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friendly URLs - and why you should care

8th July 2011

If you've been involved with specifying and creating web page content over the last few years, you should be aware of a trend towards so-called 'friendly' urls (url being an acronym for 'uniform resource locator' - the full contents of your browser address bar when you look at the page.  if you're looking at this page itself as a single article, its url should be http://oxford-web.co.uk/blog/friendly-urls).

What's a friendly URL?  It's best explained by what's not.

If you go to the bbc (an otherwise paragon of web virtue) a single news article should take you to a url like "http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/14077856".  Well, the newsbeat bit is OK, but the number at the end is far from friendly, in that:

  • It's difficult to remember
  • It looks ugly
  • It doesn't add to the relevance of the page for Google searches (although in the bbc's case it doesn't matter, since all their pages have such a high rank).

No, urls these days should look like they mean something, but even more friendly is a trend towards the "verb/noun" type url.

For example "www.spamco.co/says/hello" (not a real url) which indicates that it's a blog post or other message relating to "hello".

If you'd like to use a strategy like this with your website, please get in touch and see how we can help with this and more.


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