Search Engine Friendly URLs

Today I am going to talk about Search Engine Friendly URLs. You may not have taken them into consideration, but you should if you want good search engine rankings.

You’ve probably seen websites that have some crazily long website address, for example:

Not only does it make it hard for you to remember that long address, all those variables in the URL hurt the ranking of the site.

Some search engines simply get confused with the variables, but the good engines can still crawl them. However, when you use variables a couple things can happen:

  1. Google states that it will crawl dynamic pages slower
  2. The variables could be in a different order, creating a duplicate page with different url
  3. Users might link to the site, leaving out a variable, or in a different order
  4. The variables don’t describe the page.. iMainCat=7 is what category??

With that in mind, it is very important to make your URLs search engine friendly. Here are some basic tips for your URLs:

  1. Use category text, not category numerical ids
  2. Use dashes (-), not spaces
  3. Use only alpha-numeric characters, thats a-z, 0-9
  4. Use keywords in your URL
  5. Use directories sparingly, I wouldn’t go over 5 deep

If you use software like a forum or blog, chances are the software supports search engine friendly urls if you have access to htaccess and mod re-write. For instance, WordPress can make these nice blog urls with it, or you can have index.php?id=# – The sooner you use search engine friendly urls, the better!

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