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Old 01-31-2008   #1
Chris Boggs
 
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URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Our Friday SEM Crossfire column discusses some of the top reasons to do URL Rewriting. The topic does not center around the "how," but the "why." This thread will serve as the comment and discussion area for that article: Rewriting URLs: SEO for CMS, E-Commerce, and Dynamic Sites.

Please share your opinions and thoughts!

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 02-01-2008 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 02-01-2008   #2
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Excellent article mr. boggs. while i always notice improvements in rankings when rewriting urls, i think that is not the primary reason to do it. in my opinion, the usability benefits outweigh the SEO benefits. a well written url will convey the subject matter of the page WITHOUT having to actually visit the page. Follow me -

Take the rewritten URL : http://www.markdavidny.com/sales/chelsea/2br/1/372841 for example. Immediately off the bat I know that the content of the page is a 2 bedroom, chelsea apartment for sale. Just from the URL alone, I know exactly what the subject matter of the page is.

Another example: techland.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/01/31/google-gets-its-way-with-new-wireless-network/

I know right away the summary of the article. User friendly URL's greatly improve the user experience of any website. It makes navigation easier. www.nyt.com/realestate takes away the hassle of having to find the link on the cluttered homepage. i can go directly to my destination without delay. the benefits of url rewrite are numerous and not just for SEO's!

My 2 cents.

Last edited by jewboy : 02-01-2008 at 08:03 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-02-2008   #3
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

It was a nice article Chris.
It will help a lot of people new to re -writing and SEO understand the process better.
I'm with you JewBoy but they also improve click through rates, as you mentioned in the article, off the SERPs IMO.

But I think if you get a lot of links back that are just your domain having the keyword in helps a lot.
Which would be better
yoursite/categoryPage.php?productId=23(dead link)
or
yoursite/flowers/roses.htm(dead link)

Jaza

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Old 02-02-2008   #4
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Jaza I must first commend you for your humorous "war is for boys" user title.

Thanks for the shoutouts both Jaza and Avi. Good to see you in here Avi and thanks for the cool examples. I like the second example more than the first though. You would have to be "in the biz" to understand the real estate implications of the first URL. But that is good nevertheless should someone use 2br in their search query - is that common?

Jaza for you I would say it's a no brainer that the second one is better. remember though that the page yoursite/flowers/roses.htm(dead link) will most likely do better when linked-to using anchor text including "roses." For example a nice variety of backlinks with "red roses," "fresh roses," "cheap roses," etc could help make this URL even more effective. URL rewrites for this purpose are of decent SEO value but as you hit on the usability rating is also favorable. This may help you increase clicks in PPC if used as the display URL for a roses term too.
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Old 02-02-2008   #5
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Hell yeah but if you do directory submission, a lot of mine, just use the URL.
But totally agree.
There is also forum spamming I suppose - well maybe not

Edit:
Cheers the title took me a while to think of. I thought about Oversees: Link Building; Other SE's & Directories but decided to settle on that instead.

Last edited by Jazajay : 02-02-2008 at 10:24 AM. Reason: see above
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Old 02-02-2008   #6
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

there are some arguments that shorter urls (w/o keywords in them), such as:

http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3628313
http://searchengineland.com/080201-154820.php
http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/cas/555128523.html
http://www.shimonsandler.com/?p=365

which are all sites VERY well loved and ranked by the engines, are actually preferred.

your thoughts on the short URLs vs. long URLs argument?
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Old 02-02-2008   #7
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

You may want to edit the craigs list buddy
Didn't know shemales where part of SEO It's an honest mistake I imagine.

The best reason for short URL's IMO is this -
imagine you had to go on radio what would be better for advertising your business/website

For all your boating needs go to www dot boating needs dot com forward slash product page dot php question mark id equals 29

or

for all your boating needs go to www dot boating needs dot com forward slash boats.

If large rewritten urls are used, instead or short unwritten urls, click trough's because of them cant be counted. People wont sit and read them 90% of the time.

ie
yousite/dir/page.php?id=2345
or
yoursite/dir/this-items-name-is-really-really-long-i-give-up-reading-it/
this-items-name-is-really-really-long-i-give-up-reading-it/
this-items-name-is-long
their was a site about 6 months back that had re-written urls like

A friend of mine about four months ago, been using the net for years, said wouldn't it be nice if they showed the site's web page address in the listings he had honestly never seen them. They are small and peoples eyes tend to be drawn to the top bolded title. I very rarely look at the URL if I'm looking for something specific so If a url is short, naturally, and not going to give the SE problems yeah you could keep them unwritten.

But I wouldn't for security purposes. One of the main reasons I use mod_rewrite is for SBO, security by obscurity, not SEO. I don't relie on it by any means but a page url such as
yoursite/includes/rate.php?message=please-rate-this-item
tells me more than
yoursite/please-rate-this-item.htm

What if I typed in
yoursite/includes/passwords.php||.inc?
or changed message=please-rate-this-item.htm
message=<script>steel cookies</script>

So as I re-write the URL's for that reason I might as well lobs some keywords in. I suppose it depends on your site if it is worth it or not. If a URL is well established would changing it to a re-written one via a rewrite and a 301 be worth it probably not.

Last edited by Jazajay : 02-02-2008 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 02-02-2008   #8
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Here's the thread with the long URL.
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...23&postcount=6

hisSite/iran/loneliness_of_ibreliaism would be a lot better and convey the same message. Granted this is rewritten

or his unwritten url of
hisSite/node/5335


Hover over it and you will see what I mean

Last edited by Jazajay : 02-02-2008 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 02-06-2008   #9
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Sorry folks have been quite busy but want to continue this conversation ASAP. In short Avi, I think the length of the URL is but one factor, and probably pretty low on the totem pole. I would think that making such a generalization could lead you down the wrong path - perhaps avoiding the use of a keyword rich subdirectory structure when it could be very valuable based on the competition, for example. Basically like many other subjects it comes down to the particular industry and the competition both overall and on the keyword level.

Jaza you bring up some valid points as to reasons to consider a shorter URL - hinting beyond technical and SEO value to some degree it seems on the subject of user experience. This could make a difference in the overall traffic to the site once the pages are ranking. I do not have time to read the whole thread you are referencing below but it looks like some deep technical advice in there too, for anyone interested.

I'll be back for more...
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Old 02-18-2008   #10
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

I would also like to ask all of you for your opinion in regards to using underscores or dashes in the rewritten urls. Opinions?
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Old 02-18-2008   #11
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Re: URL Rewrites - Why Do Them?

Hyphens for me.
Matt Cutts - just some guy who works at Google - 2005 -
Quote:
Lots of computer programming languages have stuff like _MAXINT, which may be different than MAXINT. So if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even “word1 word2″.
I haven't heard that it has changed since then.

Jaza

Last edited by Jazajay : 02-18-2008 at 08:54 PM.
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