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URL do’s and don’ts

Alex Christie

28 January 2008

The guys over at the Google webmaster-central blog have confirmed a few things and squashed a few rumours about URL’s. I have summarised what I thought were the main points from the article.

  • When choosing URL’s it is purely a matter of personal preference whether to use subdomains or subdirectories – subdirectories are much easier to implement and maintain, so these are used more often.
  • Use dashes as separators. Google tries to treat all punctuation marks as separators but it has been noticed that an underscore, among others, is sometimes not treated as such – rather stick to dashes to be sure.  Google says that it may even be able to extract words from strings like “/myfavoritemovies/bambi.html” but it is not always accurate and concatenated URL’s like this should be avoided.
  • Make sure you include your keywords in the URL’s, it is logical to include the main subjects of your page in the URL of the page itself. “/dogs/breeds/huskies.html” is a far better URL than “/data/tier2/hsky.html”

It is important to remember that Google tries to emulate human behavior when it indexes your site so the easier you make it for a person to see what the page is about – the better indexed your site will be.

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