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My urls do not seem to have my main keywords in them. Is this bad for SEO? Should I include them?

Of course I do not mean actually writing one keyword after each other, but have an organically / naturally readably URL which makes sense to the user and to SEO, if at all, hence my question.

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3 Answers

Including a few keywords in a URL can help "a little bit" (Matt Cutts, Google). It can also help identify links to users.

But, as Matt Cutts suggests, it is only a very small factor. Great content, titles and link text all play a far greater role in SEO.

Changing your URL structure to include different, perhaps more targeted keywords, might help, it might not - it's debatable. I think I have heard/read Matt Cutts say that if you already have a link structure in place then don't change it.

A couple of related Matt Cutts videos:

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Having keyword in the url for article titles or suggestive of content is always better than having other URLs (generally article ids or hashcodes). Just look at stackexchange URLs for the articles.

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As some others have answered, it helps a little...but it's not one of the primary factors.

One thing to consider is whether or not including keywords in your URLs makes them considerably lengthier. As SearchEngineLand points out in their 2012 Guide to SEO,

...various research reports over the years have shown that searchers are more likely to select pages with short, descriptive URLs over other pages in search results.

So if you can make your pages have descriptive, keyword-inclusive URLs without making them overly long, it may help - but won't hurt - SEO...and it can possibly help with your clickthrough ratio as well.

(As for just how much it'll help? That's up for debate.)

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