How to Make your URLs SEO Friendly

21 September

How to Make your URLs SEO Friendly

It’s common knowledge these days that a site without SEO is a site most often not found within the SERPs. There are quite easy minor “cosmetic” changes that you can do to your site to improve it’s ranking within the search engines. One option that some consider difficult and time-consuming, but quite effective in the long run, is URL rewriting.

There are two reasons for rewriting your URLs. The first is related to Search Engine Optimization. Search Engines are much more at ease with URLs that do not contain long query strings. Clean URLs, allow search engines to differentiate folder names and can also create real links to keywords. Query strings appended to URLs are often considered hindrances when a search engine attempts to index.

Another reason to rewrite your sites URLs is to increase usability to your site’s end users and ease of maintenance for your webmaster. Clean URLs are much easier to remember, rather than URLs that contain a bunch of parameters and characters.

The code of URL rewriting is actually setting a “system” on the host server that will allow it (i.e. the server) to know how to understand the new URL format. When deciding to rewrite the URLs of your site, you will actually mask the dynamic URLs with static ones. So you will be replacing URLs that contain query strings with elements such as “?”, “+”, “&”, “$”, “=”, or “%” will contain the more search engine friendly “/” (slash) element and present themselves in a basic form.
There are some free online/open source tools available to aid in this endeavor.

Free online URL rewriting - http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/url-rewriting/
Open Source URL Rewriter for .NET / IIS / ASP.NET - http://www.urlrewriter.net/
Mod_rewrite - http://httpd.apache.org/docs/1.3/mod/mod_rewrite.html

URL Examples:
Dynamic URL: http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/gen.pl?id=3&view=basic (before rewriting)
Static URL: http://www.example.com/3/basic.html (after rewriting)

TAGS: SEO, General