In Defense of Search Engine Friendly URLs

Earlier this week I was tagged by Barrie North over at

He was talking about SEO improvements to Joomla and mentioned that:

“You?ll see much of the discussion about SEO revolving around various SEF components. These components allow for advanced manipulation of URL?s and meta tags. Neither of these was identified as a major factor in … SEO analysis. Turn on the default Joomla SEF, but I am not sure there is much evidence that its very influential after that.”

Barrie pointed to a long discussion we had about SEF URLs in the comments section at the end of our final Joomla URL Week post. I guess I’d better defend my viewpoint 😉 …..

Five Reasons Why SEF URLs Do Help You Rank Well

1) Search engines analyze your URLs for keywords

Search for keywords in Google and they’ll be highlighted whether they appear in the page title, description, domain or … the URL.

2) Experts agree that keyword-rich URLs matter

Barrie mentions the SEOMoz study where experts were polled on the most important factors in ranking well. Coming in at number #6 … “Keyword Use in Page URL”

3) SEF URLs avoid duplicate content issues

As with the regular URLs, Itemids are not hidden, making it possible to have an infinite number of URLs pointing to the same content. This is a nightmare when it comes to duplicate content. As an example I’ll use our recent news item about a Joomla User Group in Atlanta:

4) Default Joomla SEF URLs are really, really common

Lets do a quick Google search to find out how common some of these URLs are:

Barrie’s right to call them Human Readable URLs

He says he coined the term because:

“easily readable and memorable URL’s like are much more important for humans than they are search engines.”

Basically I’d call this Search Engine Marketing. People are more likely to click through if they see that readable URLs in search results. They’re also more likely to link to link to you. And finally, they can use Human Readable URLs as a pathway to understand where they are on your site.

Search Engine Marketing = Search Engine Optimization. What’s good for one is good for the other.

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