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    friendly links

    Many of the technical elements of a site analyzed during an SEO audit overlap to some extent with the analysis of UX elements, and are verified from the same angles (hence the origin of the now-developing term SXO). This is due, among other things, to the fact that Google places great emphasis on ensuring that user-friendly sites appear in high positions in organic search results. One such element is the construction of url’s referred to as “friendly links”.

    What are friendly links?

    Friendly links, is a way of url construction, reflecting the structure of the site, while being the simplest possible record of it. Links considered friendly are primarily:

    • Short and readable
    • Do not contain numbers
    • Easy to remember
    • Do not contain special characters
    • Do not contain diacritical marks
    • Do not contain unnecessary words
    • Contain the most important keyword for a given subpage
    • Their individual words are separated by characters such as a dash or underscore
    • They do not contain dates
    • They are static (do not change dynamically)
    • They are adapted to the language version of the site (e.g., a site in English should have url addresses in English)

    How to check if the links on the site are friendly?

    Checking whether a site has friendly links is relatively easy, in most cases it is enough to look at the url addresses of the different types of content on the site, such as subpages of categories, product subcategories, or blog posts, for example. Very quickly we can visually determine whether the url addresses of a given site meet the above conditions.

    However, if we are dealing with a large website and we see that some addresses can be considered friendly and some not, in order to detect those worth working on we can use crawlers available on the market, such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider, for example. The crawler scans the entire content of the site, presenting it to us in a coherent and orderly manner, so we can easily list all the addresses about which we have some doubts.

    Why use friendly links?

    Friendly links are worth using for two reasons. The first is, of course, the comfort of our website users. Friendly links are easy for users to remember and share further. In addition, links whose content clearly tells what they are about allow users to return to them more easily, for example, when they are looking for something in their browsing history.

    The second reason, of course, is to make it easier for Google’s robot to scan your site. Friendly links that meet Google’s guidelines and reflect the site’s structure allow the site to be indexed faster and more accurately.

    The second reason is to make the site easier for Google to scan.

    Does the use of friendly links affect a site’s positioning?

    Because friendly links directly help the search engine robot index a site, they also affect its positioning. This is a logical conclusion, since only addresses indexed by Google have a chance of being presented to users in response to their queries. In the case of sites where friendly links have been omitted, it is possible that the robot will skip some of the site’s internal urls, because, for example, it will consider them unrelated to the structure and treat them as orphan pages

    What are the negative consequences of not implementing friendly links on a website?

    The negative effects of not implementing friendly links on a website, in addition to, of course, possible problems with indexing and going further with positioning, we can also include difficulties in navigating the site by its users.

    Today, the construction of websites in terms of UX, is quite standardized, which means that users are used to a certain kind of scheme in which they navigate. The lack of use of friendly links can cause some consternation for the site user when, for example, wanting to return from a product sub-page to a category page, they simply delete the name of the product from the url and as a result, instead of then loading the sub-page one step higher in the structure, they receive, for example, a 404 error.

    Long complicated url addresses, containing huge numbers of parameters, are also not a good solution if you count on users to share them organically on social media, where the trend for many years has been to shorten addresses as much as possible (after all, special address “shorteners” like have been created).

    What steps should be taken if a website does not have friendly links?

    If an SEO audit of our website reveals that it does not have friendly URLs, it is a good idea to find out the reason for this in the first place. It could be a problem stemming from the naming of subpages or products, but it could be an error in the design of the category tree itself.

    Repairing links that are not friendly will therefore depend on the cause of this state of affairs. When we can detect the real reason and make a technical repair, we will be forced to make the newly created friendly addresses, not duplicate the previous existing ones. The solution to such a state of affairs can be either redirecting the old addresses to the new ones, or indicating with the “rel=canonical” attribute which addresses the search engine robot should take into account and which ones to simply ignore.

    When is it a good idea to start the topic of verification and optimization of friendly links?

    The easiest way, of course, is to create a new site taking into account the assumption of friendly links already at the stage of planning its structure, thus avoiding future corrections and unnecessary redirects.

    However, when dealing with a website that has been in existence for some time, friendly links will be an element verified during a UX audit or during an SEO audit before starting SEO activities. As a result of such audits, we will get information on what changes to make so that our site has friendly links.

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    Adrianna Napiórkowska
    Adrianna Napiórkowska

    She has 11 years of professional experience, she started her career at the Emarketing Experts agency as a junior SEO specialist. In addition to website positioning, she was responsible for conducting 360° marketing projects as an Account Manager at She worked for companies from the financial sector (Bank Millennium, Bank Meritum, Finai S.A.) and e-commerce (e.g. Black Red White, Autoland, Mumla). At Up&More, he is responsible for, among others, SEO projects for Panek Car Sharing, Amerigas, Interparking, H+H and Autoplaza.