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SEO-friendly URLs = User-friendly URLs

by richmondseo on September 2, 2009 · 48 comments

in search engine optimization


If you’ve been talking search engine optimization (SEO) lately you’ve probably heard the term “seo-friendly URLs”.

No? If you haven’t heard this term, maybe you’ve been talking to the wrong SEO consultant.

What’s a URL?
URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator and is a reference to a resource on the Internet. Think of it as your address on the Web. The URL of this page, for instance, is /seo-friendly-urls. It’s what the search engines use to identify your web page.

Why SEO-friendly URLs?
It isn’t as if the search engines can’t read any old URL. They can for the most part. After all, they index hundreds of billions of URLs a day. But, it you want your web pages to be easily found in the search engines (and ultimately by your visitors), you’ll want to create SEO-friendly URLs.

Just, think about it. If the search engines depend on your URL to identify your website or blog. Then, why in the world wouldn’t you do what you could to make it easier for the search engines and your visitors to find your site by optimizing your URLs?

What makes a URL SEO-friendly?
As with most things SEO, it’s all about the user (your visitor). Make your URL user-friendly and it will be seo-friendly.

  1. Place your keywords in your URLs. This will help you in your search engine rankings and make it easier for your intended visitors to find you.
  2. Your URL should describe the content of the page. Potential visitors should be able to tell what your web page is about by looking at your URL address.
  3. The shorter your URL, the better. If the string is too long, the weight of your keywords may be diluted. Shorter URLs also make it easier for your visitors to remember and copy/paste a link to your web page.
  4. Use lower case in your URL. Don’t complicate things. Make it easy for your users to type your URL.
  5. Avoid using characters such as spaces, ampersand (&) and other signs in your URL. Use hyphens (-) instead of  underscores (_) to break up words in your URLs. Hyphens are much more user-friendly.
  6. Keep your files as close to the root directory as possible. Don’t go more than 3 directories deep. This will make it easier for the search engines to index your entire site as well as make it easier for users to remember your URL.
  7. Stick with a uniform URL structure throughout your website or blog. Following a standard convention will make it easier for your users to find the information they are searching for as well as help with future development.

What did I forget?

If you have any seo-friendly URL tips to add, please do so in the comments section below.

—Photo by karindalziel

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