“Smart” URLs are navigation tools

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"Adaptive Path examines good and bad URL schemes, suggesting Web addresses are "not just a handy way to address network resources. They’re also valuable communication tools." It’s an interesting counterpoint to an IBM article I pointed out 10 days ago, which proclaimed: "Only techie people glean information about the structure of a site by examining the words between all those forward slashes." I suppose the truth is somewhere in between — but if a feature helps at least a few people, why not include it?"

If only from a strict marketing perspective, I advocate practices such as predictable and legible URL schemes or RSS feeds to score good points with people that might not be numerous, but who are probably disproportionately influential. Maybe only 50 people will subscribe to your feed, but what if they link to your site on their blogs, which are read by 10,000 visitors, who in turn will spread the word? The same logic applies to easy URL navigation, which allows proper deep linking as well as automation.
Likewise, Daypop or Blogdex don’t drive that much direct traffic, but people will hear about sites there and will in turn mention them on their blogs (popularity feeds on itself). Of course you want to influence the influential! But do it in a way that provides value to them, rather than through the kind of deceptive practices we’ve recently been hearing about.

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