URLs and Search Engine Optimisation
When you construct a website you probably spend a lot of time getting the layout and content as appealing and professional as possible. However, it’s easy to dismiss the value of making sure that your URLs are appealing and meet SEO standards. However proper use of URLs can help search engines to figure out what your website is about an have all sorts of indirect SEO benefits as well.
While most visitors to your website won’t even notice your website address, search engines will use some aspects of your URLs to determine what topics your website deals with. Even if the direct SEO benefits of this are limited, it is also worth optimising your URLs for indirect reasons like encouraging search engine friendly inbound links. For example, when someone is linking to you, they will often use the URL to determine a suitable link title. The website address, then, gives you a chance to influence the keywords that will be mentioned in inbound links.
This post will look at how to create SEO friendly website addresses.
Length and Punctuation
Probably two of the most important factors are the length of the URL and the use of hyphens instead of underscores to indicate spaces. If you have shorter addresses, separated by hyphens, then Google will consider each individual word in the URL to be a desired keyword. If your URLs are longer, they begin to place less emphasis on this feature. On an indirect SEO level, short, clearly punctuated addresses are easy for humans to take on board which means, for example, that people linking to your site are more likely to use these keywords in the link title.
Words, not numbers
For similar reasons, it’s important to use words rather than numbers in your website addresses. This gives both Google and people linking to you a chance to determine what keywords you think are related to the page. If you’re worried about your URLs seeming like spam, use a tool like this one to get a sense of whether your approach is okay.
Dynamic vs Static URLs
If you’re creating a new site you want to use static addresses as much as possible. Where not possible, you should block many dynamic URLs (for example, search result pages) using your robots.txt file. Be warned, however, converting an existing site from dynamic to static pages is a tricky task and might backfire on you, leading your site to suffer in search engine rankings.
Do you use easy, human readable URLs in your website?