In the pre-computer age when you wanted to go somewhere, you got directions, you know from a map! You had a state, city and street address and then you consulted your trusty loyal friends Rand and McNally! In my family, it was my Dad who could give you directions, on a cocktail napkin, to anywhere in the USA by route, exit and truck stop. It is a lost art form. These days we have Google! Not only does the maps function work well but a polite British woman tells you where to go, then reroutes you and takes you the longest way possible.

On the internet, there is a web address to go to and that opens the world to whatever you are searching for. The address of each web page is called a URL, no it’s not an acronym for U Are Lost. It stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Each page has its own unique web address (URL). This is how your computer locates the web page that you are trying to find.

When you want to be found though, it is important to name your URL like you speak…clearly.  Much like when you upload a photo to your website you name it what the photo represents (aka 2011 Red Ford Mustang) and not the default number/name that your camera gave it (DCMIMAGE10.jpg).

Here are 4 rules that will make for better SEO and help people find you when they are searching.

1. Take out the extra words that add little or no meaning to the URL, like “and” or “that,” etc.

2. Include relevant keywords.
One way that search engines and humans learn about your page content is through the keywords in the URL. Include keywords in your URL slug, but be sure they align with the actual page content.

3. Make it reader-friendly.
Both search engines and readers should be able to look at your URL and understand what they might find should they click to the other side. That means when you add a bunch of keywords and delete those little extraneous words, you should end up with a URL that still makes sense.

4. Separate words with hyphens.
Don’t use underscores to separate words or try to squish a bunch of words together. The hyphens are meant to help with readability. Use them.

Optimizing URL slugs is not a very hard thing to do. But if you ask me, it is one of the most important things you can do in your on-site optimization process.