Keyword Weight in URLs

By Melanie Prough on Thursday, December 17, 2009
Filed Under: Zen Cart SEO

A recent look at the probable weight for different positions of keywords in URLs with the top 3 search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) suggests what I have thought to be very true regarding keywords in URLs.

Got Spam?

SEO URLs, as they are so called, did start out as an optimization measure to help search engines crawl the dynamic parameters in our shopping cart URLs. The keywords being included in the rewritten URLS were only a logical usability feature…. The keyword spamming in URLs came a bit later and has never left. I have actually seen store URLs with 10 keywords in them…. But alas, as we have been preaching, little or no weight is given to these spammy filenames!

The findings of this study were very inline with the ranking factors we have already believed to be true.

Keywords in the domain name: This is a sticky subject. We know that keyword(s) in your domain name are associated with better rank, but the addition of dashes and oddly phrased words is a much bigger hindrance than help. Overall, if keywords in your domain name are logical, easy to say and spell, short and reasonable, then go for it… If not choose a short, easy to spell (phonic) and memorable domain name instead. Hey look no rewriting necessary!

Weight by Engine:

  • Google 30%
  • Bing 40%
  • Yahoo 30%

Keywords in folders – directories: Creating logically named folders just makes good sense, this is apparently rewarded by the search engines as well. Logically speaking, it makes perfect sense that directories are viewed as related but separate topical content part of the whole and proper naming adds keyword weight.

Weight by Engine:

  • Google 40%
  • Bing 50%
  • Yahoo 30%

Keywords in subdomains: While subdomains are essentially folders… Less weight seems to be awarded to them. I guess in my opinion there is little needs for subdomains containing content pages as they are better suited as a part of the whole for the purpose of authority and size. There are times when a subdomain is applicable, but content pages will serve you better in a directory/folder.

Weight by Engine:

  • Google 0%
  • Bing 0%
  • Yahoo 20%

Keywords in page/filenames: This is going to be a shocker for some… But skip it! Using keywords in your page names has a very, very low ranking weight. Matt Cutts from Google has clearly stated that keywords in page names have little if any affect on your search rank. I think that short and logically rewritten filenames for your cart is a solid decision…. But I cannot stress the SHORT part enough.

Weight by Engine:

  • Google 10%
  • Bing 10%
  • Yahoo 10%

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One Response to “Keyword Weight in URLs”

  1.  Ecommerce for All - Best of 2009 | E-Commerce for All Says:

    […] do not understand and can be taken advantage of with. I also suggest you read this post, on our marketing blog regarding the weight given to keywords in different parts of your urls. Also, this post reveals […]

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