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Do Keywords In Url Matter?

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89 replies to this topic

#61 Randy


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Posted 13 November 2008 - 09:25 AM

Okay, let's make it easy then.

The answer is in the 3rd and 4th posts in the thread, both made over five years ago.

Let's suppose having a URL that includes the keyword alone doesn't help, but it helps when other sites link to you right? A lot of people link to others by their URL, thus the anchor text will use the keyword, and that would help?

QUOTE(Our Illustrious Jill)
Yes, you are correct, alnany. That's the only benefit of a keyword-rich URL.

Emphasis mine.

Got that?

Keyworded URLs provide extra benefit only when the keyworded url address becomes the anchor text. Which is a condition that's just as easily satisfied by making smart use of normal anchor text.

That said, we encourage you and everyone else interested in the topic to test it for yourself. It's always better to have your own tests to back up anything you do rather than take someones word for it.


#62 1dmf


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Posted 13 November 2008 - 10:00 AM

And as someone who beleives in the hyphenated keyword domain names , I've still for my current new project not bothered!

ok the domain name does have some kwd's in it, but that's because the domain is descriptive of what the business is, and wasn't chosen because of keywords.

we have bought the .co.uk & .com , made co.uk point to .com and left the non-hyphenated, at the end of the day, it all seems a bit of a waste of time pratting around with hyphenated, but telling people non-hyphenated because it's hard to say the hyphenated domain, especially as Torka pointed out in media such as Radio etc..

I believe my on page SEO, will out weight any attempt to gain a little extra PR through a hyphenated domain name.

having said that, i'm really pleased i have the hyphenated name for the domain in my signature, swings and roundabouts I guess!

#63 torka


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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:57 PM

QUOTE(Googlefrog @ Nov 13 2008, 09:06 AM) View Post
I read it. Many people said keywords in url is important or did you miss that?

Many people say all kinds of things. Doesn't necessarily make what they say correct, though. smile.gif

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#64 davidbrett


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Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:39 AM

I absolutley agree with Jill on this one. The benefit to keyword rich URL's is the knock on effect of keyword rich link text.

#65 mcanerin


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Posted 14 November 2008 - 12:08 PM

I'm going to have to disagree with a lot of people here (including myself, 5 years ago). Some time ago, I did a series of controlled tests to see what search engines indexed and what they did not. I made up a fake word, added some variations of it to test stemming and internationalization, and then paid close attention to the results.

The reason I did the tests was to check international spelling issues - for example, how does Google treat pages talking about "Montréal" (with accent)when a searcher types in "Montreal" (without accent). Since my specialty is international SEO, this is a big deal for me and I assure you I was very careful to make sure that the tests were useful and applicable to my work. It wasn't just for fun.

I stuffed those fake words pretty much anywhere you could think of, and even a few places the spammers have usually missed, just to test what Google and friends index and what they don't. It was a very interesting set of experiments and highlighted some important differences between search engines.

The test also clearly showed that keywords in the URL are indexed and count towards ranking. I was not able to determine how much they count, but it's more than pure inclusion (such as Yahoo's handling of the keyword metatag).

This is not to say that the anchor text factor isn't important - I believe it's much more important than the URL. But I have no doubt that having keywords in your URL help search engines understand the intended topic of your page better, and thus result in a stronger tendency to rank, everything else being equal.

And if you think about it, why wouldn't it? Is there some reason why a search engine would decide that a page called "dog-houses.htm" was irrelevant to a searcher looking for dog houses? Any more irrelevant than an ALT attribute, H1, noscript or image name?

No, search engines look at a lot of things in order to figure out content, clarity and context, and it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that they would look at the name of a file (which is really what a URL is) as one of the things they look at to determine the topic of that same file. And my tests support that. If someone has a test that they can show me that shows that it doesn't matter (not just anecdotal evidence or opinion) I'd love to see it, since if my tests or conclusions are wrong I'd like to know how and why. But I don't think they are, in this case.

With respect,


Edited by mcanerin, 14 November 2008 - 12:15 PM.

#66 Jill


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Posted 15 November 2008 - 11:47 AM

Yes, things have changed in the 5 years since this thread was first started. While I still wouldn't recommend changing URLs if you don't have to, Google the usability benefits alone are helpful.

With so many having switched to keywords in URLs, if yours doesn't have them in the search results, yours may not look quite as relevant as the others.

#67 1dmf


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Posted 25 November 2008 - 09:42 AM

Jill -> would you say hyphens make a difference?

#68 Jill


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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:21 PM

QUOTE(1dmf @ Nov 25 2008, 09:42 AM) View Post
Jill -> would you say hyphens make a difference?

It appears that hyphens more easily separate the words so the search engine wouldn't have to figure it out themselves.

