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My website is all about long holidays. This brings me to the following dilemma: is it better to have "long-holidays" in nearly all URLs of the website or not, given that it will make the URLs longer?

According to the tips I found on the web, both having keywords in URLs and having short URLs matter. According to Google, neither of those matter...

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Google doesn't put much if any weight on the keywords in the URLs. Using keywords in your URLs won't help SEO directly. It isn't important to add words to for which you want your site to rank to your URLs. You especially don't need to add the same words to every URL on your site.

Words in the URLs do help with SEO indirectly. Words that describe the content of the URL help usability by letting users know what to expect to see when they open a URL. The words in the URL can also get bolded in the search results which can help click through rate to your site. See Are keywords in URLs good SEO or needlessly redundant?

The best URLs are:

  • Descriptive of the content of the page
  • Easy to type
  • Easy to remember

Ideally you would choose URLs paths with:

  • 1 to 3 words
  • All lowercase
  • Only hyphens or slashes for punctuation

Any of these URLs would work fine for SEO and usability:

  • https://example.com/paris
  • https://example.com/paris-holidays
  • https://example.com/long-paris-holidays
  • https://example.com/long-holidays/paris
  • https://long-holidays.example/paris

You shouldn't duplicate words between your domain name and URL path, so don't use https://long-holidays.example/long-paris-holidays. Choose to use the /long-holidays/ directory only if you have other content on your site as well and plan to have a page for all long holidays as the directory index. Otherwise, it is up to you how descriptive you want your URLs to be vs how short they are. Any of the above are with an acceptable range.

If your site is database driven and needs a numeric ID in the URL for the database lookup, you can favor descriptive over short: /939348-long-paris-holidays.

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  • According to your answer, I shouldn't add "long-holidays" to the URLs, as the website is only about long holidays and there is no other content on the site. However, this would make the URLs less descriptive, as without that in the URL it's not obvious that the website is about long holidays. Also, when I google "city breaks" for example, nearly all results on the first pages have "city-breaks" in the URL, which makes me wonder whether this matters for ranking or not.. – Vlad Jan 3 at 14:17
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Not sure where you got the advice that according to Google keywords in URL's and short URL's don't matter.

According to Google themselves -

"A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers)"

and

Overly complex URLs, especially those containing multiple parameters, can cause a problems for crawlers by creating unnecessarily high numbers of URLs that point to identical or similar content on your site.

It is likely not so much the number of bytes in the URL that matter as much as the readibility of the URL's.

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  • According to your answer, adding "long-holidays" to URLs won't hurt, as it makes them more readable and makes it clear what the website is about. Still, I'm unsure whether this would help with the ranking or not. Or, even worse, whether Google would give a penalty for using the same keyword in most of the URLs... – Vlad Jan 2 at 0:57
  • No one can definitively answer your question outside Google because the algorythm is kept a secret. It is my belief that it won't give you a penalty but could dilute the value of key pages. – davidgo Jan 2 at 1:43

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