Should You Use Targeted Keywords in URL?
Do Search Engines Look at Keywords in URL?
As you know search engines algorithms look at over 100 criteria. If you read forums about Search Engine Optimization, you will see that some SEO recommend to use keywords in URL and other claim it is useless. The problem is that no one have made real test (or have not published it?). We have decided to run some tests in order to make sure that words in URL is one criteria for search engines algorithms.
Below are the tests we made
As we were only focused on one item (keyword in URL) we have decided:
- To create webpages with the same look and feel of our other webpages
- To create webpages with the "word" rkpatjfg in the URL (directories and file names)
- To avoid the word rkpatjfg in the body text and head text of these pages
- To link to these new pages without using the word rkpatjfg in the anchor text
Before we started our test, we searched for rkpatjfg in Google, MSN beta, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Teoma, WiseNut, Exalead (AOL.fr) and Voila. There were no results on these search engines.
A few days later, Google, MSN beta and Exalead indexed our new web pages. Yahoo! also indexed one of them. So we did the same search for rkpatjfg on these search engines.
See all the results in our search engine ranking report.
- Google, MSN (beta), Yahoo! and Exalead take into account the words in the URL.
- The other search engines (Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Teoma, WiseNut and Voila) have not yet crawled our webpages so at this time we do not know yet. Anyway, as soon as their spider crawls our webpages we will update this article.
- This test shows that keywords in URL are taken into account by Google, MSN (beta), Yahoo! and Exalead algorithms.
- This test does not show how much it helps for your ranking compared to other criteria.
- When constructing URL directory and URL file names, use targeted and relevant keywords.
- If you use several keywords in your URLs, use hyphens as dividers and not underscores. Read our article about Hyphens and Underscores
- One month after our web pages were added, the following search engines has not yet crawled our test pages! Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Teoma, WiseNut, Voila.
- Google, MSN beta and Exalead were the fastest to index our new web pages.
Related articles and tools we have used for this test
- Ranking report is generated by Agent Web Ranking
- Google test : hyphen or underscore
- Robotstats is a free application analysing the web robots on your site
- Search Engine Relationship Chart (tm) from Bruceclay.com
- If you have tested this query on other search engines, feel free to give the results in this post's comments
Olivier Duffez is an SEO consultant specialized on Google. Working on the Internet since 1997, he created in 2002 Web Rank Info, a free SEO resources French community (+230,000 members), and in 2003 his company Web Rank Expert.
He's giving SEO conferences in Ranking Metrics and wrote a book about Google and SEO in 2004.