Human Friendly URLs – good for SEO, good for users

When creating pages for your website (either a brand new website, a redesign, or just adding new pages), most people rely on their web master or web development company (or marketing manager, department head, or communications director) to decide what to call each page of the site. Or worse, they are using some numerical or database driven system.

For example, this page for one of our local Vermont power companies: http://www.velco.com/Templates/default.asp?pageId=3

If I emailed you this page, you would have no idea what this page is about.

So how do you think search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN are supposed to be able to figure out what this page is all about? What the search engines will do is look at the page content, titles, headings, and META structure. However, why not help out not only the search engines but your website users by giving page names meaningful titles that also contain your keywords.

For example, this page from one of our SEO redesign customers with headquarters in Brattleboro Vermont.

http://www.partnershipvolunteers.org/volunteer-in-brazil/

Not only can the search engines determine what this page is about, but if I got this URL emailed to me by a friend, i would have a pretty good idea what this site and page are all about.

Volunteers in Partnership offers programs for people, mostly students, to live abroad for weeks or months at a time and do volunteer work. This page is obviously about their program for volunteering in Brazil. And while a URL can’t necessarily give you all the information about a page, the difference between these 2 examples is staggering.

As part of our search engine optimization and website development process at Vermont Design Works, before we even get to design, we put a project plan together that organizes the page titles, URLs and page names, and structure so that we can then build a keyword optimized website at the beginning.

Thinking about what you name each of your web pages with an emphasis on keyword optimization is critical when having a new website built or even doing a redesign of an existing website (or just adding new pages). A little effort as you create each page will pay dividends down the road with your rankings in the the search engines and the ease of use by your site visitors.

One thought on “Human Friendly URLs – good for SEO, good for users

You hit right on the nose. Structuring a website around search engine marketing is the way to go. You’ll have a better optimized site for the search engines.

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