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So, since some "clean" URL system pull the wording directly from content I was wondering how Google handles this?

Here's an example of content changes changing the URLs:

Version 1 of the Title:

Version 2 of the Title, with Version 1 rerouting to this now, but V1 URL stays the same:

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If the URL keeps changing then as far as the search engines are concerned they are new pages and the old ones no longer exist. Once a page has been assigned a URL it should not change if the content changes unless the content changes so much that the page URL no longer reflects what it is about. In that case it is a new page and thus should have anew URL.

In Wordpress once you create a slug for a page it doesn't change even if you change the title of the post (I assume other CMSs work the same way). That's because once a page has been assigned a URL changing it only serves to confuse users and search engines alike. You wouldn't want people to change their names every time they change their clothes, would you?

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@John_Conde: Well, that's not the way SE's site URL's appear to work. On SE, based on what I can tell, you change the title, and it changes the URL... but the old title is cached, and redirects to the new one. Have you seen this before, or am I confused? – blunders Oct 23 '10 at 3:51
@John_Conde: Added an example to the body of the question. – blunders Oct 23 '10 at 4:02
@John_Conde - WordPress actually supports 301 redirects when the slug changes. – danlefree Oct 23 '10 at 5:02

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