SEO Mini Series – 5 Important Things You Need to Know About User Friendly URLs
A URL is an important part of your internet presence, but too often it is overlooked or even ignored when designing a site. Effective, user friendly URLs are not only beneficial because of how potential clients and customers can use them, but they also help you when it comes to search engine optimization as well. The importance of a good URL cannot be overstated. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re creating URLs.
1. Keep it Short – Short and sweet is a great rule of thumb for many things in life, and this applies to URLs as well. Avoid needless complications and keep your URLs basic so that people can remember them, share them, and type them properly. Avoid symbols, punctuation, and even hyphens or underscores. You can even try to get shortened or abbreviated versions of terms. And use shorter versions of words as well. “Jobs” instead of “Employment” or “Homes” instead of “Properties”, for example.
2. Use Plain Language – Whatever language your website design for, keep your URLs in that language. Don’t add symbols or archaic abbreviations to your URLs, especially when you can put them in simple terms. Mybusiness.com/employment is far easier for visitors and search engines than mybusiness.com/prop~2738%job_883. Again, keep it short and sweet, and don’t muddy the waters with tech jargon and strange URLs.
3. No Caps – URLs are case sensitive, and the standard practice is to avoid capitalized letters. Keep all of your URLs in lowercase letters to avoid confusion and mistakes when typing it in. This makes sharing your website easier for people, as well, since they can simple say the address without having to specify which letters are capitalized and which aren’t.
4. Allow Flexibility – There are millions of internet users of all skill levels, and not everyone types URLs quite the same way. Giving your URLs a bit of flexibility can help you tremendously. This can be as simple as allowing for the removal of the www prefix or as in depth as utilizing self-correcting URLs that will automatically redirect to the proper page if an address is slightly mistyped (an accidental space, for example). Run a check for broken links and fix them quickly
5. Understand Keywords – Search engine optimization utilizes URLs to help increase website traffic, so including keywords within your URLs is a great way to help your site rise higher in the rankings of search engine results. Consider your keywords carefully as you create URLs, and you’ll likely see an increase in traffic to your site.