#69 ezwoodz


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Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:12 PM

for me it's important also, it may give you some point if you want direct and targeted traffic. Also it will make your site to be one the resources for the searches. smile.gif

#70 ClickClick


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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:22 PM

QUOTE(alnany @ Aug 19 2003, 03:42 AM) View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum as well as to SEO. I've been doing a lot of reading in the past weeks and I'm hoping to learn more from the pros around here. I thank you for your wisdom and aplogize for my lack of in advance smile.gif

Question: Does a page get better ranking when the URL includes the keyword? Consider the following cases, who would rank better by default?

keyword: monkey food

Case 1: www.monkeyfood.com
Case 2: www.petexperts.com

How about:

Case 1: www.petexperts.com/monkeyfood.html
Case 2: www.petsuperstore.com/buy.html


Personally I'd say get keywords in wherever you can, that's what I've always done. In my opinion you may as well, I can only see it doing good and no bad. I always make the URL extension for each page as relevant as possible to the main keyword that the paeg targets.

#71 Jill


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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:45 PM

Personally I'd say get keywords in wherever you can, that's what I've always done.

Keyword stuffing is generally more harmful than helpful.

#72 mcanerin


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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:28 PM

In this example, unless "monkeyfood" was a sufficiently common contraction of "monkey food", it would not help you. The lack of a word separator would make this very difficult for a search engine to parse.

When you see partial words highlighted in a Google search AFTER the search, that's because Google already knows what the KW is, and uses a simple highlighting script to do this. In the case of attempting to identify words before hand in order to search for things in the first place, it's a lot more difficult.

Generally accepted word separators include what I call "slash, dash and dot". So, for example, the following would be considered to be "monkey food", as far as Google is concerned:


The following, AFAIK, would not:


I admit I have not tested other separating characters such as = + * & % $ and so on, though I suspect most would be considered separators. Correction, I know "+" is.

I also know one other thing. Originally as part of of internationalization efforts, KW lookup tables are now part of normal Google operations. For example, in German, eislaufen and eis laufen are both acceptable ways to say "to ice-skate". So now, when someone types in eislaufen, Google automatically looks up common alternatives and will search for both variations. In the old days, they would not do this.

This is been applied to English KW's too. "IBM" and "I.B.M" are both searched for, as an example. You will note that when you do search for words with variations, you will see that the resulting listings are not identical (Google will typically place a higher weighting on the results most closely matching what you typed), but include all the variations. I also suspect, but can't prove, that more common variations have a higher weighting than less common ones. I have seen this also work with common misspellings and synonyms, as well.

So, if "monkeyfood" was actually a very common variation for "monkey food", it would help you to have monkeyfood.com. But otherwise it would not, as the separators are not present.

Ironically, the better Google gets at creating good search results, the harder it is for me to give people specific advice, as more and more things are beginning to fall into the "it depends" file.

Theoretically, if Google ever gets to the point where it can emulate a human's judgement about a webpage, SEO will no longer be a valid concept, and we will all become "Usability Consultants" or RCO's (Retention and Conversion Optimizers). Not that it would be a bad thing, necessarily. Just thinking out loud.


#73 BBCoach


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Posted 11 December 2008 - 04:08 PM

This is a very hard sell for me to swallow since there are way too many exceptions to these assumptions from my last two years of testing.

I think it's more plausible to believe that G has legions of linguist employed around the world reviewing search logs
and populating the "Did you mean" relationships and correcting the spellings. They've gotta do something for those
free lunches, don't they? I believe they're doing something along the lines of what they've enabled with their search appliances (specifically KeyMatch & Related Queries).

I don't think I can go for this just yet, but because Mcanerin is saying it's so, then I'll keep an eye on things and keep on testing, but I still believe
it's a no win scenario because everyone in every related industry will start doing it and it'll water down the relevance.

#74 austk


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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:52 PM

I do not agree with these posts. I am concerned that keyword rich domains names must convey value in search rankings and discoverability that build a content index and search engine result.

Also, if it was easy to get ranked by having a domain name that are you keywords, then seo would be dead, search engines have to look at the page content to make it a valued site.

#75 mcanerin


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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:08 AM

Examples are always good ways to make a point. Let's try that.

Quick question:

Exactly how, in your opinion, would Google parse the following url: www.penisland.net

You are right, "Pen Island".

Google would only parse it that way, and only rank it for searches for ballpoint pens, right? I mean, what else could it possibly be? Type it in and check it out for yourself.

But don't accidentally type .com....

Now ask me again why search engines don't just parse things the way you think you would. After all, what if I was a monk and looking for food? I might type in monk food and of course "monk ey food".com would be a candidate, no?

I dunno, sounds a little bananas to me...


Edited by mcanerin, 23 December 2008 - 01:15 AM.

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