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Key Words In Dynamic Urls?
Posted 11 December 2007 - 04:51 PM
thanks in advance
Posted 11 December 2007 - 05:00 PM
A zillion threads on this if you do a quick forum search for keyword urls[/hr].
Posted 13 December 2007 - 04:29 PM
Having keywords in your page name helps, plus it's easier to remember. I speak from experience too. I've implemented this for several clients. It hasn't effected them negatively and has been beneficial for long term results. Within a month or two the search engines usually re-index the new pages and they can rank better in the future because a page name can make the file more relevant. That's just my experience though. It is a good amount of work to do correctly.
Posted 13 December 2007 - 06:11 PM
Posted 13 December 2007 - 07:00 PM
I'm not saying that having keywords in your webpage's file name is THE key which will help you out rank other pages/sites. I'm not even suggesting how to place words in a page's name. (hyphen,underscore,space [%20], no space) Obviously there are hundreds of factors involved in ranking a site/page. All I'm saying is that it can't hurt you to have descriptive page names. It's one more element for relevance in a page. One thing you said in your post is that 'The named page will do better in a properly designed site vs a site with query parameters, but it doesn't matter what the name of the page is. I don't agree that it doesn't matter what the name of the page is, but, I do agree that properly designed sites do better.
Google and the other search engines are looking for relevancy in pages/sites. Page titles, header titles, content relevancy, alt image relevancy and page names all contribute to a page's relevance. Obviously you need to have relevant back links and everything else, but, I'd be very surprised if a page's name doesn't play into the equation. I say this because I've written site searches and algorithms for many sites from scratch. I'm by no means saying I'm Google or anything, my only point is that I have experience sorting relevancy from the other side of this conversation. When doing so I use every element of a page I can to rank the most relevant results first. Maybe Google doesn't use that same approach, but, I would be surprised if they don't.
I would choose a to have a page with a descriptive name every time over a page named '121423234.html' which has no relevancy. Maybe I'm completely wrong on this, but, that's how I feel.
Posted 13 December 2007 - 07:12 PM
Not a sin at all!
ah but you see, it can indeed temporarily hurt when you take perfectly indexed pages and change their URLs for no reason other than to add keywords. From what I understand, it's rare to not lose any traffic for at least some unspecified period of time.
I'll find out once my new site goes live as all the URLs are changing.
Posted 13 December 2007 - 09:02 PM
You would be surprised then if any of the 50 or 60 tests I've personally run or seen first hand on this are any indication. Thing is you have to actually test it rather than of rely on what others have said or coincidental data when other things have also changed.
Don't do it with a clients site, but test it sometime on any phrase that is even remotely competitive --without changing anything else-- and you'll get to have one of those Ah Ha moments when you see exactly how little loading up the URI matters.
Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:18 PM
HC, I never said it would hurt starting out with a named page, but it doesn't matter what the page name is. It will hurt if you change the name of the page, sometimes not a lot, but most of the time it will be meteoric in it's descend in the rankings. Also, think about what you're saying, "the page name matters in ranking." If this had any weight whatsoever, then everyone would create pages with the same name to get some of that juice in each and every industry and it would be a way of spamming the SEs. But it simply isn't the case.
BTW, I too have written several SEs. Specifically built one based on Google's original design and have been researching and testing SE enhancements for 12+ years. From a programming perspective and wanting relevance in returning results it doesn't make much sense to weight the physical file name when the title and content of the page would indicate what the page was about and ergo it's relevance to a search query. Let's do a simple test at G. Search for the page name [index.html]. Now go to each web site listed in the top 3 results out of 267,000,000. View the source of each of those pages. Notice that the actual pages are NOT named index.html. It's in the TITLE of the pages and in the content of the pages. The pages with the highest rankings are NOT named index.html. Now find out the link juice pointing to those top three sites. Interesting the first one with [/indexdot/html/] has only three links pointng back to it and one of them is linked to by Books.Google.com. I think that link juice will keep that web site in the top for quite some time and far outweighs the URL naming scheme. The second one has 91,500 links pointing back to that web site. Very powerful. The third one has 1410 links pointing to it. Again, very powerful. And before you start saying "Ah Ha there are some in the top 10 that have that page name!", please take a look at how many inbound links are pointing at those web sites. The #4 has 81,700 and is a government web site.
Lastly, I don't get the luxury of being able to believe I'm right. I have to always prove it. And through testing I have proved the name of a file has next to no advantage, if any at all.
Posted 14 December 2007 - 07:29 PM
If you've got a site with pages that are well-indexed and hopefully ranking well in the SERPs, like Jill, I can't see any reason to change the URLs for the SOLE PURPOSE of having keywords in the URL.
That said, if you're launching a new site or are working on a site that isn't indexed, changing the URL is probably low-risk. I think that's something every SEO has to consider when you're making changes to a site. What are the risks involved with making this change?
HC, I can see where you're coming from...If you had two pages on two different sites, and EVERY OTHER factor was equal except the URL naming, then I would absolutely say it matters. But to BBC's point, all factors usually aren't created equally. I do think it's dangerous to assume that the name of the page (assuming it shows up in the URL) does NOT matter at all. Here's an interesting question: Do y'all think that the page name (assuming it shows up in the URL) could hurt you? For example, let's say you have a page about party favors, but the page name has the word viagra in it? Or some "adult" word?
