September 21, 2011
I am a long-time subscriber of your newsletter. I have implemented many of your SEO/SEM ideas over the years with good success.
Recently I had a conversation with an SEO expert who claimed that the most important thing we need to do for SEO on our website is URL rewriting. Our old CMS system still uses parameters in the URL ("?pageid="). The expert claims that if we don't rewrite these URLs to a friendly, keyword-rich URL, there is no use doing any SEO work on our site because it cannot be successful.
That just doesn't seem right to me. Although our current URL is not the most friendly to look at, and can be hard to determine pages in Google Analytics, all of our site pages are indexed by Google, and some of the pages we have optimized do come up high in organic search results. I can see that keywords in URLs may be one of the many things Google looks at, but it is hard for me to believe it's the most important thing. I have always placed priority on page titles, page content, and outside linking to our site.
I very much trust your opinion and wonder if you could share it with me on this subject. Thanks in advance.
You are exactly correct! While I understand that many SEOs put a lot of stock in having keywords in URLs these days, it's kind of scary to think that there are some SEO companies out there saying that your URLs will make all the rest of your SEO work useless. It's absolutely not true at all.
A quick search in Google for "pageid=" shows more than 200 million URLs contain that term.
It's not a problem at all.
I would personally caution you or anyone else about changing perfectly indexable URLs for the sole purpose of adding keywords. If you're redesigning your website and are going to be using a new content management system that will end up changing your URLs, then it's fine to consider the best use of them for SEO purposes. But I would not recommend changing URLs for the sole purpose of changing URLs.
Note: I decided to get other people's opinions on this via the High Rankings Question of the Week, which you can see here:
Do you change URLs for SEO purposes if they're not currently using keywords but are being indexed fine?
Hope this helps!
Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, an SEO Services Company in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalen
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