How to Make your URLs SEO Friendly

Heads up! This post was written when Metric Marketing was known as Canada's Web Shop.
featured image It is a well-known fact nowadays that without SEO a Web site stands many chances of not being indexed by search spiders, therefore risking not being ranked high enough (or even at all) in the SERPs. The result: poor conversion rate.

This situation is quite easy to avoid by performing some "cosmetic" operations on a site. One of these operations, considered by some rather difficult and a bit time-consuming, but quite effective in the long run by others, is URL rewriting.

Why It Is Nice to Have Clean URL's

There could be two very strong reasons for you to rewrite your URLs. One of them is related to Search Engine Optimization. It seems that search engines are much more at ease with URLs that don't contain long query strings.

A URL like http://www.example.com/4/basic.html can be indexed much easier, whereas its dynamic form, http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/gen.pl?id=4&view=basic, can actually confuse the search engines and cause them to miss possibly important information contained in the URL, and thus preventing you from getting the expected ranking.

With clean URLs, the search engines can distinguish folder names and can establish real links to keywords. Query string parameters seem to be an impediment in a search engine's attempt to perform the indexing. Many of the SEO professionals agree that dynamic (a.k.a. dirty) URLs are not very appealing to web spiders, while static URLs have greater visibility in their "eyes".

The other strong reason for URL rewriting would be the increase in usability for web users, and in maintainability for webmasters. Clean URLs are much easier to remember. A regular web surfer will find hard to remember a URL full of parameters, not to mention that they would be discouraged by the idea of typing, one character at a time, the entire URL. And they could also mistype it, and not get to where they wanted.

This is less prone to happen with clean URLs. They can help you create a more intuitive Web site altogether, making it easier for your visitors to anticipate where they could find the information they need.

Webmasters will find themselves that maintaining static URLs is a much easier task than with dynamic ones. Static URLs are more abstract, and thus more difficult to hack. The dynamic URLs are more transparent, allowing possible hackers to see the technology used to build them and thus facilitating attacks.

Also, given the length of dynamic URLs, it is possible for webmasters to make mistakes too during maintenance sessions, usually resulting in broken links. Not to mention that, when static URLs are used, should it be necessary to migrate a site from one programming language to another (e.g. from Perl to Java), the links to the site's pages will still remain valid. 

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