I was pleased to sit in a presentation by Nathan Buggia  last week at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in New York. Nathan is the Lead Program Manager for Microsoft’s Live Search Webmaster Center, and his talk was on “Getting More Traffic from Search: Advanced SEO for Developers “.
One of the more interesting things that Nathan covered were factors which provide specific benefit to page rankings in Live Search.
It was striking when he covered one element in particular: URL formatting.
Nathan stated that URLs which were shorter and which contain valuable keywords are likely to provide greater keyword relevancy benefit to pages which have them. URLs which are shorter and which have richer words that describe a page’s content work better for endusers and for marketing purposes. Users seeing a keyword-rich URL are more likely to click on them when they see them in search results page listings, because they reinforce the perception that they contain what the user is seeking. URLs also should have keywords delimited by dashes, rather than underscores or even periods.
Check out this slide from his presentation which demonstrates how keywords within the URL can provide additional signal to a page for the terms they represent:
Have difficulty in adding keyword URLs to your site? This is one of the things which GravityStream  provides automatically (or even manually-generated). GravityStream proxies a site in order to automatically optimize a great many search ranking factors, including keyword-rich URLs.