My site has been running for about 8 years. I currently use this format for displaying a particular testimonial:
But recently I've wondered if I should switch to a format like this using mod_rewrite:
Is there good evidence to suggest this kind of format is preferred by the search engines? Would this ruin any SEO ranking that I may have built up for each page over the years? What about Facebook? If many people have liked my pages with the existing format, would I have to start over with building up the total number of likes if I change to the new URL format?
Can anyone offer some advice that has gone through this before?
From what i read, the search engines look also in the URL address for the searched keywords, so, it is better to have the article name in the URL address.
But if you make this change, you'll loose the backlinks of old URLs, but, perhaps a 301 redirect can help.
1 URL with keywords is always better than a URL without keywords. Search engines love keywords in the URL.
2 If you change your URLs or I say if you redirect your old URLs to new URLs then you may see a drop in your rankings. After some time of permanent redirection, link juice will be transferred to the new URLs. When your new URLs will receive link juice then they will rank again higher in search engines.
3 You won't have any problem in Facebook too because you are just doing a redirection from old format to new one. All users will be moved be new URL.
You can surely change your URL format
Both can work. Keywords in the URL are good, but that doesn't mean that if there isn't any keyword found in your URL, it's not going to be ranked anymore. There are other factors other than the URL structure that can make your site appear in the search results.
I don't generally like "verbose" URLs that unnecessarily add words into the URL. Sure, if you have a structured site where files and folders are known by names rather than numbers then yes, go for concise worded URLs. But where you have continually added articles or UGC, it can start to become impractical to have concise and unique URLs, so inevitably you move to a numerical ID for each page. Once you get there, I would ditch the keywords – or at the very least make the words optional and make it very clear that they are optional.
There are plenty of places where you want a URL that is short and snappy, and easy for people to type in, such as printed material and tweets. Sure, people can use URL-shorteners, but which looks more professional and trustworthy – bit.ly/xY7ds2 or oil-testimonials.com/7496? I know which one I would rather use. If you have long URLs they become unmanageable in many contexts, whereas short ones remain usable pretty much all the time.
Yes, there may be a minute SEO advantage to having your keywords in the URL. But quite honestly, it's so small that if Google and searchers can't figure out whether your page is relevant based on the title, description and content, having those words in the URL isn't going to be enough to help you.
As others have said – if you do decide to change the URL format, set up a redirect that ensures the old addresses still get you to the right page, and then you won't lose any juice from old links, and you won't lose ranking (other than maybe a minor brief dip as Google figures out what you've done) in the search engines.
Article names included are better, because then you are usually target the keyword in the article and it gets indexed better on the SE
This topic is now archived. It is frozen and cannot be changed in any way.