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Search Engine Friendly URL’s

There is a lot of money to be made on the Internet. We have ads from Google, Yahoo and now MSN. We could make millions, no billions, if our websites make it to the top results in Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines. But there are more pages and content than there are ants in the entire universe :) (including alien ants :P hehe!). Some evil SEO’s do dirty tricks to get to the top search results — they make a lot of money but there are risks. I remember a couple months back a big car company got banned from Google for illegal practices to get to the top search results.

Over the years, search engines like Google have developed algorithms to prevent unwanted content from search results and at the same time displaying the most “relevant” results from the query. Every now and then Google changes it’s algorithm. It is like a cat and mouse game between Google and unethical Search Engine Optimizers (SEO).

A few years back, nobody in a normal state of mind would mind a question mark in the URL. Now, everyone wants search-engine-friendly url’s for the sake of getting indexed by the popular search engines. Robots from search engines stop when they encounter a question mark in the URL (something like: http://www.mysite.com/page.php?article_id=69).  That means that the rest of the dynamic content won’t get index. In my own opinion, if the URL gets hard for humans to read and remember, then robots from search engines will not crawl them.
But if the URL was something like: http://www.mysite.com/page/This_Article.php — search engines would want to scroll the rest of the content since there is no question mark in the URL and it is easier to read and remember.

So most Content Management Systems (CMS) now have search engine friendly URL’s built-in. Joomla, Xoops and WordPress to name a few, have URL’s like: http://www.ekini.com/blog/simple-forcetype-example-for-search-engine-friendly-urls/ . So if you are looking for a good CMS, make sure that it has search engine friendly URLs. It would suck if you have hundreds of articles in your CMS and it does not get indexed by Google.

How do SEO Friendly URLs work?
A majority of websites today are served by Apache. If I remember well, I think more than 50% of all the websites in the world are running on Apache. Apache has some niffty features when handling URLs.

I have made a very simple tutorial on how to make your URLs SEO-friendly using Apache’s ForceType directive. Click here to view the tutorial.

I am not an SEO, nor I am an expert at this field. I am merely stating the bits and pieces of facts that I have read a few months back. :D Comments are welcome as I still have a lot to learn.

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