Getting your URLs right

As we know, one of the many things which search engines try to do is to mimic the inclinations of real users. Oddly enough, as real users we’re quite influenced by the URLs (page addresses) of web pages. We like short, clear URLs, such as “bluewidgetcompany.co.uk/stuff”. We don’t like long ones – which often get cut off at the end – or those with loads of incomprehensible code in them. Tests prove we’re much more likely to click on the first example. This applies particularly in search engines, as they show the URL in every result. Even if it’s subconscious, we do take that green link into account when choosing which result to click on next.

So getting your URLs right is actually quite important in SEO. If you take a look at a list of the URLs on your website, you might spot whole sections where things aren’t as simple as they could be.

There are various recommendations from experts, such as keeping URLs below about 60 characters, separating words with hyphens, and having just one or two keywords. But the acid test to me is: can you look at the URL – as a human – and see what the page is about? If so, you’ve probably got it right. If your URLs need careful study to work out what the page is about, you need to get them fixed. It should be possible.