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Benefits of URL Rewriting in Website Development

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Most website development companies go absolutely crazy while searching the perfect domain name for the clients. But what they completely miss out in this venture is the importance of the URL. URLs should be relevant, readable, professional and most importantly easy-to-spell. To make your URLs more search-friendly, you can apply a technique called URL rewriting. It improves the usability of the pages as it fills the URL with friendly keywords without changing the structure of the pages. Interesting? Let’s see what it is and how it can boost business.

URL rewriting is quite a common technique in web development. By using variables in the URLs most dynamic sites actually tell the search engine what kind of information they want to show to the users. When you create a page, there is a resource. With this technique you can actually separate the resource from the URL. In practice it may seem impossible, to make the resource and the URL completely independent of each other. In theory, however both the things are separated which means you can change the keywords in the URL, without affecting the content of the page.

The next question that arises is why we need to go for URL rewriting. The URLs of any business should be such so that they are memorable and not undecipherable. If you have an URL like ‘http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/nav.jsp?action, the problem with this URL is that it is not clean, nor can you explain it to someone else. With such an URL of a webpage, no search engine or users can get any information. It does not tell you whether the product is a parrot or a burger. So, the URL has to be shorter and definitely cleaner. In order to tell the search engine, you will have to write http://www.burgerjoint.com/philadelphia-us/, so that it tells the users what they are selling. Now even if the URL is taken out of context, the users can still understand what they expect to find on the webpage. Even search engines, when they are picking up the URL can split it into words and can actually determine what the page is talking about.

Ecommerce development has taken leaps and bounds over the past few years making it possible to include innovative ideas like URL rewriting to increase the flow of traffic in business. This technique can be used like a helping hand which translates search-engine friendly URLs into actual URLs with the least hazard. There is no renaming of the site involved; neither do you have to move the files. Companies like iBrandox who have been involved in website development for a long time, find it as an effective means to increase the ranking of the site in search engines.

Most URL rewriting modules are included in the software which helps the server to run. If not, hosts will be able to install or enable relevant modules to make them work. This is precisely what iBrandox suggests for websites which may not have the dynamic requisites. Apache is probably the best solution to run the URL rewriting. The best thing about Apache is that it comes equipped with built-in URL rewriting module and mod_rewrite. If you are using IIS, the server software of Microsoft, you should know that it does not include URL rewriting; however with add-ons you can include this functionality.

Many feel that URL rewriting is like having cosmetic operations on the site. It has been proved that search engines are mostly comfortable with URLs that do not have long query strings. With clean URLs, the search engines can detect the folder names and can easily establish the real links to each keyword. In fact with query strings attached to your URLs, the search engines can find it quite difficult to perform indexing. A clean URL is also good for a regular web surfer. If you ask iBrandox, they will tell you a URL full of parameters can be a major turn-off. Most surfers are not only discouraged by the idea of typing the long URL with complex characters, there are chances that the URL might be mistyped.

In fact, in a recent announcement, Google has just updated the guidelines about rewriting URLs. Previously, they had discarded ‘&id=" as a parameter in your URLs’, as they did not include the pages in the index. But now they will include the URLs with these parameters. In fact they have also explained the difference between a static and dynamic URL in a recent post. After the announcement, most webmasters are relieved, but they are still of the opinion that rewriting dynamic URLs should be avoided, as due to a messy translation the indexing problems can still persist. In comparison, static URLs are clicked on more often, and they provide better anchor text, and if the CMS programmes are changed later with clean URLs it can easily mix with the new CMS system.

URL rewriting is actually a proven method to increase the rankings of the site in a search engine. It is quite effective and extremely useful. However, take a note of all the details before you use this technique in your site.