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I apologize if this answer is already somewhere else, I've searched for a while and come up empty.

My company has hired a 3rd party SEO company to help with our rankings. Most of the suggestions they make seem reasonable and I have implemented them. However, one suggestion was made today and I just can't see it helping. In addition, it requires that I rearrange some stuff on the site and add 301 redirects and the like. I'd honestly rather not.

What they've suggested is that I take our reviews page and change the url on it, like so:

For this example, say our company is named Maple Velcro.

From: www.maplevelcro.com/why-choose-us/customer-reviews

To: www.maplevelcro.com/maple-velcro-reviews

Now, I can see why changing the file name may make sense, since it will target a different set of search terms, but wouldn't the following do the same thing?

www.maplevelcro.com/why-choose-us/maple-velcro-reviews

I'm aware that a redirect is trivial, especially since I'm using CodeIgniter, but I guess I can't just blindly do something like this without some sort of confirmation that it is actually a legitimate technique.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, a filename's location relative to the root does not affect SEO, and it certainly doesn't warrant adding 301 redirects to restructure your site for.

As this article discusses, URLs should be easy for humans and search engines to understand. When a URL appears in a search engine snippet, if it's clear to search engine users what the link is to and how it relates to their search, they're more likely to click on it.

Shortening a URL just for the sake of making it relative to the root directory isn't going to improve the above. The following URL is just as compelling, if not more so because it adds the additional context of why users should chose you:

www.maplevelcro.com/why-choose-us/maple-velcro-reviews

Additionally, if the URL is copied and pasted into another site as a link, with the URL serving as its own anchor text, its context will be clearer to potential visitors.

There's a lot of speculative SEO advice out there, so it's always best to develop your site and content for relevancy and value for your users first, versus search engines first. And always ask for documentation to support anything that sounds like an SEO "technique" before spending the time, money, and/or risk towards it.

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1  
That's exactly what I was thinking, and the added relevance makes sense. –  VictorKilo Aug 9 '13 at 15:27
    
@VictorKilo Great - relevance is key to both users and search engines :-) –  dan Aug 10 '13 at 9:10

With the introduction of many new web technologies and frameworks, there are many different opinions on what is the best url structure. It is not the case that a url structured like mysite.com/help/help.php means that help.php is a file in a folder named help anymore. And so I do not think that it is the case that when a search engine sees a URL with this structure, that it will think that help/help.php is worth anything less than if it were just simply mysite.com/help.php

However, site structure is an important detail in how users interact with your content. I would say that it is up to personal choice. There are many different articles on this subject which you can find with a simple google search. But for what it's worth, I like what Matt Cutts, of Google, has to say about it.

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What we know about Google is that they use a system of indicators that tells the search engines what the content is about, there is a limit to how many indicators you can have and after that its ignored upto the point if over used it goes against you in negative SEO.

So the path is one of many indicators removing SEF (Search Engine Friendly) urls will not make your rankings drop as long as Google can establish the content from other indicators. The are many sites that use /product=29393 with excellent rankings and so on. So again it's not essential apart of SEO.

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