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Often for technical reasons we end up with some extra words in a url that we would not want to optimize for as they would have no bearing on the content.

Examples would be:





Do these have any affect on ranking in any of the major search engines? Would it behoove us to strip the extra words?

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The URLs already look good, all of these have the most important page part - the title - in it. If you have to get some extra words, make sure that they relate to your content (e.g. "questions") instead of showing a generic or technical term (e.g. "content" or "node"). If you use extra words related to your site, this might even be a benefit instead of a penalty.

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Exactly, like paintball.com/guns/gun-model or cars.com/pontiac/grand-am. Definitely stay away from generic terms like 'content', 'node', 'pages', 'products', 'solutions', etc... – Christopher Aug 31 '12 at 9:39
In the case of "questions" does it help the search engines even though nobody would use a search term like "Do extra words in url affect seo questions" – smp7d Sep 1 '12 at 15:05
You are not going to get penalised for having an unrelated word in the URL, providing the rest of the URL is on topic, but you're not going to benefit either. Using a related keyword in place of that unrelated word might have a slight benefit. But URL keywords are just one metric of many. – w3dk Sep 3 '12 at 23:41

After all, the URL is not very important to the spiders, it might be important to the eyes of visitors though.

What is important is defining the pages correctly using tags, such as title, description, canonical url, open graph, microdata... these are what spiders see.

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