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Are shorter URLS better for SEO?

I'm creating SEO friendly URIs on my site. Is there a big difference between these different options?

/this-is-my-title
/content/this-is-my-title
/this-is-my-title/1234
/content/this-is-my-title/1234
/1234/this-is-my-title
/content/1234/this-is-my-title

"content" would be used for all URIs. "1234" is the unique ID of the page.

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marked as duplicate by danlefree May 23 '12 at 23:40

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My guess is google weights keywords in urls with something like tf-idf which means the more words you will put in the url the less weight each of the worlds will has and also I'm almost sure that there is a some sort of penalty for very log urls so it be harder to abuse, including lots of low freq. keywords in the link and getting "free" visitors.

So answer basically boils down to the strategy you are using: if you want to specialize on some narrow specific queries include only relevant keywords in the urls. If you want to catch some random visitors from long-tail you better be with long urls, just don't overdo it.

My other guess would be that the closer to / word placed the more weight it has. If I were you I'd put my keywords in the order of importance, and replaced "content" with something more seo-friendly, ot just removed it completely.

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do you have a source for this? –  Christofian Feb 24 '12 at 2:11
    
The thing is that factual formula for weighting urls is commercial secret and protected by google properly so I do not think it is possible to find how this exactly works, but judging from my experience while working for some natural language processing firm choice of algorithms is pretty limited is you want to be you responses fast. Academicians use very similar approaches, like in "Term Proximity Scoring for Keyword-Based Retrieval Systems", Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2003, Volume 2633, 79, Yves Rasolofo and Jacques Savoy sell eq. (1) and comments (it is almost that is said here) –  Moonwalker Feb 24 '12 at 3:53
    
I think that table 3 in this paper research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/beijing/projects/letor/paper/… proves me right with no doubt left. –  Moonwalker Feb 24 '12 at 4:01
    
That source doesn't say anything about a search engine actually using that method. What you are saying is that your method would be the way you would design a search engine, which isn't necessarily how any of the popular search engines would have done it. If you could show me a source that says that some of the more popular search engines work that way, then that would be great. –  Christofian Feb 24 '12 at 16:01
    
What I'm saying is that described approach is used in state of art algorithms by teams of serious researches (microsoft research are pretty serious guys in my book). And it's not just me but virtually anyone, because of lack of alternative approaches. The main idea will be the same, through details may vary. Actual algorithm used is a commercial secret. You cannot have this kind of information. –  Moonwalker Feb 25 '12 at 2:27
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