Importance of user-friendly URLs

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User friendly URLs are URLS which are easier to understand, interpret and remember by its audience. Let’s begin by looking at a user-unfriendly URL:
http://www.website.com/index.php?y=234&g=8urDuzxuddkie38Os0
Are you able to deduce what that specific page is about just by looking at the URL? If you see this on a poster at a football stadium, will you be able to remember it? If you write this URL down in a hurry, how likely are you to make a 'spelling mistake'. Did you notice that the last character is the number 0 while the third last is the letter O. Now take a look at the following URL:
http://www.website.com/sports/football
Isn't this URL easier to read, easier to remember and easier to write down without spelling mistakes. In addition, without visiting the website, you already have an idea of what this page is about.
Who is your Audience
Your audience is people and web-bots. Web-bots crawl the Internet looking for useful content. Google, Yahoo, and most search engines use web-bots to index the Internet. When you search using Google, Google prints out results from its database which contains indices and other information regarding the webpages its web-bots have visited.

Web-bots still use keywords to classify and index your website’s contents. One place that they pay special attention to is the URL. The first URL above has only one keyword while the second has 3. The varying combination of the 3 keywords make keyword strings such ‘football website’ and ‘sports website’. As you can see, most search engines would give preference to the cleaner URL. Clean URL’s are an essential element of SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the science/art of acquiring better hits on search engines.

Characteristics of a user-friendly URL
A user-friendly URL must be:

Short
All lowercase
Meaningful
Easy to spell unambiguously
Easy to remember
Shorter URLs are easier to remember. URLs are case-sensitive. ‘Friendly.html’ is not the same as ‘friendly.html’. Case changes are difficult to remember and all uppercase is generally considered rude on the Internet, since it is difficult to read. Meaningful things are easier to remember. Avoid using words with ambiguous spellings. For example, jewelry and jewellery and jewellry are three different spellings used on the Internet. Which one is yours? A URL should be easy to remember since the user cannot visit your website, if he doesn’t remember the address.
A successful website makes life simpler and easier for its users. It provides a service to its visitors. We surf the web in search of information. Information we need to answer a question, such as finding the good and affordable restaurant in the neighborhood of my hotel. The information we seek is very often buried somewhere among the billions of pages on the web. Our friends often help us by giving us addresses of interesting websites. Search engines make it easier for us to find the information we seek. Both our friends and search engines use URLs to a certain degree to transmit information to us. Clumsy URLs only make it more difficult for you to be found, remembered, and referred.

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