February 4, 2011
Your content’s URLs, or Universal Resource Locators, may not be something that you think about every day. Making your URLs as friendly and easy-to-use as possible is one of the basics of optimizing your website for search engines as well as vastly improving its general usability.
The base URL, or address, of your website often looks something like this: http://www.example.com. It’s what people type into the address bars of their browsers to navigate to your website. Using a relevant URL is an important part connecting your users with your offerings.
Say, for example, http://www.carsales.com, if you were, indeed, a car salesmen. That’s all pretty obvious, but how can you make your URL friendlier? Here’s two things to think about:
1) Human readable URLs
Often times, because of the nature of the programming behind a website’s functionality, URLs have a tendency to devolve into hard to read, hard to understand strings of text. The URL is used to pass information to the website’s scripts – or programs – and some developers don’t take the time to develop a friendly URL system, opting instead to pass raw data through the URL. Take for example, a web page on a fictional dog toy company’s website which lists all of their assorted dog collars. In some cases, you may find a URL like so: http://www.dogtoys.com/?catId=col&page=1
As you can tell, the URL says nothing legible about collars. That means it isn’t any help either to search engines or to actual users in terms of delivering any real meaning. Not only will search engines not be able to use this URL effectively to catalog the web page’s contents, but users will have a hard time remembering it if they ever choose to return to the web page. Instead, a “friendlier” URL may read like so: http://www.dogtoys.com/collars
That’s much simpler. Now search engines and real people alike will have no difficulty knowing what might be offered at that page, or remembering how to navigate back to it.
How do you get your website to sport human readable URLs?
Ask your SEO consultant to make sure your web pages are configured to allow them, and that they boast the most effective language and phrasing in terms of “find-ability.”
2) “Hackable” URLs
Once your website offers human readable URLs, it’s time to take it one step further. “Hackable” URLs refers to URLs which can be modified by users to deliver intuitive results. This is accomplished by arranging your website’s structure categorically, and reflecting that structure in the web pages’ addresses. For example, a “hackable” URL for a web page providing purple dog collars might look like this: http://www.dogtoys.com/collars/purple Now users can glean at a glance that this page will offer not just dog collars, but dog collars of a specific color. So what if your user wants to see all dog collars, regardless of color?
They simply “hack” off the specification at the end of the URL, which gives them: http://www.dogtoys.com/collars.
This practice not only adds more meaningful, precise language into your URLs which will ensure better search engine cataloging, but also adds meaning and intuitive navigability for your users.
Pump Up Your Website is a leader in the field of search, social media and email marketing. We’re also very good at web design, Internet development and ecommerce. We use tools like WordPress Blogs, Facebook and Twitter to make your business successful. Visit us at http://pumpupyourwebsite.com.