There are several factors that make up a great URL. Yesterday clients on our current platform received an email from Brent talking about good URLs. I thought I would copy some of the content here in a blog post for the general public.
What makes a good URL?
First, they should be readable and informative. This means that the URL should suggest the page you’re about to land on. For example, the URL for a Vin65's blog is http://blog.vin65.com so you know simply from looking at the URL it's going to take you to the Vin | 65 Blog page.
Second, your URLs should be harmonious. This means that visitor should be able to guess what a page on your website might be from seeing other pages. For example, if you were searching on the site Pine Wines site for different wines, you should be able to guess from this Red Wine URL, http://www.pinewines.com/Wine/Red-Wine, that the White Wine page would have “White-Wines” instead of “Red-Wines.”
Finally, don’t keep changing your URLs. It’s possible that websites, visitors and search engines have recorded and indexed your link or have pages linking to you site. You don’t want to have potential clients wanting to search your site have an error message because the link is no longer active.
Why a good URL matters?
There are a number of reasons why a good URL matters. Some of them are aluded to above.
First a good URL creates a better user experience. Just read through the examples above, and you can see how a URL of http://www.pinewines.com/Wine/Red-Wine is a better URL than www.pinewines.com/index.cfm?method=pages.showpage&pageid=e56d3f37-1e0b-4e34-f02f-9956542aff8d (both URLs point to the exact same page). Users bookmark URLs, they link URLs, they email URLs to friends, etc.
Second, URLs do matter to Search Engines. The URL is one of the 10 ten factors Google uses in determining your search engine rank. You can 'stuff' keywords, (such as Wine, Red Wine, etc) into your URL and affect your search engine rank.
Finally, a good URL makes your statistics readable. If you are monitoring your traffic on Google Analytics or another statistics program (and you should be monitoring your traffic), it's way easier to tell which pages visitors are looking if you have a nice marketing URL (such as /Wines/Red-Wines/) rather than looking at a database driven URL (such as /index.cfm?method=pages.showpage&pageid=e56d3f37-1e0b-4e34-f02f-9956542aff8d)
Clients using our current platform got an upgrade this past weekend. If they leave the 'marketing URL' field blank, our admin panel automatically suggests a URL for them. Brent also put together a nice video on how to edit URLs. (If your on our current platform, it's in the help documentation).