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Should You Use Targeted Keywords in URLs

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of December 2004 Search Engine Optimization 4

‘Should You Use Targeted Keywords In URLs?’ – This is actually a question I’ve been asked on numerous occassions by bloggers wanting to optimize their blogs for Search Engines. The theory is that if you are writing a blog about matchsticks that your ranking will be higher if you domain name has ‘matchsticks’ in the URL.

Nice theory – but does it work? Has anyone tested it?

It seems that now we can back the theory up with a test run by WebProNews who found that at least in the case of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN that keywords in URL do help.

So how does this impact the way we blog? In my mind there are a number of take home messages in this:

1. Pick your domain name wisely when starting up a blog. I learned this the hard way with one of my blogs which I started on the run one day and later changed the focus of. I now have a blog with a domain name that barely relates to my site – DOH!

2. Try to configure your blog so that keywords of individual posts feature in the permalinks of each page. For example you’ll see that this blog uses the title of each individual post in the URL. When I swapped to this method of setting up my URLs I noticed a 30% increase in traffic inside of a week to my blogs – it really does work.

3. Keywords in URLs are not the be all and end all. I mentioned in point 1 that I have a blog that doesn’t have appropriate keywords in its URL – I should also mention here that that blog is my most highly visited blog and earns more than all of my other blogs put together. The message therefore is to take a balanced approach to Search Engine Optimization. Keywords in URLs are just one of many (some say hundreds) of factors in getting your blog ranked highly on google.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Does it matter if the words are hyphenated or run together, i.e problogger vs. pro-blogger?

  2. Googelizer says: 06/08/2005 at 1:55 pm

    sorry im new in adsense , how do i use keywords for those high paying clicks ? sorry . currently each click of mine is around 0.7 cents

  3. In response to Roger’s question (albeit a long time back): Yes it matters if they are hyphenated or run together. Hyphenated is the way to go. Search engines can’t interpret this keywordsinaurl at all, but this keywords-in-a-url they know and love. Just thought I’d post that tip.

  4. I have a question about the individual blog post addresses you are mentioning here.
    When I first opened my site http://www.tempsurgeon.com/ I used the individual name posts for URLs like you have it.
    Then I read somewhere that it is actually counterproductive when working with search engines. I didn’t think so but still changed it back to ?p=17 format and now am wondering that since I am now in search engines pointing to separate posts, if I change my URL structure to how you have it or how I used to have it set up, will this cause problems for marketing, keywords, links, SE results, and also analytics.
    I think I would much rather have the structure that you have but am not sure if this is going to hurt me in the long run.

    Thank you,
    Vitaliy Dadalyan
    http://www.tempsurgeon.com/
    Temporary Locum Tenens surgical jobs

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