Are keywords in the URL an SEO ranking factor?

do keywords in url help seo

According to Google, including a keyword to a website’s URL is a minor ranking factor. Still, search engines use it to ascertain the relevance of a specific resource or page to a search query. Rather than creating URLs for revamping a website, Google says they should be made for website users.  

Do Keywords in a URL Help SEO?

Yes they do. URLs are a minor ranking factor search engines use when determining a particular page or resource’s relevance to a search query. While using a URL that includes keywords for SEO, it can improve your site’s search visibility, URLs themselves generally do not have a major impact on a page’s ability to rank.

keyword in url seo

Keywords are the base of your search marketing endeavours. They help you make informed decisions regarding the content you want to generate. Well-chosen keywords can help you determine the ideal way to categorize your content and build your site. When incorporating keywords in your URL you should be focused on:

  • Ensuring that search engines and users can navigate and understand the content in every category within the site.
  • Having a well-defined focus for each page of your content

Once you achieve this you’ll be able to increase your search rankings. However, you’ll still have a challenge in finding a suitable balance between:

  • Incorporating keywords that attract the right visitors to your site, and 
  • Not turning them off by repeating keywords on your URLs and pages irregularly

What does Keyword in the URL mean?

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the address of a resource or page on the internet. URLs act as the link between your content and the user. There are various factors related to URLs that can have an impact on your website rankings. These are; keywords and length. Keywords in your URL can improve your rankings for a particular phrase.

What does Google Say?

In a post that Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller made some years ago:

This is not meant to say that keywords in a URL aren’t a ranking factor. However, it means that the effect is minor such that site owners would benefit more from focusing on other factors such as usability. While speaking on the same matter, Mueller was quoted saying: 

I believe that’s a really small ranking factor, so it’s not something I’d really try to force. And it’s not something where I’d say it’s even worth your effort to kind of restructure a site just so you can include keywords in the URL.

Based on a recently concluded experiment, keywords in a URL can have an impact on rankings. The experiment pitted two competing domains using random keywords with the parameters shown below. 

  • One domain featured a keyword in the URL but the other didn’t have
  • In both pages, the keyword was quoted in the content as the first word
  • The difference lied in the URL structure
  • The test was conducted twice using two random keywords
  • The domains were new

Once the two domains from the above experiment were indexed, the site that featured a keyword in the URL ranked highest. This is a clear indication that incorporating keywords in your URL can be instrumental in boosting your site’s search engine position.