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i wouldn't obsess about it to the level of, you know, how deep is the url in the path
matt cutts goes on to add that you should be more concerned about having great content to which other sites will want to link.
i have always heard suggestions along the lines of having keywords as close to the root directory as possible; i have even seen where keyword domains rank with little optimization;
The URL itself is less of a signal these days, and so thinking too much about where in the URL keywords appear is probably too finicky.
However, as with any question that affects URLs, you need to make sure your URLs serve their major purpose as a user route into your site. If you have meaningful but short URLs, that should help SEO.
Generally, I would read from right to left in a URL - going from most specific information to least specific. So, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRzMhlFZz9I is not great. www.youtube.com/entertainment/very-funny would tell a user (and a search engine) that you had something very funny, filed under entertainment, in a site named youtube.
A quick test that can help you evaluate the search engine impact of keywords in URLs is to compare results for a keyword to results for the same search without the keyword in the URL, e.g.
Any domain can rank with little optimisation if it has enough inbounds from the right sites.
lol; i actually catalog ibl's as optimization; so i meant to say i have seen keyword domains rank without many if not any ibl's, or a similar amount of ibl's to their competition.
weird, i still see 'widget' in url's on the second query.
weird, i still see 'widget' in url's on the second query
Some of that is related to the highlighting function - separate from the relevance functionality and which will highlight words not matched by the query directly. The rest is related to query expansion (plurals, joined words, other stemming variations etc.). And the final element is that any advanced search has not returned accurate or precise results on Google for a number of years.
The results should still be representative though ;)