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I've got an MVC app that generates url "slugs" on the fly. I'm wondering (with regards to SEO) if it's good practice to stip common words from the slug.

IE:

Page Title: This is a cool title with lots of content

Page Slug: /this-is-a-cool-title-with-lots-of-content
Option B: /this-cool-title-with-lots-content

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If a user does a search for an exact string (using quotes) then stripping those words will have a negative effect on your rankings. Wordpress leaves them in and it seems to work for the countless number of blogs that use it so I'd say leave them in.

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It probably won't hurt anything, but don't expect it to be particularly beneficial, either.

To John Conde's answer: The question is about the slug that ends up in the URL. I can't imagine any search engine is going to consider that above the actual in-page content, which is not being modified here. (My rep's currently too low to comment directly.)

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They consider multiple factors when ranking a page, not just one. So having a stronger URL means better rankings, even if the weight of it isn't as much as the content itself. It only has to make a difference and it certainly does. –  John Conde Feb 4 '11 at 15:47
    
Can you back that up? Honest question; you're being rather assertive about this, like it's actually been tested and documented, and I'd be curious to see it. While I can conceive of the exact string search failing for content, I just don't see an engine caring that "the"(or some other article) was missing in a URL and wouldn't be surprised to find out it's just discarded. –  Su' Feb 4 '11 at 16:04
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