Selecting Great URLs

If you are developing a website and require a new URL, or you need a vanity URL for a print publication, please fill out the URL Request Form. Once the URL has been approved, it will be submitted to the appropriate IT group for creation. Try to plan for a new URL before your project is completed. The entire request process generally takes two to three days.

The Good, the Bad, and the URLgly

Bad:

http://mobile.yahoo.com/onesearch;_ylt=AjpRL9DUfGFuHlra8WMMmjdWtQcJ

We can forgive the subdomain (“mobile” in the URL), but the rest of this URL doesn’t have any significance to your audience.

Good:

http://www.technorati.com/technology/gadgets/

This URL is clean, each folder (“technology” and “gadgets” in the URL) makes sense, and it gives us a pretty good idea of what we’ll find when we visit the page (technology gadgets).

Seven Guidelines for Creating Great URLs

  1. It should be obvious. If a user can look at your URL and make an accurate guess about the contents of your page, you’re on the right track.
  2. Use keywords when you can. Those golden keywords that you spent so much time researching for your content can be used in your URL. Name your folders accordingly, using the keywords where appropriate.
  3. Shorter is better. A short URL is easier to copy and paste, say, and write.
  4. Never use multiple subdomains. If you can, avoid using subdomains altogether as they can negatively influence your search engine rankings. Please contact the web team at cmshelp@mtu.edu if you are unsure if you are using a subdomain or if you have some questions about whether or not you should be using one.
  5. Avoid too many folders. A folder creates one more layer that search engines have to crawl through—omit unnecessary folders from your site structure.
  6. Don’t use uppercase characters. Keep your URLs simple and concise by always using lowercase text.
  7. Don’t use any symbols. Search engines treat dynamic and static URLs differently, so keep yours static—that means no random characters. “?^&” means nothing to your user. If your website is in the CMS, then you have nothing to worry about—all CMS URLs are static.