Category Archive for: ‘SEO’

Human-Readable Page URLs

As part of the new implementation of Ingeniux CMS, the URLs for the redesigned website will change from numeric-based URLs with a .xml extension to structured or human-readable URLs.

So for example, the link for the student life page will change from http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x383.xml to http://www.davidson.edu/student-life.

The benefits of this change are better search engine optimization (SEO) and findability since the URL carries the name of the page (and keywords) in its Web address. It’s also easier for site visitors to identify where a page falls within the site’s information architecture, something that isn’t readily apparent with a numeric address like x383.xml.

To further simplify URLs, Ingeniux allows us to drop the .xml, .html, or .htm extension from the page name. Instead of seeing something like http://www.davidson.edu/student-life.htm or http://www.davidson.edu/student-life/index.html, you will just see http://www.davidson.edu/student-life.

It’s also easier to read a Web address that includes hyphens as separators instead of underscores, especially when including URLs in print, e-mails, or within Web pages. If URLs appear as underlined text, which is common styling by default in Microsoft Word and Web pages, the underscores are often harder to read. Lastly, people generally find it easier to type hyphens than they do finding the underscore key on a keyboard.

Another factor is that Google currently treats underscores and hyphens differently in it’s search algorithm.  Google joins the words in a URL when underscores are used, while hyphens or dashes are seen as separators. Based on our research, Bing does not make the same distinction.

Underscores vs. Hyphens

Example 1: www.davidson.edu/research_opportunities.html
Example 2: www.davidson.edu/research-opportunities.html

How Google Reads These URLs

Example 1: researchopportunities
Example 2: research opportunities

Resources