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Does Google care about multiple consecutive dashes without characters between them in URL? I mean something like how-to-----cook. Does Google lower the rank of these URLs in SERP?

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URLs are no longer as important to search engines as they once were and search engines certainly have no problem with several consecutive hyphens in URLs, but this representation is not optimal either. As a little history lesson:

The first dynamic websites simply used IDs in the URLs to distinguish individual records. At some point, SEOs started to include descriptive components in the URLs (slugs) because search engines highlighted them in the search results and these results had higher click rates. As a result, URLs became increasingly longer, bloated the HTML and often had to be shortened in search results. As a result, many search engines have switched to different representations.

Today, complete URLs rarely appear in search results and you usually see representations that are derived from directories or breadcrumb elements. The trend today is again towards IDs in URLs, as these often enable more performant websites without the overhead that descriptive URLs bring with them (slower database lookups, development overhead, error handling overhead).

I have been using the following pattern for URL design on all of my websites for years:

/[page-type]/[id]/

This enables the individual page types to be easily segmented and URLs do not change if, for example, you adjust the title from which the slug is formed.

Hope this helps and answers your question.

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  • That's interesting. But can you give me an official evidence for this? If that is official, a lot of our tasks would become much easier as you mentioned and I will change my code to use IDs again. But I need to become sure first. Commented Apr 30 at 10:48
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    This is a tough one! I am not aware of an official statement from Google where they state, that the URL is irrelevant, but there are quite some Google Search Central videos where they state things like they prefer shorter URLs during canonicalization, longer URLs might look spammy to the user, and that keywords and directories in the URL do not matter that much. My conclusions are derived from observations and from the success I had over the years from applying the pattern to my own websites and large customer websites. Commented May 2 at 5:33

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