By Jared Serfozo

Blog

What Are Human-Readable URLs?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ever tried to email someone a URL that stretches into hundreds of characters? Not only is it annoying for you and that person, but it diminishes the chances of that person actually visiting the site. No one likes long URLs. In fact, people dislike long URLs so much there are hundreds of services whose sole purpose is to shorten URLs and make them legible and easier for people to understand.

The Internet was built to be bookmarked, and every URL was supposed to be designed as a unique marker for content providing the global address of a document or resource on the web. The first part of the address indicates what protocol to use, and the second part specifies the IP address or domain where the resource is located. If you’re not a tech savvy person, the long string of characters means nothing to you, which is why HURLs exist.

So what are HURLs? HURLs stands for Human-readable URLs, which takes the dynamic link and translates it to words humans can understand.

HURLs have a number of benefits including:

Easily Recognized Content. A URL should indicate what information the visitor is about to encounter, not confuse them with a string of characters that looks like this:

http://www.companyxyz.com/aejrdkfj746%dlfja/akldfjao&934827&934283.

Using HURLs, this domain, www.accrisoft.com/blog, indicates to visitors they will be directed toward Accrisoft’s blog. It’s also easier for people to remember, and therefore far more likely they will turn into a repeat visitor and recommend the link to others.

Search Engine Rankings. Although there are many factors that affect search engine rankings, many SEO professionals agree that a clean, simple URL with keywords can increase your rankings and cause search engines to place more weight on your content. One of the theories is that the Human-readable URLs have great visibility to spiders because they can establish real links to keywords. Another theory is that Google assigns weight, in part, based on the quality of the content and Google consider content referenced by a HURL to be of higher quality since it has a more user-friendly URL.

Social Widgets Tied to Web Page. Social widgets can engage your visitors and grow your audience by making it easy to share content via social platforms. You can embed a Facebook widget on your web page, and be redirected to facebook.com/yourcompanynamehere. Social widgets require a unique base URL (not a dynamic one) in order to tie the social traffic and status to the page.

Human-readable URLs allow you to turn your URLs into a communication tool, rather than a set of characters used to satisfy some technical constraint.

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