Friendly URLs

16 Feb 2018

Creating SEO friendly URLs for your website means making it user friendly and pretty, and influencing click-behavior. It’s more likely a user will click on a URL they can understand, than on one that makes them confused. Besides affecting click behavior, they also improve the anchor text link juice flow. The great thing is that SEO friendly URLs also have an impact on branding, because the domain and sub-domain included in your URL appears whenever your link is mentioned or embedded somewhere.

What are SEO friendly URLs?

Apart from the original URLs, the SEO friendly ones are see-through and user-friendly. Take a look at this example:

Original URL = site.com/page.php?category=3&product=26

Optimized URL = site.com/pizza/salami-pizza/

The importance of optimized URLs

Although URLs do not impact ranking on search engines, they can drastically influence click behavior.

For example:

http://www.example.com/products.php?item=canned-beans

As you’ve already seen, the original URL uses an item name rather than number/code, which is good enough, but everything after the “?” is part of the query string, which reduces the SEO effectiveness.

This can be easily and efficiently changed:

http://www.example.com/products/canned-beans

Do you see the difference?

You basically work with 3 main areas of the URL:

  1. Base Domain
  2. Page Name
  3. Item Name

Why is this of benefit?

Take a look at this Cheat Sheet, published by Dr. Peter J. Meyers:

 

As you can see such an URL provides benefits in multiple areas of SEO, because you can use keywords, for your brand-image, because you can include your name, and it increases visibility for visitors. The SEO friendly URLs put plainly where the link goes and what it has to offer, so a visitor when skimming through a social networking site, is more driven to click on it.

In the end, what you do is to basically prioritize and optimize the information included in the URL.

How to optimize your URLs

To change your URL, you’ll definitely have to do more than change a WordPress setting. But it is not that difficult.

First of all, make sure you will be using a feature called mod-rewrite and your server’s .htaccess file.

Step 1.

Check your database for duplicate content. Make sure that all category names and product names (domain and sub-domain) are unique.

Step 2.

Rewrite your URL.

Step 3.

Replace all references to the Original URL with the SEO friendly URL throughout your website.

Step 4.

Use mod_rewrite in your .htaccess file to parse out the elements of the URL. Like this:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteRule /(.*)/(.*)/$ page.php?category=$1&product=$2

the (.*) pulls the elements out and puts them in variables $1 and $2.

Step 5.

Update your code on the page.php file to get the data from the database via the category and product name instead of by ID (this is why the names must be unique). For example:

Before: “select * from database_table where categegory_id=’$category’ and product_id=’$product'”

After: “select * from database_table where categegory_name=’$category’ and product_name=’$product'”

So, this is how you optimize for SEO friendly URLs. Hope this will be helpful to you, and that people will be more driven to your site. It’s good for your SEO, but also remember to optimize your content and search for keywords.

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