Search Engine Optimization Tip 31: Use SEO Friendly URLs

This is SEO tip number 31 in Vizion Interactive’s continuing series of Search Engine Optimization tips. All our search engine optimization tips are meant to be specific in nature, they will not take that long to review, and are directly to the point. This search engine optimization tip has to do with using URLs that I like to call “SEO Friendly”.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm47XCuWK7Q[/youtube]

What is an “SEO Friendly” URL? A URL (which stands for Universal Resource Locator) is considered to be “search engine optimization friendly” when it does not extra ‘characters’ in it. Essentially, by looking at the URL, you can tell what might be located there: because the website owner uses keywords to describe what will be found on the page. Let’s look at an example of an un-friendly URL:

http://www.vizioninteractive.com/?p=310

In case above, if someone saw that URL in a search result they wouldn’t know what they’re going to get when they click on the link. The URL doesn’t tell you what you’re going to “see” or what’s on the page. Let’s take that same page on a website and turn it into a search engine friendly URL like this:

http://www.vizioninteractive.com/seo-tip-friendly-urls/

In the case above, by looking at the URL, you would assume that the page is about “SEO Tip” and “friendly URLs”. See what I mean? You can put your keywords in the URL and actually “name” the page something that is appropriate, something that describes what is on the web page, something that is on that URL.

Let’s look at categorizing and categories. What if you’re selling something on your website? You would probably want to put your products into categories, maybe like this:

http://www.vizioninteractive.com/widgets/red/

In the case above, you see that we have a category named “widgets”, and you will most likely find “red” widgets on that page.

Many content management systems, including blog platforms such as WordPress and Movable Type, and even many ecommerce systems are traditionally SEO un-friendly, meaning that they include all sorts of “paramaters” in the URLs. I showed you a parameter at the beginning of this article, one that is like this: ?p=310. The actual parameter is 310 in this case, and we need to convert everything after the question mark (including the question mark) into something more “friendly”. So, how do you do that?

Usually, to make your URLs more “SEO friendly”, you need to set up “rewrites” on your web server so that when an SEO Unfriendly URL is requested by the program running on your web server¬† it will automatically rewrite the URL in the background so that the “right” URL is used.¬† Doing this will depend on what your web site is using: what program is being used on your web server. It’s not a big involved process, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to search engine optimization and optimizing your web site for the search engines. The only other part of the process involves “redirecting” the old URLs to the new SEO friendly ones. This will involve some setup, which again shouldn’t be a big deal.

  • I heard that the more information you include in the url, the longer it takes to load the page. Is that true?

  • I agree 100% that a friendly URL is extremely important factor in SEO.

    I always begin a new website project by searching and then registering a domain name that contains the exact primary keyword phrase such as cheapairfare.com. This step alone would give the webmaster an edge over thousands of competitors.

  • Byrne Reese

    Your claim that Movable Type has "traditionally SEO-unfriendly URLs" is quite false. In fact since it's inception it has provided users with the greatest control over their preferred URL structure. No URL producedby Movable Type has ever relied on query string parameters to determine the article someone is looking at.

  • I have to add that the mention that WordPress is not seo friendly is also false.

    WordPress is one of the most seo friendliest and flexible CMS system on the market.

  • I think having the right URL structure really makes a difference. Have stop words in the URL only clutter it up. Replacing those with actually keywords will make a great difference over time.

  • WordPress has very handy SEO plug-ins that help you create Search engine and SEO friendly URLS

  • I agree that having the right URL structure and keyword really makes a difference.

  • thanks for your seo tips, it helps my seo job.

  • your post is really gud and again thanx your tips realy helped me now i’ll work with full enthusiasm on mysite ,

    but my problem is i cant use seo properly on my site please help me ..how should i optimize my site properly is there any expert or any body can help me?

  • How about using question marks in image galleries in individual to show individual images using previous-next links? Is it possible to introduce galleries without question mark?