I'm new to SEO and I'm implementing SEO-friendly URLs in my site.
The code works perfectly, however I would like to know if using Japanese characters (Kanji / Hiragana / Katakana) in the URL affects my page rank negatively?
I'm making this question as most SEO-friendly URLs (say, StackExchange's) remove all non-alphanumeric characters from the question title and replaces spaces by dashes/hyphens/minus signs (
-) before putting it into the URL, which is basically the approach I'm using at the moment.
However, many thread in a forum that I manage utilize Japanese characters in their titles (e.g. anime/manga titles), which would surely serve as good search keywords.
So, are there any drawbacks in utilizing (properly url-encoded) Japanese characters in the URL or is it ok to use these?
update: Couple more details/background:
- About 90% of our content comes from/is relative to Japan;
- We are a medium-sized forum where users are allowed to share and discuss content;
- We are a worldwide community, but due to the points above, users are expected to have a minimum of Japanese culture;
- The titles which I'm referring to are (99% of the time) not random Japanese words, but rather names that generate many hits on Google from all parts of the globe.
With the points above in mind, there is no harm in adding these Japanese characters in the URL, or is there?
Even though, less than 5% of the threads contain Japanese characters in the title. Therefore it shouldn't be much of an impact on SEO, but I believe it'd look a little weird to have semantic SEO-friendly URLs in English-titled threads and "empty" names on Japanese-titled threads. This would be considered bad pattern design, am I right?
Lèse majesté's answer, though the characters are URL-encoded (
%encoding) - modern browsers display the proper decoded characters in the location bar but the actual characters (received by the browser and when copying from address bar) are