Do Keywords in URLs Help Your Search Engine Rank?

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For years the debate has been raging in SEO circles: do including keywords in your Web page URLs help, hurt, or make no difference whatsoever?

Your Web page URL is the address of a given page. So the question is, do you get more help from a Web page with an address like http://www.mysite.com/model-railroads.html than you would from http://www.mysite.com/products.html?

In a recent blog post, Matt Cutts of Google said:

having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.

In a follow up comment he also said:

including the keyword in the url just gives another chance for that
keyword to match the user’s query in some way. That’s the way I’d put
it.

While I wouldn’t call that a ringing endorsement, it does seem to say that having your keywords in your page URLs does have a potential positive impact.

The next question some people will ask is "how much impact?" Well, I’m sure they’ll never come out and tell us exactly that. However, I would guess NOT enough to make sense to change your current page titles, especially if they’re already ranking well.

This is because the search engines already know about these pages and people are already linking to them. If you change your page URLs you’re likely to break some incoming links, reducing the relevancy of your page.

There’s also the possibility that some Web site owners will go overboard, creating pages like www.dalmatian-store/dalmatians/dalmatian-shower-curtains.html, that may appear to "spammy" to the search engines and actually hurt the page rankings, leaving you with thousands of unsold dalmatian-themed bathroom supplies.

My recommendations is not to mess with success. However, for new pages, working in relevant keywords (separated by hyphens, not underscores), in an organic fashion may help you get to page one.

Thanks to Search Engine Roundtable for the story.

Rich Brooks
Rich-Brooks-Knows-SEO.html

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