URLS are very important to SEO.
When we talk about Google and “findability,” typically the discussion focuses on such things as keywords, algorithms, the value of content, or optimization. But invariably overlooked is the URL or web address. Just as important keywords and algorithms, URLs must be searchable and user-friendly.
As most people now know, you no longer have to enter a search query into the search box of your browser. You can now type whatever you are looking for right in the web address area of the browser and it is because of this that URLs have become so much more powerful. What this means is that we have to view URLs as a form of keywords. They are one way for visitors to find our sites.
Now, on many sites, the URL is automatically generated. However, and again with many sites, you can edit that URL and if you can, you should. For instance, below are two URLs for the same article I wrote on content marketing and selling. One is posted on LinkedIn (auto generated) and the other on my own website (edited).
Which looks more user-friendly?
Which of these two are you more likely to remember should you want to find the article again?
And, finally, if you had to copy this web address off a piece of paper, which one would be easier to type into your browser?
I think you see the difference and why URLs are so important. Here are 10 tips on ways to make URLs more user-friendly so they work for you and your company:
1. Do not mix cases; best keep all letters in lowercase.
2. Do away with numbers; they are much harder for most people to remember.
3. Work your focus keywords for the content right into the URL; this way, if someone does use the browser’s web address area to do their search and they use those keywords, your chances of getting found increase.
4. Create a URL that says as much about the content or item on that page as possible using the fewest words possible.
5. Always review your URL before publishing; in some cases, if you cannot specifically edit your URL, try to make it shorter.
6. In general, shorter URLs just using your web address and the forward slash are advised; for instance, “www.company.com/selling” is much better than “www.company.com/selling-section-blog-content-marketing.”
7. Related to this, make the URL guessable. Using our examples above, if looking for that same article again, it is much easier to remember “alturasolutions.com/sell” than it is “linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140617215449-28675281-selling-with-content-be-a-reader-and-not-a-seller.”
8. Using hyphens between words is fine; avoid using underscores (_).
9. URLs should not include a question mark. However, sometimes a question mark is automatically generated. This can hamper findability so edit question marks out of the web address.
10. Finally, once you start editing your URLs to make them user-friendly, have a consistent style with all future URLs.