Ha, I sometimes wonder how my mine gets on these tangents...Happy weekend everyone!
Quick Edit: Forgot to mention the usability part of Jill's comment. Just thought it was worth mentioning the value-added factor to the user when the URLs or page names (assuming they show up in the URL) are seen by user...I believe this can sometimes be impactful from a click-through perspective.
Posted 15 December 2007 - 09:22 AM
No. Or at least there's no harm in it 99% of the time if they're done that way from the beginning.
From what I've seen you'd have to go waaaaaaaaay overboard to actually cause harm boy keywording new urls. Even then I rather doubt it's an Automatice Penalty situation. Just that if you go way overboard in loading up the URI with keyword-keyword-keyword-keyword-keyword-keyword it may raise enough of a red flag to bring more scrutiny by the search engine spam teams to see if any other dubious methods are being employed on the site.
And now to argue with myself...
If it's a brand new site or series of pages on a site and I didn't need a standard page.php?id=1823xty to get the back end to work, I do tend to get keywords into my URIs. Not for SEO purposes and not even for any quite valid usability concerns. I do it sometimes to make my job easier when I'm reviewing Analytics reports. It's simply easier for me to make a mental connection that a page getting traffic is about Some Subject if Some Subject appears in the URI.
I really don't have a problem with keywords in urls or variables as long as there's a good non-SEO reason for putting 'em there. I do have a problem with people telling webmasters they need to change all of their already established urls to load them up with keywords.
Posted 15 December 2007 - 10:33 AM
Posted 15 December 2007 - 12:47 PM
We changed this:
and the results were terrific, long-term. In fact, it took less than a month for our traffic to recover from the shift, and it went up from there. Nothing changed except the URLs at that time.
Notice that the keywords were already in the "ugly" URL, but the pretty version is, well, MUCH prettier in a number of ways. Our assumption was that shortening/folderizing/ the URLs would the be main benefit, and retaining the make and city and adding car-dealers would a) absolutly not hurt our rankings and would provide a clear, usable listing in the SERP -- especially in those cases where the search engine decides to populate the description snippet with something other than our carefully slaved-over META description.
URLs like this also come in handy when two of your pages show up indented together in the SERP, by helping to distinguish between similar pages. For example, you could google a specific car dealer name:
As of now you see two cars.com URLs near the top. (This dealer name I chose because it doesn't have a make name in it.) I'm imagining that a Rockford resident might have driven by the lot and the name registered, but doesn't know what makes they handle. She then starts Googling because it might be nice to work with a local dealership, for many reasons. The SERP shows two pages: our list of Ford dealers and our list of Mercury dealers in Rockford, distinguished only by the make name in the title and URL. Our meta description is partially displaced by body text snippet because the query is not in our metadata, just on the body. Note, also, that the two snippets are different, even though from a programming standpoint the pages are identical. (Of course, a different set of dealers.) But the combination of titles, URLs and snippets communicates to the user two of the dealer's makes, the dealership address, and a few of the ways cars.com might help her to get started interacting with the dealer, not to mention the ability to locate other dealers in her area.
I don't care at this point whether the keywords actually help ranking -- in this case we rank due to body text. But they certainly help steer the searcher in the right direction.
So I echo the advice not to bother changing URLs just for the sake of keywords. We had keywords already. But if your URLs are unfriendly, that's another story.
Posted 15 December 2007 - 01:45 PM
veezy I'm not making an assumption about it. I have proven it to myself, and if you did the little test I proposed in my last post you would see it too on a much smaller scale. It's not the name of the page that matters as far as SEO goes. As far as maintainability and analysis of a web site, then of course the page name is extremely helpful. However, when you have tens of thousands of products, many with basically the same name and perhaps only a few different attributes, then trying to come up with a unique and manageable keyword naming scheme dynamically for each product page is next to impossible using product keywords.
No. It won't hurt, but it doesn't help with SEO either. Using your example it will hurt getting CTs because people will be hesitant to click the link about party favors when the URI/URL indicates viagra.htm or horny-devil.htm (if they notice the link). They wouldn't hesitate if the page said party-cookies.htm or pcks.htm.
Please note that I'm not saying NOT to name your pages with whatever makes sense to you. I do exactly that and can tell exactly which product and from what category the product was in when clicked to view. Never a doubt. Also, there are no product keywords in any of the URLs that I dynamically create. It's not necessary.
Posted 15 December 2007 - 03:05 PM
Posted 15 December 2007 - 09:23 PM
Exactly... we had good keywords in troublesome URLs and they got us some search engine traffic, but not nearly living up to the product's potential. Shorten the URLs, keeping similar keywords, making no other changes and tremendous benefit ensued.
I was trying to demonstrate that a great URL is much more than keywords. I believe that we would have seen similar benefits had we gone with cars.com/page/2345.5477689 instead of /car-dealers/ford/etc.... but as you say the keywords provide numerous usability benefits.
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