A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is an address that identifies a file on the internet. It is a human (and search engine) readable representation of an IP address.
Let's take a look at a URL and break it down into its different components:
1. http:// - this is the protocol used to format and send information on the internet. It stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.
2. passionforcreative - this is the domain, your identifier (address) on the internet.
3. .com - this is the top level domain (TLD). There are many different types of TLDs, representing countries (.ie, .co.uk) or organisations (.org, .biz)
4. /blog/ - represents a folder on the server in which web pages are stored.
5. better-search-engine-optimisation-tip-4/ - this is the page name. As you can see, the words are separated by hyphens making it easy to read.
The above URL is an example of a "search engine friendly" URL as it is easy to understand by the reader and a search engine. By looking at the URL you know that this is a blog post about SEO.
Here are some tips on how to make your URLs search engine friendly like the example above.
Content management systems like WordPress or Concrete5 have built-in features that allow you to edit a URL to be more user and search engine friendly. A CMS can allow you to create new URLS and set a format for all URLs on your page (pretty URLs).
Without pretty URLs, you could end up with an unreadable URL like the one below which is created by making a database request:
There are no keywords within this URL and it is hard to understand where it will bring you.
In one of Google's blog posts about URL Structure they note that you should use hyphens to separate words instead of underscores as crawlers do not recognise underscores as separators.
Shorter URLs are much easier to remember by the end user and a search engine. Shorter URLs are also less likely to be seen as 'keyword stuffing' by the search engine.
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T: + 353 (0) 51 580 969 E: email@example.com
VAT No: IE9651422N, Business No: 436293, Directors: Jill Hincks (UK), Dan Jensen.