Everything You Need to Know to
Create an SEO Friendly URL
How many times have you looked at your browser's address bar, and all you saw was an endless string of letters, numbers and characters, impossible to understand and even less to memorize or reproduce? Possibly several times.
These long, complex, and incomprehensible addresses are the opposite of what is recommended and examples of what a friendly URL should NOT be.
Friendly URLs are not only more visually pleasing, but they provide essential benefits, and for that reason, this post will help you understand everything relevant to the subject. So, let's go from the beginning of everything.
What is a URL?
URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, whose creation even in the early days of the Internet, intended to facilitate the location and access of sites and their resources.
In other words, it's the address you type to access the home page or the page that was created to be the website's landing page, when you fill in only the domain in your web browser's address bar, or when you know the address from a specific page, such as the product page, for example.
If it is still unclear what a URL is, knowing its structure or how it is composed will eliminate your possible doubts.
How is a URL composed?
A URL is something like "https://www.verizon.com/support", which is made up of some parts that can be divided into:
- Schema or scheme corresponds to the internet protocol used and must be passed to the webserver. When it comes to accessing a website, it is common to find "HTTPS://", as in our example above.
- Domain or subdomain and which is the part of the address is commonly known as the website name and in this case, is "Temok";
- The TLD (Top Level Domain) or domain extension, as it is commonly referred to, is equivalent to ".com";
- Path or directory, when it exists, corresponds to additional information of which folder or directory the content you want to access is located, which in this case is "blog".
- Finally, "what-is-mysql" completes the URL with additional information that makes a more specific reference to the content contained in the path or directory.
The idea behind this structure is sound.
In practical terms, it is the same as "telling" the browser to use a secure HTTP protocol – HTTPS – to access the "Temok.com" domain, more precisely in the "blog" folder and in this folder display the content corresponding to the page "what-is-mysql".
Objective, practical and intuitive, isn't it?
However, as trade sites began to become more sophisticated, they grew in size, offering more content and mainly when dynamic sites emerged, built using a programming language. Such as PHP and databases, such as MySQL, URLs started to be used to pass parameters of how the respective pages should be "mounted" by the webserver.
This is usually the main reason for long, unreadable, and even less memorable URLs, such as: "http://www.yoursite.com/index.php?route="
Anyone looking at something like that, especially if they don't know anything about website development and web programming, cannot understand anything, let alone reproduce this address again unless they copy and paste it somewhere.
The proliferation of content sites, e-commerce sites and other types of sites developed from programming languages such as ASP and PHP made it impossible to access any content that wasn't for the repetition of all the necessary navigation to get to that one. Specific page.
Entering an address like the last one we used as an example is unfeasible.
To solve this and other problems arising from this situation, friendly URLs were created.
What is a friendly URL?
A friendly URL is a virtual address with a clear structure is as short as possible, is easily identifiable as to its destination, and is easier to remember.
In other words, it is the return to the initially, idealized structure, in which by observing the corresponding address, you can imagine what is associated with it, as in the following URLs:
"https://techsaa.com/about-us" or "https://www.example.com/products"
When analyzing both addresses, one can imagine that they will give access to the contact and product page of the website in question.
Why use friendly URLs?
There are several reasons why it is highly recommended to use friendly URLs:
- The first and most apparent justification for the use of friendly URLs is, as the name suggests, to make the access address to the corresponding page friendlier, more accessible, more transparent to whoever is going to access it;
- If someone sends you a link like "http://www.example.com/index.php?route=?s1oid=1DE0YFhX&ComForEdit-050L08hwX&emtm=1534048&fromEm=1&s1ext=0" and does not give you any other information, you are not able to know anything about its respective content unless you access it. So, it's also a security issue.
- Friendly URLs are more likely to receive clicks because they inspire confidence in the user as they imagine the content they will find.
- When returning to the initial concept, navigation and return access to a page are also facilitated.
- Favors the indexing process by different search engines.
- Favorably influences the SEO.
Yes, SEO work is favoured when using friendly URLs!
Bing and especially Google welcome the adoption of this feature by sites. It improves the user experience about the site and, among other factors, contributes to improving the ranking in organic searches.
So, if the topic is SEO, whether for Google or even for Bing, every website needs to consider its use.
How to create friendly URLs?
More than simply producing a readable, short and memorable address, the creation of friendly URLs must consider some aspects that contribute to the SEO work and website visitors.
Use of the primary keyword, that is, the one that is the central theme gives the visitor the certainty that the content is related to what he is looking for and contributes to the SEO efforts as search engines consider and score content whose keyword is also part of the address.
When you have two or more pages whose subjects are on the same topic, but each is an offshoot or constitutes a satellite page of a central issue, differentiate, and give specificity to one cause, using long-tail or long-tail keywords.
However, avoid too long and try to restrict them to a maximum of 5 words; after all, it is necessary to remember the purposes of friendly URLs and why the following tip also involves.
Pay attention to the length of the URL
Shorter URLs are better in terms of readability and memorability. Even when copying and pasting are required, the process is more straightforward if the complete address fits into the available area of the address bar.
Shorter addresses are also well regarded in getting backlinks for link building, as when you place the mouse cursor over the anchor word, the URL is displayed in the lower-left corner of the browsers window.
Don't use numbers, accents and special characters
Numbers should be avoided because they don't contribute to the goals we seek. Its use should only be considered when it is an integral and necessary part of the keyword, such as Content Marketing.
The same orientation must be followed for accents and special characters.
The exception is the hyphen, which must be used to separate each word, as this separation is interpreted both by search engines, as it improves readability, for example, in the following address:
Use only lowercase letters
Do not use capital or capital letters.
Some try to differentiate each word by capitalizing the first letter. Using hyphens, use only lowercase and separate words after the path or directory when there is more than one.
Path or directory
The path or directory must follow the same principles as the keyword that designates it, be as short as possible and contain no numbers, special characters, or accents.
How to deploy friendly URLs on the website?
If you've come this far and when you know what friendly URLs are and how important they are, you've seen that your site doesn't use them or the tips we've given aren't applied, you might be wondering how to put it all into practice.
The good news is that all CMS's modern has already embedded in its structure this concept.
If, for example, you use WordPress as a development platform, it creates the URLs based on the titles of each post and that it is editable. In other words, you can edit the title before publication to apply the tips we've given.
Also, consider the tips when creating the directories or areas of the site and their names, keeping in mind legibility, size and descriptive character.
But be careful! Changing URLs of old posts will cause you to lose the placement they already have, as search engines don't see it as a change in the page address, but as a new page and therefore subject to re-indexing and the whole process of the corresponding positioning.
For other CMSs, you need to look at how each manages the resource and procedures required to produce the addresses for each page.
Friendly URLs rather than simpler and easier-to-read page addresses produce other benefits for visitors and search engines, translating into more clicks, visits, and better search engine rankings.