Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by John Pitcher on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, October 10, 2013).

A question about how to construct a good url structure for SEO

In this anti-spam day-and-age, if you have a small business offering 3-7 services in 2 main towns, would you have simple page urls:

service1.html
service2.html
service3.html

or more keyword-rich urls:

service1-town1-town2.html
service2-town1-town2.html
service3-town1-town2.html

or a directory:
town1-town2/service1
town1-town2/service2
town1-town2/service3

Some websites that I see (still doing well) have the second option (keyword rich urls = service1-town1-town2.html) and I can remember Matt Cutts (a year or so ago) saying up to 4-5 keywords in a page url is fine and helps say what the page is about.

Just wondered if anyone knew what the current advice is? Is service1-town1-town2.html spammy or acceptable?

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Simon Fryer: Hi + ;

    I don't think that any of the approaches you've mentioned are going to raise 'spam' flags with Google. ;

    That said I wouldn't go down the directory route unless you're targeting a large number of locations and don't have a fixed address in each one.

    Ex.1 or ex.2 would both be fine. Some would say ex.2 is better but I believe that the impact is minimal, and prefer not to use locations in URLs. Instead I'd focus on other ways to establish the locale. ;

    The only real benefit of getting your locations in the URL is some very slightly bolded text in the SERPs.

    Search engines - well....Google - are beginning to understand businesses as a whole, rather than just evaluating results at a single webpage level. ;
  • William Gomes: + what he said. ;-) 
  • Ranu Jain: Yes John, I too would suggest that don't include the geographic location in the URLs. You can always rank in those areas by doing local SEO. ;You can simply add the services name in the URLs.  ;

    If you really want to add the location then I would suggest to have different pages for different location under service 1and so on. As your main focus is on just two towns, it won't be a tedious job for you.

    For ex:  ;service1/town1.html (folder level structure)
    service1/town2.html

    It will definitely help you in ranking as you will have separate page with location specific keywords and content. ;
  • John Pitcher: Many thanks all; my instinct was to move away from the servicea-town1-town2.html type of url (in case it gets frowned upon at some stage in the future) but wasn't sure if I was "missing a trick" by doing this.
    + ;Many thanks for your assessment that the impact is minimal; having just used the Yoast SEO Wordpress plugin (for another site) where it flags up when your keywords are not in the url, I thought I'd double-check.
    Thanks Ranu Jain for your suggestion of rearranging the directories; service/town is probably better that town/service.
  • W.E. Jonk: From the expert panel in this weeks SEO Questions hangout on air on 01:48:01 into the YouTube video: 

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, October 10, 2013).

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