We’ve been talking a lot about SEO recently and how simple changes can impact your visibility to the search engines to generate you more website traffic. Last week, I talked about the importance of page titles, and today I want to talk about URLs.
If you’ve been to Amazon.com, you might have noticed that every product has a URL with the product name in it:
The URLs didn’t used to look like this, but they made a big point of creating human-readable URLs because of its impact on SEO.
Most photo websites have crappy URLs. Here’s one (I’ve mercifully cut out the domain):
Photo websites have a perennial problem in that Google can’t “see” your photos. There’s no image recognition software that can scan a photo and determine what’s going on. Therefore, more than other websites, photography websites need lots of supporting meta data so that the major search engines have a chance of indexing the content.
URLs, like page titles, are very helpful in that regard. Here’s a PhotoShelter URL. Take a guess what the gallery contains without clicking on it:
PhotoShelter automatically takes the name of the gallery and makes it a part of the URL. Like most blogging software, we use a dash “-” character to replace spaces because according to most SEO experts, this is the preferred format. So it saves you time while giving you an SEO boost.
Many Flash-based websites have self-contained Flash “movies” that don’t change the URL at all. Not only is this problematic from an SEO point of view, it also makes it impossible for a user to say “I like this photo, here’s the URL.”
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:
Your website design isn’t just for people who visit it. The
fundamental construction of the website can help attract visitors even
if they don’t know who you are.
So when you’re evaluating options for constructing your website, make sure that you look beyond the exterior, and dig into the things that will actually drive more eyeballs to your work.