Friendly URL’s or SEOFURL’s are very common practice in many sites now and over the last two years we have seen many websites switching to SEOFURL’s.
What are SEOFURL’s?
A SEOFURL is where inner pages carry the name of the page rather than an ID number from the sites database. For example in WordPress a blogging platform a normal inner page would look like :
Where as a SEOFURL will use the name of the page :
In oscommerce a free to use shopping cart system by default URL’s use the product id in the URL.
Once SEOFURL’s are enabled the product name and id is used in the URL.
Why Use SEOFURL’s
The benefits is in in the name really, using the name of the page in the URL makes the page much more relevant than an unrelated ID number. The also a benefit to the user as the search engine will display the URL on the results page, studies show that users are much more likely to click on a SEOFURL than a URL with a random ID number. Ofter SEOFURL’s will also be shorter this can increase the likelihood of a natural external link.
* Higher Rankings
* More clicks from results page
* Increase link-a-bility
How to implement SEOFURL’s
If your using an off the shelf platform such as WordPress, ModX, Joomla many have the ability to “switch on” SEOFURL’s. As default installations won’t have SEOFURL’S installed but it will be either be built in or a feature of a plugin/contribution.
If you have a bespoke system SEOFURL’s can be implemented by re-write rules. On apache servers this is done in the htaccess file while one Microsoft severs this can be done in the config file. It’s a complicate process that will require expert help, for more information have a look at this link.
Redirects after changing to SEOFURL’s
This is very important and where many sites are going wrong. When moving from normal URL’s to SEOFURL’s you need to implement redirects from the old page to the new page. This is so the search engine’s are able to update their index finding the new pages in the site and transferring the history and Page Rank from the old page to the new page.
If redirects are not implemented then a duplication problem occurs. The search engine will have a record of the old page and then a record of the same page under a second URL. As the content is the same on both pages, one of the pages will be filtered out of the rankings as a duplicate. You also split the power of the page, the old URL will have the history and Page Rank score while the new URL will have internal links. By redirecting you combine the two creating a stronger page.
Here we can see the URL’s in this WordPress blog have been change with the new SEOFURL first and the old URL second. The 301 redirect from the old page to the new page redirects Google leaving only one URL for the page in the index.
XML Sitemap changing to SEOFURL’s
Similar to 301 redirect it’s essential that you update the XML sitemap to use the new URL’s. You also need to remove the old XML sitemap, it’s best just to upload over the old one. If you don’t Google will start to get confused as they use XML sitemaps as an indication of which URL to index when they have two URL’s.
How to find sites that haven’t added redirects after implementing SEOFURL’s
An easy find out if a site if has changed to SEOFURL’s and not implemented redirects you can search with content from a page. Take a paragraph of content from a inner page in the site and combine with a site command. For example.
site:domain.com the content goes here it needs to be from the body of the page and around two sentences.
Google will then return any pages in the site that contain that content. Often a message will be displayed to advise about duplicate results, you’ll need to click the link to see the duplicates.
Search Engine Friendly URl’s are really good move especially for bigger shopping and blog websites. They will return better rankings an traffic in the long term. It’s essential to implement redirects from the old URL to the new URL to transfer the power from the old page to the new and to avoid duplication.
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