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What is the best stucture of SEO friendly URL?

Using url rewriting methods, what is a better way to organize the structure of the URLs of your website for SEO and user experience?

I am using examples from large sites such as: yelp, stack overflow, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, yahoo, and others. Each one uses a slightly different method...

1) Does the order matter? IF so, for what purposes? Are some better for blogs vs ecommerce vs content sites?

  • `/category/{id}/name-that-corresponds-to-the-page-title
  • `/category/name-that-corresponds-to-the-page-title/{id}
  • `/name-that-corresponds-to-the-page-title/category/{id}

Note: the {id} is the unique identifier that must be included the URL

2) Is it better to separate words in the URL with dashes (-) or underscores (_), or something else, like plus signs "+"? In what cases should you use the different variations?

3) Should you keep the name of the programming language in the title of your URL, or remove it completely? What is better?

  • /category/{id}/name-that-corresponds-to-the-page-title.html
  • /category/{id}/name-that-corresponds-to-the-page-title

4) Assuming I do my redirects correctly after making this URL structure change, how will I be affected in terms of page ranking? Will page ranking stay the same, or go down temporarily? And if so, for how long? (All of my pages have been indexed by the search engines already)

My current URL structure is:

  • /carbonated-soft-drink-p-60.html

Note: the "p" stands for product

I want to possibly change the URL to one of the following:

  • /sodas/60/carbonated-soft-drink
  • /sodas/carbonated-soft-drink/60
  • /carbonated-soft-drink/sodas/60

marked as duplicate by John Conde Aug 25 '12 at 14:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  1. It may be a good idea to go with website.com/category/slug/id as it looks more structured to users and SEs.

  2. I don't have a link to the video but Matt Cutts of Google did recommend hyphens over underscores in slugs.

  3. The .html extension makes you page URL lengthy without adding any value. I would skip it.

  4. If you do 301 redirects, most (not all) Google Juice will pass to the new URLs but it is a good idea to update your internal links on pages so that they use the new structure.

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