What is a URL?
A URL (abbreviation for uniform resource locator) is a precise address for a file or folder located either online or on your computer. A website on The Internet can contain many URL's, all of which link to a separate page of the site.
A URL on The Internet typically consists of a domain name followed by either the title of the page or the number of the page. For example:
http://www.freestart.com/contact.php - this URL indicates that you will be taken to the contact page of the Freestart website.
http://support.freestart.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=147 - this URL indicates that you will be taken to article or page number 147 of the support .
The two URL's in the examples above are significantly different types of URL. Dont worry if you dont notice the differences as the next section of this article will explain these differences in more detail.
What are Search Engine Friendly URL's?
A search engine friendly URL is bassically a specific URL that tells you exactly what you are expected to see when you visit the page. We briefly mentioned http://www.freestart.com/contact.php before, which will take you to the Freestart contact page when you visit the address.
Whilst this is quite obvious from looking at the address, the wording of "contact" at the end of the address generally indicates the title or subject of the page and what to expect upon visiting it. If you were to click on this link, you will have access to the company's general contact information so you can get in touch with Freestart.
This type of URL is what we call a search engine friendly URL. Having specific words or subjects in the URL does make it easier for the search engines to generate the information you want to reach.
The image above demonstrates what happens when we search Google for the words "freestart contact". As you can see, the highlighted result in Google has brought up the same contact page from our example before (you can identify this from the line of green text in the results).
What about the other example?
The address for our knowledgebase article is an example of a "not so friendly" search engine URL:
If you look at this URL, you generally dont know what you are going to get until you actually visit the page (only then will you realise that the article is a guide on logging into the control panel). This will make it harder for search engines to index the page.
Note - the support section of freestart.com is actually a mini website within our main website. Because the support section contains its own search facility to allow you to locate the help you need, we dont need to worry about the individual articles not displaying within search engines.
At Freestart, we realise that our customers will benefit from having flexibility of controlling URL's for search engine friendliness.
We have created an easy to use site add-on allowing you to achieve this through the website control panel. For more information on getting this facility added to your existing Freestart website along with the costs involved in doing so, please feel free to place a support ticket by clicking here, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling our switchboard on 0844 774 7777.
If you have already have this fantastic add-on for your Freestart website, please click here for more information on how to use the facility with your own website.