Search Google or Type a URL: Which One Should You Choose?

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November 22nd. 2023

5 Minutes Required

In the digital world, we often must decide whether to search Google or type a URL when looking for something specific on the internet. 

If you’re reading this, you might be wondering whether one option is better than the other. This article is here to help you figure that out.

Before we dive into that, let’s first explain what a URL is and how it can impact your website rankings on Google. Then, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each approach – to search Google or type a URL – to make it easier for you to choose whether to search or type a URL.

URL Stands For Uniform Resource Locator 

Many Google users ask themselves whether it’s better to search or type a URL. To answer this question, let’s first define what a URL stands for. 

A URL, short for “Uniform Resource Locator,” is a web address pointing to specific online resources. The term “uniform resource locator” simply means it provides a standardised way to identify and access online content.

URLs were introduced in the early 1990s by Tim Berners-Lee as part of the World Wide Web project. This ground-breaking approach allowed users to locate resources on the emerging internet, making it easier to navigate and access information for millions of people around the world.

URLs are composed of several elements. These are:

  • Scheme: Indicates how to access the resource, such as “http” or “https.”
  • Host: Identifies the server or computer where the resource resides using an IP address or domain name.
  • Port: Specifies the communication channel (optional).
  • Path: Shows the resource’s location on the server.
  • Query: Allows for additional parameters.
  • Fragment: Points to a specific section on a web page.

Let’s Define Dashed Lines in URLs 

Another crucial thing we must do before deciding whether it’s better to search Google or type a URL is to define dashed lines in URLs. 

Dashed lines in URLs play a vital role in structuring web addresses. Each type of dash serves a specific purpose. Let’s have a look:

  • Hyphen (-): Hyphens are the most common dashes used in URLs. They separate words or words and numbers, making the URL easier to read. For example, “www.example-site.com” separates “example” from “site.”
  • En Dash (–): Less common than hyphens, En dashes can be seen in certain contexts, typically when creating URLs from title elements in content management systems.
  • Em Dash (—): Even rarer than URLs, Em dashes are occasionally used interchangeably with en dashes.
  • Underscore (_): Underscores also separate words but are less common than hyphens. One example would be: “www.example_site.com.”

Out of all the defined dashed lines, hyphens are the preferred choice for URL structuring due to their widespread support and readability.

How Do Dashed Lines Affect Your Site’s SEO? 

The choice of dashed lines, specifically hyphens, in your URLs can significantly impact your site’s SEO as well as ease of use and user satisfaction.

Google itself recommends hyphens over other dashes as they enhance both human readability and search engine crawler efficiency.

For optimal efficiency, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Among the industry best practices shared by Google for website users and owners, we find the following: 

  • Do: Use hyphens to separate words, ensuring clarity for both users and web crawlers.
  • Don’t: Don’t use underscores to separate words, as they can be unclear to web crawlers. Also, refrain from omitting separators between words to avoid confusion for readers and a subpar user experience.

Search Google or Type a URL: The Difference 

Knowing how to choose between search Google or type a URL is essential for efficient web navigation. In fact, the two processes exhibit  some core variances:

  • Search Google:  Search or type a URL are two different actions. The previous consists of a few steps.  From the Google homepage, input relevant keywords and hit “Enter.” Google then displays search engine results pages (SERPs) with sources matching your query you can choose from based on relevance to your specific case.
  • Type a URL: Typing a URL consists of directly entering a specific web address into your browser’s address bar. This method is ideal when you already know the exact address of the website you are looking for.

In other words, search Google or type a URL are two different ways of finding online content. These range from basic actions such as browsing SERPs, relying on voice search, or pinpointing particular websites for a more comprehensive understanding of search engine exploration.

How to Search a Website in Google 

Before you decide whether you prefer to search Google or type a URL, you should know that there are two different primary approaches to discovering a website on Google: 

  • Direct URL Entry: The website’s URL is typed into your browser’s address bar to type “Enter.” This directly takes you to the desired website.
  • Keyword Search with “site:” To extract specific information from a particular website, enter your keywords followed by “site:specificdomain.com” in the Google search bar. This way, your search results will display your desired results within the URL provided.

How to Use Voice Search in Google 

Are you still wondering whether to search Google or type a URL? So far, we have seen a few key differences between these options. But there’s another way to search Google we haven’t yet talked about: voice search. 

When you opt for searching in Google, Google Voice Search is a convenient feature that allows users to search the internet using spoken commands. Accessible on Google Chrome, Android, and iPhone devices,  VS is activated through the microphone icon. These simple procedures can be resumed in a few steps:

  • Open Google Chrome or the Google app.
  • Tap the microphone icon.
  • Speak out your search query.
  • Google will process your voice command and display the results.

How to Use Google Autocomplete Predictions 

Google Autocomplete Predictions is another commonly used feature of the popular search engine. 

The feature is designed to pinpoint your queries as you type by intuitively providing a list of results potentially compatible with your query.  It’s a valuable tool to enhance your search experience and save up to 25% of your time searching for long-form keywords or frequently asked questions. 

Other benefits include improved XS – which helps users better formulate their queries – and enhanced keyword research. Website owners can leverage autocomplete predictions to discover popular search queries and the relative results to up their SEO game. This is because the predictions are tailored to search trends and can vary by region and language.

Ultimately, Is It Better to Search Google or Type a URL? 

While there is no universal answer, the choice between search Google or type a URL will widely depend on your specific needs. 

If you have a particular web address in mind, typing the URL directly is quicker. On the other hand, searching in Google is ideal when you’re exploring diverse content and asking open-ended questions. 

For the above reasons, both search Google or type a URL options have advantages, and the decision should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

FAQs 

What Is a URL? 

A URL, short for Uniform Resource Locator, is a web address used to specify the location of a resource on the internet, such as websites, files, or documents.

What Does URL Mean?

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator,” serving as a standardised address format for locating and accessing online resources.

 

Sources: 

Google Blog, “How Google autocomplete works in search” –  https://blog.google/products/search/how-google-autocomplete-works-search/

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