1

Case

User searches on a website for "cake" and filters the results via two categories: "united states" and "germany".

Researched best practices SEO

  • relevant and as short as possible URL
  • if possible just use dashes to separate words in URL
  • don't use parameters like ?c[]=snacks-backing&c[]=usa

My research result

example.com/recipes/cake/united-states--germany

and

example.com/recipes/cake/united-states+germany

The -- / + is used as a category seperater later in PHP.

Is this the best possible URL structure? If yes, which one is preferred (dash or plus)?

Do the double dashes have any negative effect? Or will I loose some keyword power with the + sign, because it is interpreted as a space? I've read that on the web, is this true?

P.S.:
Yes the site is indexable (at least the first page of it), it isnt duplicate content. So it really matters to make the URLs search engine friendly as good as possible.

  • The characters used in your URL don't matter too much. The issue I see is that you could be creating a lot of URLs that people may not be searching for. Are people really searching for cake recipes that have even a single country, let alone two? – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 16 '18 at 19:22
  • Parameters are not bad for SEO when used carefully. The biggest problems with parameters come from order, duplication, and tracking parameters. With your proposed URLs, you will have some of those same issues. How are you going to deal with /recipes/cake/united-states--germany vs /recipes/cake/germany--united-states? Will those two URLs have different content? If they have the same content, how will you choose which one is the preferred version? – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 16 '18 at 20:27
  • @StephenOstermiller regarding your first comment, to my knowledge even if some urls doesnt get searched, it doesnt hurt the ranking. (as long as its no duplicated content). But otherwise it boosts the ranking if somebody is searching for a cake from germany. Of course my example isnt the best with two countrys, but its just an example for two categories. Regarding your second comment, the categories are sorted alphabetically, so in your exampel the first and second url both server the same content but have a canonical link to /recipes/cake/germany--united-states. No duplicated content. – emovere Jun 16 '18 at 22:10

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