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Main keywords as the URL slug



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Main keywords as the URL slug

After hundreds of testing and published articles, especially on Wordpress blogs, I've come to the conclusion that it's for the best to NOT use the main keyword of an article in the URL slug.

Or at least, don't use it exactly as it is. Give it another form that still haves searches or use a synonym. On pages that I used a synonym for the main keywords in the URL slug did better than the ones with exact match type of keyword.

If you are using your main keyword in the title, meta description, H1 and a couple of times inside the content, I think Google sees it as over optimization if you also put it in the URL as exacted match.

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usama1993

I do not think so, you have to use the exact keyword in the URL but while creating backlinks use different keywords as anchor text. If we create all backlinks with our main keyword as an anchor text this will be harmful.




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Cristian

Just try it and you'll see changes in your rankings. Google hates over optimization and will reward natural looking URLs and content. This is why I do my best to find ways of making an article as natural as possible in the eyes of Google.




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idealmike

I find that URL slugs are helpful not just for SEO but for people too as sometimes URL's can be listed somewhere whether on a site, forum or blog but there is no title to it. In which case, having the keyword in the URL slug can help a person see what that URL/webpage is about just from the URL. This is why you should do SEO for people and not just for search engines. I only think however that over optimization is when you use that keyword more than twice in the URL or title. But it also depends on how many other words there are in that slug/title.

So for example: A title like "Buy SEO Services Online From SEO Service Providers and SEO Resellers" contains the word "SEO" three times which could be considered over optimization and keyword stuffing. Not to mention the slug could also look like "buy-seo-services-online-from-seo-service-providers-and-seo-resellers". A better title would be "Buy SEO Services from SEO Providers and Resellers Online" and you could make the slug something as simple as "buy-seo-services--seo-providers-reseller-online". That way, the title and the slug doesn't use the keyword more than twice but still uses the main keyword in the slug URL which is helpful for people (people friendly).

However, having a long title that uses the main keyword or keywords you're targeting more than twice doesn't necessarily mean it will be seen as keyword stuffing or over optimization. At the end of the day, the content on that page plays a large role in that. If you have thin content on that page that isn't very long and doesn't go into detail about other stuff connected and related to SEO for example, then it could be considered a low quality page that doesn't have much information on it and is over optimizing or keyword stuffing the URL and title.

And then of course, the backlinks that URL has, how many and the quality of them and the age of them come into play as well. But I personally disagree that using your main keywords twice only in the title and the url would mean it would be seen as over optimization or keyword stuffing. Because sometimes there is a very genuine and valid reason for including it twice as sometimes it makes the sentence more meaningful and there is no way around it.

Example: Say you're a dog trainer and you write a post with a title like "My Personal Dog Training Tips for Disobedient Dogs and Lazy Dog Owners". There is no real way to shorten that and not use the word "Dog" three times without taking away from the title. I could call it "My Personal Dog Training Tips for Disobedient Dogs and Lazy Owners" but then it's like I'm scared almost to use the word "Dog" more than twice just in case I'm punished for that and that's not how the Internet and webmasters and bloggers should be! We should be allowed to express our self in a way that seems fit and let's us do so without fear of reprisal from the giant living organism that is Google.

However, if I was to use the word more than twice in a title, I would try to make sure the actual URL slug only uses it once. So for a title like "My Personal Dog Training Tips for Disobedient Dogs and Lazy Dog Owners" I would make a URL slug like "my-personal-dog-training-tips-disobedient-lazy-owners". That way, I'm not over using (over optimizing) and stuffing in extra keywords into the URL. It contains the main words I want to rank for being "dog" and "training" and "tips" and that's people friendly without stuffing.

But of course, that is just my personal opinion and each to their own as they say. Main keywords as the URL slug




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Lynne

Thanks Mike. I think each situation is different and needs to be evaluated on its individual merits, I like to put my keywords in a few important places and then I forget about it and just write exactly what I want to say.

I have found that my method works really well for me and that is why I found this topic intriguing, because I almost always put my exact keyword into my url.

I know that stuffing the keyword in everywhere is not a good idea at all and that it is important to focus on writing naturally and for your audience first and foremost.




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EliteWriter

That was well explained Mike. I think that there is a tendency to stuff too much of a keyword, and instead of getting the desired results it ends up backfiring because too much of anything is not good. Your examples explain this topic in a practical way. I think that the main idea or let's say the general rule of thumb is to use relevant keywords and synonyms, but not repeating the same keyword more than once, or twice at most. Google is there - and it is affecting all this, and I guess these rules are always at the back of our minds, so we need to act accordingly.




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Lynne

Seriously? I have gotten my #1 Google rankings using the exact keyword in the URL.... I always use the main keyword exactly as is in the URL. But of course not all my posts have ranked #1.

I must have a think on this. Thanks for sharing your finds Cristian, I find that very interesting.




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Cristian

Try reviewing the posts that didn't go as number one. Notice if you indeed did an over-optimization and try to take it down a notch. Maybe change the URL keyword like I suggested, see if anything changes.
Then again I'm not saying don't put your exact matched keyword in the URL, I'm just saying if you already put it all over the place, maybe it isn't a good idea to have it virtually everywhere.




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Everett

The thing that gets me is when a website is still using stopwords in the URL slug. Are they aware that they don't need "the, an, a, of, or, many", etc? It makes me feel like I should contact them and ask them to hire me to fix their URLs, or code a function to remove those specific words from the URL when an article or page is posted.

I've haven't notice if the Community Discussions strips all the stopwords from the URL slugs, but as I'm typing this I see "the" in the URL slug.




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Cristian

Haha same here mate. Not a programmer, but is there any way to exclude stopwords from the URL? Apart from wordpress plugins.




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vinaya

Thank you very much for sharing your experience. Until now, I have been using my title or main keywords as the url slug. I always thought that having the title or keywords on url will help you to get ranked higher on search engines. I will have to check your findings for myself.




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