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I am migrating my blog from PHP to ASP.NET and while recoding the whole website, I figured I might as well improve the URL structure.

This is how an url looks like now:

example.com/blog/post/755/hakurei-reimu-cosplay-from-touhou-by-kishigami-hana

and this is hould it will look after the change (cosplay being the dynamic main keyword of the post):

example.com/blog/cosplay/hakurei-reimu-cosplay-from-touhou-by-kishigami-hana-755/

The website is a bit more than a half year old and receives around 650k page views a month, mainly from search traffic. Of course everything would be redirected with 301 redirects. Do you think it is worth changing to a new URL structure, or will it harm the ranking in the long run?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In general, having keywords in the URL is a plus. It is an SEO ranking factor and it is useful for users so they have an idea of what the target page will contain.

Having said that, in your example it is entirely pointless to change. Your URL already has keywords, including what's apparently your most important keyword (cosplay). Changing things now will almost certainly make no difference or even harm your rankings.

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I am currently a bit bad at ranking for Cosplay especially, for example the title "Kaito from Vocaloid Cosplay by Houtou Singi" is not displayed on the first 10 pages for the search term: "kaito vocaloid cosplay", being overranked by a lot of keyword stuffed domains and results and also some pages of very little importance Some other keywords though, seem to rank very good. And even though according to webmaster, Cosplay is the most important keyword of the website, it probably brings the least amount of traffic, so I was hoping I could get a bit more from an extra keyword in the URL. –  Dejan Pelzel Jul 6 '12 at 15:18
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like they say... 'correlation is not causation'. The URL structure has minimal weight and you'll get it as long as your main keyword is somewhere there (and usually you don't want more than 2-3 keywords there or you might actually get penalized for keyword stuffing). Content and incoming links are what you need to check. –  Rodolfo Jul 6 '12 at 20:49
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Having keywords in your URL will improve your traffic over time, and I couldn't see a reason why having no keywords could harm your ranking.

It might impact it at the very beginning, as you'd have to submit a new sitemap to all the search engines and it might take a little bit for them to pick up on the new structure.


Short and Skinny: Short term, it might harm a little bit. Long term, definitely help.

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Thank you. What about the existing incoming links, I heard that around 90% of PageRank is transferred with 301. How much would that affect the SERP? –  Dejan Pelzel Jul 6 '12 at 17:11
    
The problem is making sure your URL's are all switched over in the SERP. I wouldn't go as far as to say 90% of PR is 301's... especially since there are loads of sites quoting Google that 301's don't transfer full PageRank. (marketingpilgrim.com/2010/03/…) –  Christopher Jul 7 '12 at 4:22
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