Thursday, March 12, 2009

How To Create Google Friendly URLs

When you're trying to drive traffic to your web site, it's a good idea to make it easy for Google to figure out what your site is all about. Now Google is already very good at doing this, but it doesn't hurt if you give it a little bit of help. One very easy way to do this is to give your pages appropriate URLs.

In the past, many web designers have been fairly unimaginative when naming their web pages. You'll often find pages with the following names:


Those are good page names for a web designer because they're descriptive of the page content and they help the designer easily find the file s/he is looking for when edit the content of your site. The problem, however, is that these names are generic and they don't really tell Google too much about the actual type of content in your web site. What do I mean by this? Well, have a look at these page names:


Do you see the difference? When you see these page names you know what they're about, but you also have an idea of what sort of site you're dealing with.

a) a web developer who specializes in Perl (great choice!)
b) a flower shop in Toronto, Ontario
c) a musician's bio for "Vile Richard"
d) recording studio in Toronto, Ontario

If you can glean this sort of information just by looking at a page name, you know that Google can do the same. The key is to find a few keywords which you'd like to focus on when driving traffic to your site. Then, use these keywords when naming your pages. Take care not to stuff your page names with so many keywords that you've actually obscured the meaning of the title, but be creative.

The format you choose to use is up to you, but I personally prefer to keep everything in lower case, using dashes ("-") in place of spaces or punctuation. Google will be able to strip the dashes out of your page names and make sense out of the words. It will then take these words into consideration when ranking your site in importance for searches on these same words. So, if you choose your page names wisely, you may well drive extra traffic to your site with only a tiny bit of extra effort.

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