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  1. #1
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    Keywords in URLS - do they actually help?

    I came across this article today and wondered what the experts on this forum would make of it. In it, Jill Whalen argues that putting your keywords in your URL has no effect on SEO.

    I think that they do help, how could they not add to relevancy and authority.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Considering that Google admitted they help I say Jill Whalen needs to get up to speed.

    Keywords in URLs
    We were also asked if it is useful to have relevant keywords in URLs. It's always a good idea to be descriptive across your site, with titles, ALT attributes, and yes, even URLs, as they can be useful signals for users and search engines. This can be especially true with image files, which otherwise may not have any text for a search engine to consider. Imagine you've taken a picture of your cat asleep on the sofa. Your digital camera will likely name it something like IMG_2937.jpg. Not exactly the most descriptive name. So unless your cat really looks like an IMG_2937, consider changing the filename to something more relevant, like adorable-kitten.jpg. And, if you have a post about your favorite cat names, it's much easier to guess that a URL ending in my-favorite-cat-names would be the relevant page, rather than a URL ending in postid=8652. For more information regarding issues with how Google understands your content, check out our new content analysis feature in Webmaster Tools, as well as our post on the URL suggestions feature of the new Google Toolbar.
    Off Topic:

    I love watching the "experts" be wrong. I really do.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    I think Jill Whalen was covering all bases
    Quote Originally Posted by JW
    It is a common misconception that keywords in URLs are somehow helpful to search engine rankings, when in reality, they have very little (if any) effect on rankings.
    So it's a misconception that URL's are helpful but they also might help a little. Er, which one?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hooperman View Post
    I think Jill Whalen was covering all bases

    So it's a misconception that URL's are helpful but they also might help a little. Er, which one?
    Good pick up.

    She also states though that "I can't stress enough that you should never change URLs simply for SEO purposes. "

    Is she doing it there too? don't 'Change' rather than 'get another URL with your keywords in it' which would be ok...

    Then there's this - "people wrongly assume that keyword phrases in URLs are a factor in getting a page to show up in the search results" - that seems pretty unequivocal.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

  5. #5
    Google Zombie ssandecki's Avatar
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    The value of keywords in your domain name is probably low, this would make sense to the abuse that it could be used for. I usually see sites that rank in the #10 anyways that don't even have keywords in the domain name, so I would say on the SEO side it's not that important, but I wouldn't say it holds no value.

    Remember, domain names should be brandable and easy to remember.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssandecki View Post
    The value of keywords in your domain name is probably low,
    Yeah, on it's own. But used with keywords in page titles, on page anchors etc it reinforces your relevance, you'd think..........
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

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    SitePoint Zealot theawristocrat's Avatar
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    I think it has an effect. It uses the H1 tag right?

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theawristocrat View Post
    It uses the H1 tag right?
    No. The H1 element is used within the document, whereas the URL identifies the location of the document. Look in the address bar of your browser - that's the URL.

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    Considering that Google admitted they help I say Jill Whalen needs to get up to speed.



    Off Topic:

    I love watching the "experts" be wrong. I really do.
    John, isn't that from the transcript to one of Matt Cutts' video blog entries?

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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    The original link doesn't indicate that it is.

  11. #11
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I was asking about the text you quoted, John.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast pinkyslide's Avatar
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    why would google BOLD the keyword in the URL when a keyword is searched in google? that should mean it has a valid effect!

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Because that keyword was the searched term.

  14. #14
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    The original link doesn't indicate that it is.
    It's from this blog post: Feeling lucky at PubCon

  15. #15
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    my website does not have any of the keywords that I am ranked high, just use a lot of keywords in your back linking

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawless87 View Post
    my website does not have any of the keywords that I am ranked high, just use a lot of keywords in your back linking
    Thanks for the tip but this isn't a general SEO tips thread, we're talking specifically about whether or not keyword in URLs help.

    I'd like to stay on topic here if possible.

    Off Topic:

    What you're talking about is 'google bombing' and Google have pretty much put a stop to it now - A quick word about Googlebombs (from the Google Webmaster Central Blog)
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

  17. #17
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    It is one of the many factors, and I guess it does help. One of my pages rank first page (number 3) for it, without having it on any anchor text on the backlinks, and prior to onpage optimization also. No h1>h2>h3, not even on the title page, not even on the meta. It almost doesn't exist on the body text! I onpage optimized it for that keyword, and ranked number 1. It wasn't a very competitive keyword though, but it has a bit of search volume and it isn't a long tail keyword either: www.mysite.com/akeyword.html

    For more competitive keywords, backlinks and anchor weight and all the other factors add up to outshine the text in the URL.

    I also believe that having the keyword in www.keyword.com has more weight than www.site.com/keyword.html.


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