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I have a website with links similar to:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4183948/css-set-background

if I change links to:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4183948_css-set-background

( / to _ )

does it improve my website's SEO rank?

if it does why most of websites avoid doing that?

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marked as duplicate by John Conde Jan 4 at 13:34

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What makes you think this would be good for SEO? You even said yourself other sites aren't doing it. –  John Conde Jan 4 at 4:22
    
@JohnConde, less depth level of slash for accessing content. example.com/aaa gets better rank than example.com/aaa/bb since it is placed in shallower level in url. –  faravish Jan 4 at 4:26
    
@JCL1178, so unlike others, you mean it improve seo rank? –  faravish Jan 4 at 5:42
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In rare and extreme instances, it can. Going from domain.com/something/something/even-more-somethings/yet-more-something/somethin‌​g-else/no-really-we're-almost-done-here/okay-maybe-not/one-more-time/some-random-‌​id/this-is-the-title-of-the-page to a shorter domain.com/this-is-the-title-of-the-page will slightly improve the SEO and there are articles on directory depth that support this. In your specific scenario, there will be no effect on SEO. –  JCL1178 Jan 4 at 10:39
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You don't want to replace a slash with an underscore. Google views slashes as word separators but underscores are parts of words. See http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/

When slashes represent physical directories on the webserver, many slashes in a URL indicate that the file is stored many folders deep on the server. This often means that there are more places where a reorganization can cause the URL to change. It also often means that more people are involved in keeping the page live. For example /users/~jphillips/friends/adam/homepage.html needs cooperation from Adam, J Phillips, and the server owner to keep it live.

There were some studies years ago that showed that the number of slashes in the URL was correlated with how stable the URL was likely to be. More slashes meant that the URL was likely to change or go 404 sooner.

I have never seen any direct evidence that Google started using the number of slashes as a ranking factor. Googlebot can detect URL changes and deletions. Then it updates the search index accordingly when changes occur. Because of this, Google shouldn't need to rely on how likely a page is to change as part of their ranking signals.

Focus on creating URLs that are:

  • Descriptive
  • As short as possible (while still being descriptive)
  • Memorable
  • Use word separators such as slash or dash but not underscore.

It isn't worth worrying about minor differences in punctuation in the URL for SEO purposes.

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Stephen, it wasn't stability Google was looking at vis-a-vis slashes but authority. A page at the site root or one level down was presumed to be more authoritative than one five levels down and would rank better on the same keywords... –  JCL1178 Jan 4 at 18:04
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It will not improve your SEO. The change is too minor and has no bearing on the number of keywords present.

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