Simple-to-understand URLs will attract more traffic to your site
Great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can get your site ranked on the first page of Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). But the next step is up to you – or your webmaster – and it’s critical to getting more visitors to click through to your site. Here, Google explains how to achieve user-friendly URLs for better marketing of your site.
You must try to create simple, descriptive categories and file names for all documents on your website. That not only helps you organize your site better, but it also leads to better search engine crawling of your site’s documents. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words. They don’t lend themselves to effective marketing.
Unfriendly URLs – A Marketing Faux Pas
URLs like (1) can be confusing and unfriendly. Users would have a hard time reciting the URL from memory or creating a link to it. Also, users may believe that a portion of the URL is unnecessary, especially if the URL shows many unrecognizable parameters. They might leave off a part, thus breaking the link.
With effective marketing, users might link to your page using the URL of that page as the anchor text. If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more user-friendly information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would (2).
Lastly, remember that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a search result in Google, below the document’s title and snippet. Like the title and snippet, words in the URL on the search result appear in bold if they appear in the user’s query (3). Example (2) shows a URL on the domain for a page containing an article about the rarest baseball cards. Keywords in the URL will appeal to a search user more than a random ID number like “www. brandonsbaseballcards.com/article/102125/”.
Rewriting your URLs
Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they’re quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible for both users and search engines can help.
Some webmasters try to achieve this by rewriting their dynamic URLs to static ones; while Google is fine with this, we’d like to note that this is an advanced procedure and if done incorrectly, could cause crawling issues with your site.
To learn even more about good URL structure, we recommend the Webmaster Help Center page on creating Google-friendly URLs.
Simple-to-understand URLs in Google SERPs will convey content information easily
(1) A URL to a page on our baseball card site that a user might have a hard time with.
(2) The highlighted words above could inform a user or search engine what the target page is about before following the link.
URLs are displayed in Google SERPs
(3) A user performs the query [baseball cards]. Our homepage appears as a result, with the URL listed under the title and snippet.
Have you noticed how your site’s page URLs appear in Google search results?
Content thanks to Google for their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide available FREE.
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ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman:
Lisa Chapman helps company leaders define, plan and achieve their goals – both online and offline. After 25+ years as an entrepreneur, she is now a business and marketing consultant, business planning consultant and social media consultant. Online, she works with clients to establish and enhance their brand, attract their Target Audience, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert them into Buyers. You can reach her via email: Lisa (at) LisaChapman (dot) com. Her book, The WebPowered Entrepreneur – A Step-by-Step Guide is available at: