URL is an address of the page on the Internet. For example, www.example.com/c1&p62.php is an URL. Now, try to imagine, where does it lead?
Doesn’t give much to work with, doesn’t it? Actually, it makes absolutely no sense to anyone, who is not familiar with the website http://www.example.com.
Let’s try another one. Here, www.example.com/blog/summer-vacation-joey-is-an-asshole. Now, you can see that the URL leads to a blog that talks about summer vacation, and the owner of the blog doesn’t like someone named Joey.
That was semantic URL in a nutshell. Semantic URLs are the ones, that explain their destination before you even click them. And here’s why you should use them on your website.
It increases your ranking in search engines
Google, Bing, Yandex and the rest of them are using keywords in their search patterns. Every website owner must know this. But they look for those keywords not only in the text of the page, but also in its URL.
This means that semantic URLs have an advantage — exactly because they explain their context in their address. Thus, if your semantic URL corresponds with the title, you’ll use keywords once more without losing any integrity of the text. And that can go a long way.
It makes your website more logical
An ordinary user may not notice it, but personally, I prefer websites that have a clear hierarchy structure in their URLs. For example, www.example.com/blog/lake-trip/I-caught-a-fish. This link:
- Lets me know what the page is going to be about
- Tells me that there’s more stories about the lake-trip — after all, it has a whole category dedicated to it!
- Allows me to quickly access this category, by cutting the last part of the URL and simply going to http://www.example.com/blog/lake-trip.
Same way with e-commerce websites. For example, http://example.com/phones/samsung/s7-edge/black tells me everything I need to know about the product located on the page, and I haven’t even opened it yet! I can also go back and review what other Samsung phones they have on stock just by removing several characters out of the URL.
It makes links easy to remember
You can quickly reference a semantic URL from memory. But good luck remembering how a non-semantic one goes!
How to make semantic URLs
To be honest, you can make them however you want. But here are a couple of tips:How to make semantic URLs
- No Unicode. Latin letters only, with dashes (-) instead of spaces. No special symbols, no symbols from other languages — only plain Latin letters and dashes.
- Planning. Lots and lots of planning. Plan out the hierarchy of your site (bonus points if it also reflects the hierarchy of your menus), the naming conventions etc. You’d better not change any of this later on, so plan carefully. Having to pre-plan everything is also the only major downside to the whole ordeal.
- Don’t make it too long. Google recommends not to have more than five words in the title of the page. As for the overall length of the URL — try to keep it lower than 100 characters, including the domain.
- Media. Write similar semantic names for your mediacontent. For example, pictures on your websites should have names like Thames-at-night.jpg, not 1354AsDf.jpg. Also, do not forget to correctly fill the <alt> tags when you post images. This will attract people who are searching for it, using Google.Images and other similar services.
Now, go wild! Just make sure your CMS supports it first. Despite enormous popularity of this practice, there still are some frameworks that haven’t granted their users ways to choose an URL for a specific page. So while you are at it — maybe you should pick a better CMS too?