SEO Tactic to Avoid #2: Faking URL Rewrites

Posted by Jason Ciment

Tuesday, 06.30.2009 2:45pm

Today’s SEO tip is about the importance of using discretion in all of your URL writing.

Let’s face it – even the most diligent SEO guru has a lazy moment or two. Spurred on by that devilish voice in your head, it takes all of your will power to deny taking the easy way out when it comes to handpicking keywords to put in your URL. What you want to do is throw a few directories in front of your previously existing URL; what you should do is take the time to rewrite the elements that actually propel the page’s content. Although that tiny addition to your URL seems completely harmless, you have been warned! True, if the legacy URLs are redirected to the new keyword URL to maintain link popularity and de-index the legacy URLs, you’ll probably see no consequences. Sure, your now much longer URL will probably get indexed and therefore be free of any impact, but beware! You would hate to be accused of the ultimate sin: keyword stuffing!

The best way to avoid keyword stuffing is to keep it simple. A URL of four or five words that sounds natural can be perfectly normal. I would warn against using a URL that looks like this: https://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/feb/23/honda-formula-one-bernie-ecclestone-richard-branson-jenson-button-bruno-senna-mercedes-benz, (yes, this is actually real). First off, it’s just too long. No one would ever physically type a URL of that length if they saw it in print. Second, it looks spammy! A URL like that combined with this particular site, itself, is constantly losing credibility. Not only are almost all of The Guardian’s URL’s typically like this, but its articles are full of pointless and annoying links. Generally, it’s very easy to associate these over-stuffed and obnoxious URLs with a lack of value. Is sacrificing quality really worth a few measly SEO points? Make sure to consider keyword proximity and density before writing your URLs to avoid sacrificing the integrity of your website. Stick with keywords and leave out the junk – adverbs, adjectives, pronouns – think about exactly what your target audience is looking for and what they would type into Google to find it.

Here are a few examples of search engine friendly linking, which is really easy to do when use a content management system that enables you to just type in the keywords you want to use in your URL, and it creates the links for you. (Btw, you would not believe how many ecommerce sites still use links with SKU numbers instead of model names).







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