URLs (page addresses) are an important part of your site’s structure. They indicate where you are on a site, and what information is contained on the page you’re looking at. URLs should be simple, specific to each page, and helpful to your visitors.
What is a URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and it’s defined as “the address of a specific file or address on the internet.” It’s the text that appears in the address bar for every page on every web site you visit. If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at the top of this page. The text should say https://petsitterseo.com/site-needs-simple-urls. That tells you both the name of the site (petsitterseo.com) as well as the page you’re on (site-needs-simple-urls). This is an example of a very simple yet specific URL; it not only tells you where you are, but what the page is about. That is the goal of every URL.
URLs have undergone many changes since they were created back in the early 90s. Back then (and until not long ago), many page titles contained numbers. That was great for site developers, but not for site visitors (or customers), who learned nothing from a page name that was a long string of numbers with no text. Most websites no longer use numbers, and here’s the reason why.
Examples of Bad and Good URLs
With my sincerest apologies to this company, if you followed this URL, what do you think the page would display? https://www.theirname.com/llb/shop/68165?feat=506593-GN3&page=trail-model-raincoat&csp=f
Not easy to read, is it? It lands you here:
Now, is that what you’d expect after reading that address? It’s certainly not what I’d expect, if I’d even bothered reading the whole thing. It gave me little or no idea what the page is about, and it didn’t make me want to find out. This is an example of a not-so-great URL.
I almost wish this company would look at the graphic further up on that page and use that as their URL, because it’s so simple yet unique. I wish they’d name page llbean.com/outdoor-jackets/jackets-coats/rain-hard-shell/trail-model-raincoat. While long, that would be easier for me to read and understand, and make me click to read more (I really do need a raincoat, you see!).
This brings me to the main reason websites now use easier-to-read URLs for their pages. When a customer searches on a specific term, many things are presented in the search results, including the page’s URL (which shown in green). The info contained there (hopefully with the customer’s keyword) helps them decide which result best suits their needs. In short, if the URL contains the words they’re searching for, they’re more inclined to click on it, right? Right! Let’s see this in action:
I searched on “women’s rain jackets” for two companies and got the following results. Notice that the results (and specifically the page URLs) on the top are more specific and easier to read than the ones on the bottom:
The listings on the top are good examples of page addresses (in green) that are very specific; the page addresses on the bottom are almost not worth reading because they’re confusing and yield you no information. Customers are more inclined to click on easy-to-understand information that relates to their search. That’s the goal. That’s your goal.
You should create page addresses (URLs) that are short, direct, and specific to your page content. If your page contains information about your service area, call the page yourdomain.com/Service-Area. If you have a page listing your reviews, call it yourdomain.com/Reviews. Try to name your pages as simply and directly as possible.
Keep in mind that 1. you can not have spaces in your URLs, and 2. you shouldn’t use “stop words.” Stop words are connectors and similar words that Google ignores when looking at your URLs. A list of them may be found here. Also, 3. URLs should be short. Try to keep the number of words to a bare minimum.
Pet sitting business websites need to work hard to attract attention. By using short, direct URLs for your pages, you’ll make it easier for new customers to see what you offer and make them more inclined to click on your page.
For more specifics on how to create URLs, check out this Moz article.