URL rewriting: definition and techniques for better referencing

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URL rewriting

on the theme Technical SEO 

URL rewriting is a widely used technique in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)which aims to optimise the indexing of web pages by search engines such as Google.

But what is URL rewriting? In this article, we will define this practice and explain its usefulness, as well as the methods used to strengthen your presence on the Web.

URL rewriting

What is URL rewriting?

URL rewriting involves changing the address of a web page to make it more understandable and easier for web users to remember.

A URL not only makes it easier for visitors to navigate the site, it is also better indexed by search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Bing.

Why use URL rewriting for SEO?

The main aim of URL rewriting is to improve the positioning of your website in the search results. This is because search engines attach a certain importance to URLs when ranking pages, and they prefer those with a clearly organised address to those with a complex or technically less explicit structure.

What's more, a well-constructed URL helps crawlers, the computer programmes responsible for scanning sites and indexing pages, to explore your website more efficiently. This also helps search algorithms to understand and rank your content.

Improving the user experience

This technique can also significantly improve user experience on your site. Internet users are often more inclined to click on a link whose URL is clear and understandable than on an address that is encrypted or complicated to read. What's more, a well-structured URL makes it easier for visitors to navigate and remember the content, which helps build their trust in your site.

How do I rewrite a URL?

URL rewriting is generally done using techniques such as .htaccess rewriting (for Apache web servers) or the use of content management plugins (CMS). Let's look at some of these methods:

URL rewriting with the .htaccess file

For sites hosted on Apache servers, URL rewriting can be performed easily by modifying the configuration file .htaccess located at the root of the site. With this solution, you can set up rewrite rules to automatically modify URLs when pages are accessed.

For example, to transform an address such as "www.exemple.com/index.php ?page=product&id=123" into a simpler URL such as "www.exemple.com/produit/123", you can use the following directive:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^product/([0-9]+)$ index.php ?page=product&id=$1 [L]

This rule means that all addresses starting with "/product/" followed by a number will be automatically rewritten to include the page parameter and the product identifier.

URL rewriting with a CMS

If your site is managed by a Content Management System (CMS) as WordPress, Joomla or DrupalThere are generally plugins or modules that make URL rewriting easier. These tools make it easy to configure the URL structures you want for your pages without having to manually edit the .htaccess file or modify the site's source code.

For example, in WordPress, you can activate the Permalinks functionality to customise the structure of the URLs of your posts and pages. Simply access the permalinks settings from the dashboard and choose the desired configuration.

Tips for rewriting a URL

To take full advantage of URL rewriting for SEO purposes, here are a few best practices to bear in mind:

  • Use key words relevant Remember to include in the URL the keywords that best describe the content of the page. These terms will help the search engines to quickly understand the subject of the article and thus promote its referencing.
  • Read the URL out loud If you are able to read and understand the URL easily, there is a good chance that Google or other search engines will also be able to understand it.
  • Avoid unnecessary numbers and special characters : Keep URLs simple and legible, without using numbers (except for identifiers) or incomprehensible symbols.
  • Maintain a coherent structure Adopt a logical organisation in the architecture of your URLs, particularly with regard to categories, sub-categories and pages. A good hierarchy facilitates navigation and indexing by the exploration robots.

In short, URL rewriting is an essential process for optimising your website and improving its visibility on search engines. Thanks to this simple but effective practice, you can offer your visitors an enriching experience while boosting your ranking in search results.

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