Let's say you're sharing a blog post from your website, or a microsite for a new contest. Your first thought is probably, "How can I make sure as many people as possible click on this link?" Your next thought is probably, "Let's use classic search engine optimization rules and include attention-grabbing keywords that will make the content show up at the top of Google search results."
BuzzFeed, which knows a thing or two about getting clicks, says that is not, in fact, the way to attract an audience. The digital publication lets its writers and editors create "social URLs" that can be quirky and fun, as opposed to highlighting SEO keywords, according to an article on Digiday.
For instance, the URL for a BuzzFeed story called "This Boston Marathon Survivor Wrote a Breakup Letter to Her Leg Before Amputating It" is www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/adios-leg. And the URL for the story titled "These Positive Doodles Are Utterly Delightful" is www.buzzfeed.com/maggyvaneijk/your-emotions-are-valid.
BuzzFeed's editorial director, Jack Shepherd, thinks these creative URLs act as a bit of an Easter egg, adding something fun for the readers to discover. And that extra something, he says, often makes a reader more likely to share the link.
"Our editors are not encouraged to think about search," Shepherd told Digiday. "If you get too focused on search, you end up writing a headline for a robot. The bottom line for us is sharing and creating something that's engaging enough."
While Shepherd admits that BuzzFeed may be missing out on Google placement, he is willing to trade that to get more people to share a link on social media.
Nowadays people are accessing more and more of their content and news via social media as opposed to Google, so when you are trying to reach a larger audience, you may want to consider shareability over SEO in a URL. Granted, not all company websites are BuzzFeed, but the concept is something to consider when crafting your next link.