Natural Search Blog

Putting Keywords in Your URLs

Recently Matt Cutts blogged that:

doing the query [] returns some urls like /Blog/cns!D85741BB5E0BE8AA!174.entry . In general, urls like that sometimes look like session IDs to search engines. Most bloggy sites tend to have words from the title of a post in the url; having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.

He then clarified his statement above, in the comments of that post:

Tim, including the keyword in the url just gives another chance for that keyword to match the user’s query in some way. That’s the way I’d put it.

What does this mean? It means that from Google’s perspective, keywords in your URLs are a useful thing to have. It’s another “signal” and can provide ranking benefits.

How should you separate these keywords? Not with underscores, that’s for sure. Matt Cutts has previously gone on the record to say that Google does not treat underscores as word separators. Use hyphens instead. Or plus signs would be okay too.

Also, I’d avoid too many hyphens in the URL, as that can look spammy. Try to keep it to three or fewer. Unless your site is powered by WordPress, in which case Google probably makes an exception for that, given how popular it is and how many legitimate bloggers have loads of hyphens in their permalink URLs. By the way, you can trim those down using the Slug Trimmer plugin for WordPress.


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