August 5, 2010

Evidence that Static, User Friendly URL’s are Still better

[This blog post is a rewrite of a Swedish post by Magnus Bråth who published his findings on the Swedish SEO blog sokmotorkonsult.se. If you want to do the same with any of my blog posts into your own language, please ask first.]

It is not usual that I do rewrites on this blog. However, since I get the question about static vs. dynamic URLs a lot, I thought this post might be interesting to rewrite for those of you who don’t speak Swedish. Magnus Bråth, a Swedish SEO, with many years experience of building competitive performances within various sick verticals, made this tiny little test to see whether or not there was any sense in the assumption that Google didn’t give any extra value to static or “user friendly urls”. Google say’s that they can read the dynamic ones equally well. As usual, a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that it was now as good to use dynamic urls. Some even said it would be better to use them. For some complex calendar or forum indexing this might actually hold. However, what Magnus found was that if you can keep the keywords in your URL, you are better off than if you don’t.

SEO blogMagnus test virtually went down something like this:

  1. He wrote a blog post that he wanted to make rank for the Swedish keyword “installera antivirus” which logically means “install antivirus”.
  2. The URL contains the keyword “installera antivirus”
  3. Nothing in the post else than this includes the first of the two words “installera” of the keyword
  4. However, when you search for “installera antivirus” the post ends up as number 1

Perhaps Magnus only wants to show the strength of his blog but regardless of his reasons, this helps us draw the natural conclusion that it does effect indexing (at least, if not rankings as well) to use static and user friendly urls. If it wouldn’t then his post simply wouldn’t rank or be indexed due to the keyword being placed solely in the URL.

This also means that those of you talking about going to Google to know what the best advice on SEO is for the moment, just might consider thinking twice before talking to loudly. It just might be so that they “just don’t tell the truth” all the time.

A simple but effective test to display something that a lot of people are thinking. Thank you Magnus for spending some time for sharing this test.

10 Comments
  • Magnus, August 5, 2010 Reply

    What surprises me most with this result is not that the test actually worked, what surprises me is that it seems no one else has made this test (at least not presented it to the public). Tests like these are fairly simple to do and even though this one does not show that URL is important, at least it shows that it is a factor.

  • Matt McGee, August 5, 2010 Reply

    Do we know for sure that there are no inbound links (from other sites, or within the same site) that have the keyword in the anchor text?

    • Jesper Astrom, August 5, 2010 Reply

      I think Magnus can leave the definitive answer to that, but he wouldn't write it up if that was the case... inbound links would have too much of an effect and would sort of ruin the purpose of the post and the test :)

    • Magnus, August 5, 2010 Reply

      Yes, this is for natural reasons one of the things that were considered in the test. No links to the post what so ever except a few automatic ones from blog services, all of them with the title as anchor text and no co citation worth mentioning.

  • Hessam, August 6, 2010 Reply

    The message Google was trying to convey was that webmaster don't necessary need to rewrite their URLs to get indexed/rank well. This came after Google's webmaster team found that many webmasters couldn't implement rewrites properly and managed to mess up the indexation in the process.

    I think Google's general approach to SEO is still the most useful one, i.e: Keep It Simple!
    :)

    • Jesper Astrom, August 6, 2010 Reply

      Probably "Listen - but don't follow suit" would probably be my recommendation. The one solid advice one can always give is to "test your ideas and you shall find a way" :). But I agree... keep it simple is pretty general as well... at least with regard to goals :)

  • Carl-Gustav, August 6, 2010 Reply

    There is still a lot of simple solutions in the sophisticated word of getting the message from a to z.

    Sometimes the simple solution of standing outside is just opening the door and most of them sems unlocked to a person who have a straight offer.

  • cyanzone, August 9, 2010 Reply

    This is true. I like static links. Google is trying to play safe.

  • gdnf, August 16, 2010 Reply

    Wow nice!

    If the word "installera" is a part of the natural association cluster, since install i guess is one of the most common things to do with antivirus besides scanning the hd, then it might show i find it reasonable to belive. Having just changed URL it will be interesting to see if we can fight with the worlds strongest opponents in a small field, with this strange URL.

    It is always good to find persons who have exactly so long legs that they perfectly the ground, i guess Magnus is one of the few, making things go steadily forward instead of just guessing from the blue. Cred to Magnus. :)

    • Magnus, August 21, 2010 Reply

      Thank you for that - most metrics are surprisingly easy to measure when it comes to ranking factors. This test is an example for this but it can easily be done for most on site factors. Strangely most SEOs don't bother or forget that you need to keep track of what you are actually measuring, getting the results all mixed up because the tests are flawed.


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