Are your urls friendly?

11 September 09 , ,

If you are using Textpattern, the answer is yes.

What is a friendly url?

A friendly url is one that is human-readable, guessable, and memorable. In general, it doesn’t include a lot of cryptic numbers or query strings. Here’s an example of an unfriendly url:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,549162,00.html

There is no way you (or a search engine!) could know from this url that the page was a story about a 9/11 memorial service. And it is highly unlikely that you could remember it or guess it off the top of your head. Here is an example of a friendly url:

http://www.boston.com/business/gallery/madoffproperties

We can make a good guess what is at this url. Probably, a photo gallery of Bernie Madoff’s ill-gotten properties. You might even be able to remember it and if you were later to look for some other gallery, you might be able to guess what its url is.

Why are friendly urls important?

Friendly urls are included in Google’s recently-released “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide”, and when Google has something to say about SEO, we should listen. Friendly urls:

  • Make it easier for users to share your content, by making it easier to link to and easier to recite to someone else
  • Make your content findable by simply guessing the url
  • Automatically add relevant keywords to inbound links, if someone uses the url as the link’s text, as in: norabrowndesign.com/blog/article/are-your-urls-friendly
  • Will be bolded in a Google search results page, if they include the user’s search terms, as in the following example, when I searched Google for “photo editing sites reviewed”.

Mind your urls

All of this just reinforces the importance of your site’s urls, which in the case of a blog, are generated from your post title. Notice the typo in my url in the image above? I wrote “sited” instead of “sites”. That typo was enshrined in my url, so now I’m sort of stuck with it. So, as I wrote about previously, mind your urls!


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