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Could writing URLs as acronyms negatively impact SEO? Does it matter what the acronym is? I'm creating a site for a research organization with many different branches and project in those branches commonly referred to with acronyms.

For instance, would /super-cool-outreach-research-education-division/carnival-party-robots/basket-weaving-development be more SEO friendly than /scored/crp/bw. Each acronym falls into three different kinds.

  • "Clever" acronyms spelling a common word like "SCORED".
  • Acronyms that relate to an understood acronym like "CPR"
  • Nonsensical acronyms like 'BWD'
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There are a few things you need to keep in mind here:

  1. URL Length - you should take a look at your inventory of acronyms to determine the average and longest lengths for these URLs. If they are normally on the shorter end then you're good to spell out but if they are more often than not longer then you should consider a different approach.

  2. Directory Structure - not sure if this is just because of the example here but you'll want to keep an as clean as possible directory structure as you can. perhaps grouping pages by the three types you have outlined here /clever/... , /common/..., /nonsensical/... of course performing keyword research here to group correctly is in order.

  3. Duplicate acronyms - If you do go with the short form, you'll need to account for many forms of the same letters but different meanings.

What I would opt for is something like:

  • /clever/yolo-you-only-live-once
  • /common/cpr-cardiopulmonary-resuscitation
  • /nonsense/tnadf-the-nicole-and-david-foundation
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    Also, its a bonus if URL length is less than 79 characters because then more applications can process it. May 9, 2015 at 15:31
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    Where do you get a 79-char limit for URLs? It may be true, but some evidence would be helpful. Aug 14, 2015 at 10:50
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would /super-cool-outreach-research-education-division/carnival-party-robots/basket-weaving-development be more SEO friendly than /scored/crp/bw. Each acronym falls into three different kinds.

Google searches for keywords in URLs, so if your acronyms are not commonly used or could be interpreted in different ways, it would hamper Google's algorithms capacity to clearly establish the relevance of your content. As a consequence, it makes it harder to match it with user queries.

So the answer to your is very likely yes, it will hurt your SEO, unless those keywords in your URLs appear in your titles or body content. That would significantly mitigate the issue.

P.S.: It seems like there are several hundred interpretations of CPR and they are nowhere close from carnival party robot.

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