According to Google’s John Mueller, “The SEO effect of keywords in the URL is minimal once the content is indexed. Make URLs that work for your users, not for SEO.” Google has previously stated that keywords in URLs are a small factor and an overrated SEO factor.
What this means for your business is that you do not need to create SEO specific or SEO targeted URLs for your site. Stick to URLs that your customer base will remember and use. Afterall, they are the most important aspect of your business.
Should I Change My URL?
In addition, changing URLs might hurt your rankings. Google considers this a migration and has to re-index the website every time the URL changes.
Even as far back as 2006 Matt Cutts, also with Google, stated almost the same thing, saying that “including the keyword in the URL just gives another chance for that keyword to match the user’s query in some way.” Nothing more, nothing less.
As further clarification, when asked about changing URLs that are fairly lengthy and difficult to remember, John Mueller said “I’d recommend not changing them, if you’d just change them for SEO reasons.” In other words, if the sole purpose of the URL change is for SEO purposes, the change will not make much, if any, difference. Some business, however, change the URL for the sake of memorability and ease of use. These changes have merit. However, companies need to view that change as a migration.
How Important Are URL Keywords Really?
In another discussion online, Mueller said about keywords “I believe that is a very small ranking factor. So it is not something I’d really try to force. And it is not something I’d say is even worth your effort to restructure your sire just so you can get keywords in your URL.”
What this all means is that if your site has already been indexed by Google, it is not worth the time or effort to change any URLs to include keywords just for SEO purposes. However, if you are building a new site, you can use keywords in your URLs to give your site an additional boost in query matching.
One thing to remember with SEO and keywords is that it is possible to use keywords too many times. Google’s algorithm is very particular in how it analyzes your website and articles. If Google finds the keyword too many times in a single page, the search engine classifies the page as spam. Once Google indexes a page as spam, the site drops in the rankings in Search Engine Results Pages. In other words, if your keyword is already present several times in the page or article, do not worry about changing the URL for SEO purposes as this could actually do more harm then good to your overall SEO profile.