The Power of Search Engine Friendly URLs
I recently invested quite some time into generating search engine friendly URLs for several of my websites to increase my ranking and to have more pages indexed. I can highly recommend to look into this if your own website does not have se-friendly URLs. Especially Google (the most important search engine nowadays) can be very picky in regards to URLs that are not se-friendly.
Example (the 2 URLs below bring you to exactly the same page):
http://www.beefkabobs.com/ShowCategory.php?CategoryID=13 -> this URL is not se-friendly and search engines will eventually ignore any page behind it or rank it much lower in search results. Visitors will have difficulties to remember this URL. These kind of URLs often come from dynamic database driven websites. Each page is dynamically created when requested. Look at the forums URL this moment, too. It is dynamically created and not very friendly to search engines or the visitor. You get the idea.
http://www.beefkabobs.com/kabob-recipe-category-13.html -> this URL is se-friendly and search engines will spider the page behind it easily. It is keyword enriched to increase search engine ranking. Overall – this URL is easy to be spidered and easy to remember by a visitor.
For one of my own sites I was able to increase the number of pages indexed from 36 to over 150 pages – just by making the URLs search engine friendly. The additional pages were ignored by the search engines because they could not read the URLs properly. The domain used in my example went from 20 pages to 80 within 2 weeks and should go to over 120 pages indexed (by Google) with the next Google update.
How do you make your URLs search engine friendly?
Your web host/web server needs to support the Apache Web Server module "mod_rewrite". This module allows to rewrite URLs a certain way. By using a ".htaccess" file you can give the web server the necessary commands to work with se-friendly URLs.
How does this now really works?
In general – you are faking the nice clean looking URLs and fool search engines and visitors to believe that the URLs of your website are se-friendly.
SE-friendly URLs work in 2 steps. 1) Your site needs to display the se-friendly URLs. 2) mod_rewrite and htaccess ‘translate’ the se-friendly URL and redirect the traffic to the ugly looking se-unfriendly URL in the background (invisible to anyone). You will need to setup the htaccess file with the command how you would like the URL to look like and what does it translate to (a certain ugly looking dynamic URL).
The code that generates the URLs dynamically needs to be adjusted to match the rules from your .htaccess file. You upload the code changes and the htaccess and off you go.
Can every website be modified?
Most websites with dynamic URLs can be modified if the server environment meets the requirements. Each website needs to be looked at separately to get the best results.
The learning curve on creating se-friendly URLs can be quite challenging. Spend the time and resources on creating se-friendly URLs. The results can be overwhelming.
About The Author
Christoph Puetz is a successful small business owner (Net Services USA LLC) and international author.
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