Google recently gave more assistance to webmasters, if you can call it that, concerning url rewriting, or changing dynamic variable filled URL to more search engine friendly, more human readable static looking URLS (OK, URI).
They actually could be interpreted as recommending not to rewrite a website urls, because there is a chance you could screw things up.
They busted some ‘myths’ too;
- Myth: “Dynamic URLs cannot be crawled.” (knew that)
- Myth: “Dynamic URLs are okay if you use fewer than three parameters.” (thought that)
I’ve mentioned before having a keyword in a url on its own has a minuscule, if any, effect on the ranking of a page but may have some benefits when people use the url to link to the site (I think it does). Having a keyword in the url may be a signal of some sort of relevence for an engine in 2010 – see this test – does Google count keywords in the URL?
I do see what Google is doing – they are telling people ‘Google can read dynamic urls’ – that’s what I will take from the post…. but only the most ignorant seo doesn’t know that already.
It’s not exactly in line with what the W3C recommends, from what I can determine.
In Cool URIs Don’t Change, they determined a SEF url was more user friendly, now and in the long term, for humans. Some may say W3C advice is outdated, or trite, but I still try and follow it where I can. I still believe the best method for constructing urls is short and to the point – human readable preferably. If you go through a site CMS change, you can rewrite to keep old urls.
Of course, sometimes its hard to follow even the best advice, but it’s always worth remembering and trying in the end to achieve usability, accessibility and visibility.
I would still recommend rewriting urls, despite this post from the Google Webmaster Team. Then again, this advice is more usability orientated than a search engine optimisation benefit.
…and interestingly, the Google Webmaster Blog seems to produce SEF Urls LOL and it’s worth pointing out – Google is not the only search engine (I did say that didn’t I) :)