is revealed just by reading the URL. For instance, it’s easy to understand what ‘www.puppyfun.co.uk/puppyhealth/vitamins’ would contain. It’s less easy to understand if the in-house classification system of the business is used, for example ‘www.puppyfun.co.uk/11789/s201.htm’. A dynamic URL is similarly off-putting, even if it contains recognisable words: ‘www.puppyfun.co.uk/search/?s=”health”’.
One way of determining a search engine friendly URL is to see whether it’s friendly to humans. Search engine algorithms are designed to track down components of a site that will appeal to human users. The search engine tendency to give weight to well-worded URLs is another reflection of this. People like to know what they’re getting themselves in for before the click on a link, so search engines look for URLs that contain understandable words that are related to the search.
Considering the delicate fingers of your site’s users can really pay off in terms well beyond SEO. How many times have you been given someone’s card or noted a web address on the street? Out of those times, how many times have you actually followed through and typed the URL into your browser? An examination of these times will reveal that it’s the short URLs that make the grade when it comes to direct-typed traffic.
When designing search engine friendly URLs, it’s important to take your keywords into consideration but it’s also important to have understandable categorisation methods. For example, with the URL example noted above, it’s natural that ‘vitamins’ might be a progression from the category of ‘puppy health’. It’s also easy to understand how ‘puppy health’ could be a major category on a page called ‘puppy fun.’ It is not a good idea to leave this kind of categorisation up to content management systems, which are likely to put unfriendly parameters into your URLs. Your SEO consultant should be able to help on this issue.
It can help to think of your URLs not just as your page addresses, but as your page names as well. Just as a good file name can help you guess what the file contains, a search engine friendly should enable a user to guess what the page is about. Contact us at SEO Consult about search engine friendly URLs.
Content courtesy of SEO Consult