URL importance

I’ve been telling everyone that will listen over the past few weeks about the importance of having your keywords in your domain and URLs. I spent a few hours last week rewriting a client’s URLs and doing 301 redirects for all of their pages, and they saw a dramatic increase in ranking position. Then, yesterday, Google announces that rewriting URLs from dynamic to static shouldn’t be done and that it is a myth that dynamic URLs cannot be crawled (thanks to Mike from Groove Commerce for bringing this up last night at the meetup).

I find this a little hard to believe, and judging by some of the comments that were left:

1. Ready for the controversy? I think this is a ridiculous article coming from you guys! To say we shouldn’t rewrite URLs because we may rewrite irresponsibly. Seriously?

2. I have to agree. This article is very confusing to say the least. Rewriting brings huge benefits for keyword rich URLs over a standard query string every day of the week.

3. Clever guys, to do your 2009 April fools joke in September of ’08!

4. and of course: Isn’t it sort of ironic that this very blog post has a rewritten URL?

I’m not the only one. Do a Google search for almost anything and I would be willing to bet that one of the top five results have that keyword in the domain or URL somewhere (depending on the competition of the keyword of course).

Example? A search for Maryland SEO; the usual suspects who have been ranked for years with great content and backlinks are there, along with a few new sites which do happen to have some good onsite content and links, but SEO is in the domain.

On-page SEO factors like meta, keyword, and alt image tags, internal link structure, titles, and content are all very important, but in my opinion, the most important on-page factor currently is the keyword placement in URLs and especially the domain.

Baltimore SEO was the strategy at first, but after thinking hard about what keywords I want to include in my next site, I think it will be a good chance to test this theory. Stay tuned.

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