tedster - 3:41 pm on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)
Don't give me any crap about not having keywords in the URI either.
I almost spit coffee on my keyboard, pageone! I just had a big go-round with a development team yesterday about this very topic. It's one of those "everyone knows" ideas that I say just isn't true. From what I can see, keyword-in-path (not keyword-in-domain, that's another story) is not a primary relevance signal, but rather it is used as a second level or merely reinforcing signal.
When URL rewriting gives you the ability to create any URL you want for any resource, how could it be otherwise? It's almost as vaporous as the keyword meta-tag. What I see websites doing is creating unnecessarily long URLs just to jam their keywords in -- and then what happens? Google truncates it in the visible SERP anyway, or gives you a breadcrumb trail instead. Have you noticed how short those display URLs are in the Google SERPs these days?
For my money, the URL is mostly one of your click magnets, and that is its most important function - for people, not for the algo. The important keyword signals for the algo are elsewhere -- in the title, on the page, in anchor text, in semantically co-occurring phrases, etc. And the URL does NOT need to reflect the breadcrumb navigation.