Recently, there has been an abnormally high amount of buzz regarding the use of keywords in your urls. We have known for some time that this is likely to provide a small amount of weight for search ranking. However, until recently it was pretty much guesswork. Check the video below where Matt Cutts tells us flat out that there is in fact some help from keywords in urls… But watch the video and note his caution as well.
Creating even more buzz on the subject of inserting keywords in your urls comes Yahoo, who has filed a patent application with the called Techniques for Tokenizing URLs.
TECHNIQUES FOR TOKENIZING URLS
Techniques are described for tokenizing a corpus of URLs of web documents. URLs are first tokenized based upon specified generic delimiters to form components. The components are then tokenized using website-specific delimiters. Website-specific delimiters are any non-alphanumerical symbol or a unit change that is specific to a particular website. Support for website-specific delimiters and the tokens resulting from website-specific delimiters are calculated. Support values for website-specific delimiters and the tokens above a specified threshold value are valid. Tokenization may also be performed by generating a graph of the corpus of URLs of web documents. Each node of the graph represents a token and each edge represents a delimiter of the URLs. The graph is traversed and the support of the edges are compared to a specified threshold value. If the support of an edge of a node is greater, then the token corresponding to the node is valid.
So, what does this mean….. If you ask me, it means that Google and Yahoo appear to lend some weight to keyword rich urls. I would see no purpose in Yahoo extracting keywords from urls on crawl if there is no algorithmic purpose…. But draw your own conclusion.
Lastly, lets finish up with some do’s and don’ts for url structuring.
- Do limit the keywords to 5 or less…. I am thinking 3 is plenty, you want people to be able to use your urls in truncated form fields… right?
- Do use dashes —- instead of underscores ___ to separate words.
- Do not overuse the keywords in the url…. This frankly looks spammy to searchers in the SERPs and search engines as well.
- Do not expect to rank for the keywords in your urls without good old fashioned on page relevancy support for them…. You would just fail.
- Most important rule….. Spamming your urls will accomplish nothing, except perhaps soft rank results. Think about the user. I can certainly agree that from a searchers perspective the urls with keywords look to add relevancy and support for the page from the search results. I can also tell you that if your url is cut off and Google gives it the … continued sign on the search results page, that searchers will not be impressed as well.