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  1. #1
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    How important is URL rewriting?

    I have just redesigned part of my site and am about to do the mod rewrite think on all the urls and am just dredding it.

    My question is just how important is removing query strings and inserting keywords? Can I get away without it alright?

  2. #2
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Its not really important for search engines. But it is important for your users!
    Logic without the fatal effects.
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  3. #3
    Motivated Procrastinator seriocomic's Avatar
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    From Google themselves (who also use query strings):
    If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
    It is good practice, may slightly improve SEO - but in the end is not essential (as much as the rest of SEO recommendations) to re-write your URLs.

  4. #4
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    URL rewriting (getting clean url's) to Me, are one of THE most important things of SEO. If you phrase is "List of Lasik Surgeons in Montreal" and if your url is list-of-lasik-surgeons-in-montreal instead of node/21 it MAKE HUGE difference.

    You will get immediate boost of high ranking, atleast in Google for using clean url's. I will highly advice you to use them.

    Though you are fine with ezinearticles like url too www.example.com/?title=this-is-title but if you can do it, Use clean url's.

  5. #5
    Motivated Procrastinator seriocomic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poseidon123 View Post
    You will get immediate boost of high ranking, atleast in Google for using clean url's. I will highly advice you to use them.
    I have seen no evidence of this. Anywhere. URL's simply do not have that sort of impact. The only way this could be true was if the URL had a nest of query string values that prevented engines/spiders from locating/indexing that content.

  6. #6
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    but it is advisable doing that isn't it. After all, a clean static URL will make both user and search engine easier to understand what your page is all about.
    I saw awkward query string URL like: http://www.jackandabby.co.nz/index.p...ed0a29d664b7fe

    do you know what is this URL all about without going to their site? probably not! how about this one?
    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links. to me yes!

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist croatiankid's Avatar
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    As far as SEO goes, not very (if at all). It is important for humans, though.
    Hrvoje Markovic
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  8. #8
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    You can read a discussion we had about this very sam3 topic here: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=487354

  9. #9
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    It is important to SE because

    1. Static URLs typically Rank better in Search Engines.
    2. Search Engines are known to index the content of dynamic pages a lot slower compared to static pages.
    3. Static URLs are always more friendlier looking to the End Users.

  10. #10
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooluks View Post
    It is important to SE because
    #1 and #2 are completely untrue

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist croatiankid's Avatar
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    3# doesn't have anything to do with SE.
    But don't they rank higher because of relevant words in the URL?
    Hrvoje Markovic
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Member rush4rk's Avatar
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    clean urls rule the worlds

  13. #13
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by croatiankid View Post
    3# doesn't have anything to do with SE.
    But don't they rank higher because of relevant words in the URL?
    You can also accomplish the same thing without rewriting the URLs. But rewritten URLs are better for usability reasons.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict Hafsoh's Avatar
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    i think it doesn't have anything to do with SE
    clean urls rule the worlds
    Yes clean url rule the world

  15. #15
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hafsoh View Post
    i think it doesn't have anything to do with SE
    Rewritten URLs do have plenty to do with SEO. It does give you an opportunity to get keywords into your URLs and remove unnecessary text.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    Like most on-site optimisation, rewriting your URLs isn't going to shoot you to the top of a competitive query overnight. You may not even notice the effect at all, even over a significant amount of time.
    But...it's one of those little things, and if you do all the little things right, they can add up to improvement.
    "The proper function of man is to live - not to exist."
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast jhnrang's Avatar
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    From my experience URL re-write has become very important recently for atleast Google.

    Off-late I have found that keywords on the URL and the Page title are heavily been used by Google to sort out query relevancy factor what with so much duplicate contents/anchor-text bombardment by SEOs and webmasters- its search queries were loosing quality.

    So it has become very very important indeed.

  18. #18
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Wow Stymiee, it says you're an SEO guru but I'm a bit nonplussed by most of the posts I've seen of yours in my short sojourn on this forum. You seem to contradict everything I know and everything I just read in the SEM kit produced by the owners of this very forum.

