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Tips For Optimising Your URL

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Your website’s URL is not a throwaway detail; it is literally your address. It is how people – and search engines – are going to find you.  An incomprehensible, long string of letters, numbers, and special characters does nothing to enhance your place in the SERP, and it certainly keeps visitors from accessing your site directly.  A good URL helps you achieve greater visibility and credibility; at a glance, users and search engines can determine what your site is about.  Look over these tips for optimising your URL and make sure it is working as effectively as it should be for your site.

Static or Dynamic? We always want to be dynamic – but not this time!  A dynamic URL is generated as a result of a specific query to a website.  So, a dynamic URL would look something like this one from WebConfs.com:

http://www.somesites.com/forums/thread.php?threadid=12345&sort=date

There are a few problems with this. One, people won’t enter this into an address bar. There’s no way.  Two, search engines do not like dynamic URLs.  They much prefer static URLs, which stay the same, such as:

http://www.somesites.com/forums/the-challenges-of-dynamic-urls.htm

Short and Sweet. If you can, it is best to keep your URL as short as possible as well, removing unnecessary words and characters.  Some URLs, for instance, add extraneous characters that, if removed, have no consequence whatsoever. Users will still go to the same content.  If they do, why not shorten it and make it easier for everyone.

Another tip: when possible, use words in place of numbers.

Keywords. And there’s a third problem: there is no keyword optimisation in the first example.  Not only do visitors have no idea what the site is about, search engines do not index it optimally.  Having a targeted keyword in your URL can be very helpful in helping your site rank higher.  It is helpful to make sure that your keyword is near the beginning of the URL.  That being said, never overdo it and keyword stuff.

Provide a 301 Redirect. If you need to change your URL, provide visitors and search engines with an alternative route.  It indicates to Google or another engine that the page has moved permanently (to your sweet new URL). Users are directed there, and you will maintain any traffic you had to the previous URL.

Taking the time to apply SEO principles to your URL will greatly add to the efficacy of your efforts.  Anything that provides users and engines with information they need and promotes clarity is worth investing time and energy in.

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