“A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you’re searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.”
This is the opening of an article titled, “Keep a simple URL structure” on Google’s Webmaster Tools. There are many suggestions in the article on how to simplify the URLs on your site, and if you are not following the search engine’s suggestions, you are missing some obvious SEO strategies. But I want to talk about a phrase in that paragraph:
constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans
Does that sound like Spock? I thought so, too. The character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek is famous for exemplifying the odd balance between “logic” and “human” in an identifiable manner. And your URL should have that same kind of balance.
Two Types of URL Readers
Who looks at that URL? Computers do. The various search engines utilize the URL to navigate your site and use algorithm logic to determine what is valuable and what is not. This helps the robot rank you on the search page results.
But humans look at URLs, too. That human may be glancing at it to decide if it’s worth the click. A human who is in charge of carefully putting together your site or looking at your links in an audit is looking at that URL much more carefully. Humans will do a lot better with a simpler URL that has recognizable words to identify the content of the page.
Search Engine Optimization ideally acts a lot like Spock, balancing “logic” and “human” to get the maximum effect for your website.