    What about duplicate content issues with dynamic URLs? What about removing numbers that may look like session IDs to the bots?

    What about Matt Cutts saying that Google prefers URLs with not more than 2 parameters if possible, what do you do if you have 3 or 4?

    I came on here hoping to learn, not have everything I know turned on it's head so I really want to get to the bottom of these issues.

  19. #19
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    Clean URL's that are canonical are WELL important! Also descriptions, title and subtitle tags and keyword listings according to each individual page on your site.

    These are important rules and even if they don't bring results overnight, they will certainly help in the long run with having a well presented website that the search engines can index easier, therefore helping you to get better organic result listings.
    Last edited by stymiee; Dec 9, 2007 at 13:10. Reason: self promotion is not allowed

  20. #20
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic247 View Post
    Clean URL's that are canonical are WELL important!
    I wasn't aware that the issue of canonical URLs had anything to do with the actual structure of the URLs. Isn't it more about making sure that all the different versions of your URLs resolve to one place logically to avoid duplicate content issues?

    Can you elaborate?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    I wasn't aware that the issue of canonical URLs had anything to do with the actual structure of the URLs. Isn't it more about making sure that all the different versions of your URLs resolve to one place logically to avoid duplicate content issues?

    Can you elaborate?
    Agreed, completely. I just wanted to point out the importance of making sure that each individual URL is correctly structured as search engines place large importance on the URL, as well as the user. It goes without saying that duplicate content etc isn't ideal....

    At the end of the day a well built, structured and clean website page, including URL make a lot of difference in the long term.

  22. #22
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    What about duplicate content issues with dynamic URLs?
    You need to somehow stop that duplicate content from happening. If you don't you'll cause holes n your website which will hurt your rankings. Those duplicate content pages will be removed and ignored but you will still be linking to them wasting PR and diluting the power your other internal links.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    What about removing numbers that may look like session IDs to the bots?
    Nowadays the search engines are smart enough to recognize a real session ID from other IDs. Regular IDs won't cause any problems by being in your URL.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    What about Matt Cutts saying that Google prefers URLs with not more than 2 parameters if possible, what do you do if you have 3 or 4?
    That's still true but doesn't mean a URL with many parameters will not be indexed or rank well. A smart webmaster will do their best to keep their parameter list short but don't be afraid to have a longer one if that's what it takes to run your site.

  23. #23
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    We changed a site to "clean urls" and after 10 months we couldn't get past 28K indexed pages. A drop from when we had dynamic URLs.

    We started being re-indexed immediately after switching back to dynamic URLs. After about 45 days of going back to dynamic URLs, with redirects in place of course so the site was re-indexed, we now fluctuate in the 70K to 80K indexed pages area.

    In that 10 month experiment, traffic went down consistently month after month. It was a horrible experience. We know of other web masters that have or have had the same experience.

    G, M, and Y had abandoned us it seems during the "clean URL" period.

    We are grateful that G has embraced us again. However, we have yet to have the same result with Y and M yet so we continue to work on that.

  24. #24
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    You need to somehow stop that duplicate content from happening. If you don't you'll cause holes n your website which will hurt your rankings. Those duplicate content pages will be removed and ignored but you will still be linking to them wasting PR and diluting the power your other internal links.
    The content isn't actually duplicated, I'm talking about the result of a bot trying to follow all the links where some of the parameters can have more than one value and creating pages on the fly full of the same content just ordered differently that it then might consider duplicate content.

    The number reason to use mod_rewrite or your htaccess file make your URLs se friendly I thought?

  25. #25
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    The content isn't actually duplicated, I'm talking about the result of a bot trying to follow all the links where some of the parameters can have more than one value and creating pages on the fly full of the same content just ordered differently that it then might consider duplicate content.

    The number reason to use mod_rewrite or your htaccess file make your URLs se friendly I thought?
    mod_rewrite won't affect that. Either the content is duplicated or it isn't. The URL won't be a factor in determining that.


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