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In terms of a site's SEO, is the following format best:

https://www.example.com/query/who-is-the-hippo-in-Moon-Knight

Or can a website do just as well SEO-wise if it has URLs like this?

https://www.example.com/query/62677ebabe5ab3e33e93f7c4

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Yes it matters if it's human readable. It's a minor ranking factor. It probably won't make or break you, but, think of it like doing an extra credit question on a quiz. You'll get a few bonus points for it.

There are two areas it matters. The first is initial rankings. If you have human keywords in your url you will rank higher than an exact duplicate of the site with a long seemingly random url. If you've ever seen the seo table of elements urls are on there. If you google search a term on desktop if the search term is in the url, that term will be bolded. That means Google considers it to be a ranking factor for the term. keywords from your search are bolded by google, urls historically were

SERP bolded keywords in meta descriptions Humans respond to urls that are written to humans so it leads to an increase in CTR. More people click to them. A high CTR page will grow in rankings over time.

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    I don't believe that bolding terms on the front-end necessarily means that Google uses them in their ranking algorithm. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 23:22
  • On a google search, keywords are bolded (on the google search results page). Historically, keywords in the url were also bolded. They only bold the keyword in the meta description on SERPs now. I think John Mueler once said that keywords in urls were also a ranking factor. Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 2:14
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    I found the Mueller quote you may be referring to. "We use the words in a URL as a very very lightweight factor. And from what I recall this is primarily something that we would take into account when we haven't had access to the content yet." So it does seem like Google does take URL keywords into account, but maybe to a small degree or on a temporary basis. Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 2:46
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    Yup in initial rankings. It does slightly improve user click rate too. If you do it across a several thousand page site it adds up. Commented Apr 30, 2022 at 3:33
  • "On a google search, keywords are bolded" - this is done by a javascript decorating the page after it arrives in your browser (very simple to test for yourself) not by Google's ranking engine.
    – symcbean
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 15:03
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I really don't think it matters. The words below are from John Mueller at Google:

We use the words in a URL as a very very lightweight factor. And from what I recall this is primarily something that we would take into account when we haven't had access to the content yet. So if this is the absolute first time we see this URL we don't know how to classify its content, then we might use the words in the in the URL as something to help rank us better. But as soon as we've crawled and indexed the content there then we have a lot more information. And then that's something where essentially if the url is in German or in Japanese or in English it's pretty much the same thing.

With the development of AI I even think that the keywords don't matter to SEO.

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  • Do you think that it is better to have keywords in the URL or not? The answer from John Mueller would indicate that it is a factor. I would say it is better to have the keywords because users are human and still read.
    – keepkalm
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 15:19
  • but this thread is disusing something related to SEO?
    – Zike
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 18:54

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