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Does the format of URL help ranking? How much?

     

jjwdesign

3:50 am on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I've been looking around at several CMS programs lately (PHP/MySQL), but no matter what CMS, I always notice how horrible the URL's always tend to look. Even with some of the SEO hack/plugins, the URLs tend to be very long with several directory levels. I've always considered the multi-level directory paths to be a negative in regards to the Google Algo and the pages ranking (SERPS). Is this still the case today?

Is something like:
www.example.com/keyword_page.html

Better than:
www.example.com/2010/02/keyword_page.html

How about:
www.example.com/keyword_dir1/keyword_dir2/keyword_dir3/keyword_page.html

Am I worrying too much about this factor?

Thanks, Jeff

[edited by: tedster at 3:52 am (utc) on Feb 25, 2010]
[edit reason] change to example.com - it cannot be owned [/edit]

tedster

3:58 am on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I'd say the format of the URL (the apparent directory structure and depth) was possibly a factor years ago. But it's a lot like the keyword meta tag - the site owner can do pretty much whatever they want. So the format itself has no ranking pop at all today.

Keywords in the file path "may" still have a small value for ranking, but they have much more value for getting the search user to click on the result. That said, I doubt that you can get a page to rank only with keywords in the file path. If the factor is at play in the algo, then it's a kind of extra added "cherry on top" but it's not the ice cream. In other words, it might confirm relevance that was already determined by other factors.

jjwdesign

4:53 pm on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



What about having "related" pages, or on-topic pages, in the same directory? I've always felt that related pages of content should be "in" the same directory.

Isn't:
www.example.com/dir1/page1.html
www.example.com/dir1/page2.html

Better than:
www.example.com/dir1/page1/
www.example.com/dir1/page2/

Since they relate by a shared dir?

[edited by: tedster at 9:21 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2010]
[edit reason] swirxh to example.com - it can never be owned [/edit]

tedster

9:24 pm on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I don't see any evidence of that kind of factor. Since URLs can essentially contain anything that the site owner wants, I doubt that Google would use that kind of logic in the ranking algo. They're going to look at the actual page content, titles, links and anchor text, etc, to see what is related.

jjwdesign

11:57 pm on Feb 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I agree with your logic. I'm just talking from experience. I've seen the shorter, non-dir-leveled pages in my site(s) rank better and get more traffic from Google. Maybe I'm assuming that it's the directories. Could it be the URL lenght? It could also just be the human factor of searching on Google - short is sweet.