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Why URLs Should Contain Your Keywords

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Move off the Home page and take a look at another one of your web page URLs. Which of these most closely resembles your URL?

(A) http://www.XYZCompany.com/8.0.html

(B) http://www.XYZCompany.com/index.php?page=media_article&n_id=24

(C) http://www.XYZCompany.com/product-line

(D) http://www.XYZCompany.com/keyword-keyword-keyword

Those of you who said D get an A.

Primary Keyword Phrases Belong in URLs

content-optimizationKeywords in URLs will help you rank higher on Google – don’t squander this content optimization opportunity. when you add new Web pages or redo your site. Stick to three to five keywords per URL. Using more than that will look strange to human readers and may even get the page penalized by Google.

How important are keywords in URLs? Nobody knows for sure. The SEO impact analysis can get technical, quite technical indeed. Here’s a short video from Matt Cutts that puts it into plain English – at least as far as blogs and URLs go.

Beyond Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

But there’s more to it than search engine optimization. Keyword placement in URLs is human reader friendly.

Remember, keyword phrases are words people use on search engines when they’re looking for what you offer. You want searchers to see those words, not a bunch of weird looking code. Keyword optimization is aimed at search engines, but side benefits for human readers may be just as important.

Humans do look at URLs. How can http://www.XYZCompany.com/index.php?page=media_article&n_id=24 be better than http://www.XYZCompany.com/keyword-keyword-keyword?

Why say nothing when you can say something? And if you’re going to say something, say something valuable. http://www.XYZCompany.com/product-line certainly says something. http://www.XYZCompany.com/hand-crafted-jewelry-products says a whole lot more.

It’s little details like this that add up to 100 new site visitors (i.e., potential customers) a month rather than 50 or 30 or none.

Should you change URLs on your site in order to include keywords? Step one is to evaluate the search engine performance of your site as it is. If you’re getting lots of qualified traffic and pages are ranking reasonably well, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. If your site is not performing well or is fairly new, changing URLs could make a dramatic difference when combined with other SEO best practices. Blogs are easy, because you can start paying attention to URLs and choosing keywords with care as quickly as the next post.