Static URLs may not be necessary for SEO, but they're definitely more user friendly than dynamic URLs.

I’ve had a lot of clients ask me if their blogs – and their sites, in general – should have static or dynamic URLs. In this month’s Third Thursday Tip video, I share the answer I generally give them: Static is better for the user, and you can encourage more clicks by making it clear what a web page is about directly in the URL. While dynamic URLs are not bad for SEO, there are also some search-friendly benefits of static ones. Check out the full video for a look (literally) at the difference between the two.

Video Transcript:

I’ve had a lot of clients ask me if their blogs – and their sites, in general – should have static or dynamic URLs. There seems to be resistance to changing a site to static URLs unless there’s solid SEO evidence that proves it’s worth a developers’ time. I always like to highlight the user friendliness of static URLs, and I think it’s also valid to consider that user experience plays a really important role in SEO.

First, let’s take a look at dynamic versus static URLs.

Dynamic URLs have dynamic or changing information that display according to specific queries. The page acts almost as a template, and the dynamic part of the URL displays a string from the database that correlates with the content.

Static URLs, on the other hand, don’t change. They can be manually created or automatically generated based on a page’s headline.

An important SEO benefit of static URLs over dynamic URLs is that give more prominence to your keywords. When created properly, they naturally show a page’s relevance to queries, putting forward relevant keywords that tell search crawlers (and users!) what your site is about.

Of course, Google has repeatedly said that it can crawl dynamic URLs. From its webmaster central blog, it says:

“The decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking.”

But Google also says:

“Static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the URLs.”

It’s easy to see that static URLs are more user-friendly. They make it clear what a page is about, giving a preview of what readers are in for. They’re also more sharing-friendly, easier to copy and paste.

Regardless of whether search engines can crawl dynamic URLs, Google always wants to work toward providing the best user experience – and static URLs are hands down better for users. If you still have doubts about the value of switching to static URLs, run keyword searches for some of the phrases you target through content marketing. Analyze the top results. How many of them are static URLs? How many are dynamic?

We generally find the results speak for themselves.

Madeleine Warren is a Content Marketing Strategist with Brafton. Prior to joining Brafton in May 2012, Madeleine worked in product marketing and spent two years teaching English at an international school in China. She is a Tulane University graduate and a content marketing/SEO enthusiast.