Keywords in the URL path name were also important for SEO once upon a time, but Google's Matt Cutts says that today, it is not as much of an issue. Today, he says to focus more on keywords inside the actual HTML document. The article goes on to say: It may be tempting to stuff keywords into your URLs (for example, https://example.com/cool-keyword-in-url ), but this isn't very friendly for users or search engines. The next section talks about how using directories instead of subdomains can help reduce confusion and improve indexing. Subdomains are often treated like completely different websites by search engines - you can use them effectively, but it's good to remember that they're separate entities.
If you use subdomains, consider using the /directory/ path instead of subdirectories (for example, https://example.com/directory/ ). This makes it easier for search engines to understand which sections of your website are unique content and index them accordingly. It can also help reduce user confusion about where they've landed on your website.
"The need for keywords in URLs is slowly decreasing over time."
-Matt Cutts, Google 2010 video on Keywords in URL | Search Engine Journal Note: Only one resource was used as background information for this article, but multiple resources were used to "compare and contrast" different opinions on this new topic that has recently come up. You can view the differences between the opinions in the section titled Further research.
Google Webmaster Central Blog discusses using keywords in your site’s URLs, and makes their opinion clear that it is not necessary to use keywords in URL paths, but they agree with Matt Cutts, saying it has little lasting value for your SEO campaign. Even so, they suggest "if you have important content pages on a given topic you should give them unique URLs", which means instead of having several similar or duplicate posts on one page (or blog post), each should have its own URL. They also continue to say that while keywords in URLs are not important just yet, if Google does choose to consider this factor again, then obviously the old urls aren't going to be helpful anymore.
Here are some additional resources for further research on the topic of keywords in URLs:
Keywords in URL path versus filename?: Do They Help or Hurt SEO? - Moz Q&A with Rand Fishkin about using keywords in the URL vs using them in the filename Keyword placement in URL paths - A case study by Search Engine Land Why do I need to use keyword-rich URLs? - Bing Webmaster Tools Tip sheet Google search & SERP overview practices A Practical Guide to Local Search Ranking Factors 2012 - Moz What's Next For SEO In 2014? - Forbes ___________________________________________________________________________________ __________ *This article is written entirely from scratch, and does not contain any word-for-word copying. It is also not intended to be copied verbatim. If you do choose to copy this article, please be sure to rewrite it in your own words while keeping the same information intact. Thank you! :)
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I have had a big response from this post so I decided to write a follow up blog post where I explain exactly how Google handles keywords in the URL path versus the filename: http://www.littelkiki.com/keywords-in-urls-path-vs-filename/ ...When you search for "How to make brownies" what does Google do?... It treats them as two different pages with entirely two different purposes, even though they both contain the words "how to make brownies".... On one page you will find recipes that includes instructions on how to make brownies. On the other, you will find lists of ingredients along with images for brownies. One page is all about how much chocolate you should use in your recipe and the other is a simple ingredient list with no directions.... As I mentioned before Google uses keywords in URL paths as a way to determine what the page/website is all about. For example, if you are looking for recipes that include pictures then google would suggest you search for something like "easy healthy recipes" or "summer recipes"... ...I hope this makes it more clear on that Google does not handle these types of urls using keyword matching but rather by using them as hints to help us figure out which page is most relevant...