Here's a dash of Google sense that applies to anyone who cares about search engine optimization. Page rank is well known as a significant factor for search results optimization. It is also well known that there are a number of other significant factors, some claim up to 100 of them.
One of these factors is the domain name and another one is the request path. Optimizing the request path does help. How much it helps, I do not pretend to know, but my guess is that it is one of the top 10 factors.The quick tip here is that when constructing directory and file names, it is a good idea to use relevant and useful keywords.
What was pointed out to me recently (thanks to Bruce Prochnau
) is that Google is much happier when parsing dashes ("-") as compared to underscores ("_").
More specifically, Google will parse an underscore literally and will parse a dash as a "token", that represents white space. So if you construct a URL that contains "enterprise_content_management" in it, Google literally sees the word "enterprise_content_management", which is really not a word at all.
However, if you construct a URL that contains "enterprise-content-management" in it, Google will see the URL as containing the words "enterprise content management", and will be able to recognize each of those words as a single word or several of those words as a phrase.
The moral of the story: use dashes, not underscores when combining multiple words in your file or directory names.
Don't believe me? It is very easy to validate what I'm saying here. All you need to do is go to Google's advanced search
and search a known site that has keywords separated by underscores and keywords separated by dashes in the URL. Using the advanced search criteria, you can ask Google to find the keyword only in the URL of the page.
If you need a site that is indexed and uses dashes prolifically, try www.paperthin.com
. PaperThin's Web CMS solution generates subsite and page names with dashes, not underscores.
To wrap this up, I just want to add a quick disclaimer. I am not a search engine expert and there are many factors involved in search result ranking. The tips contained in this article are most likely helpful in some small way for improving the ranking of your pages. I have no idea how much of an impact they have, nor do I know if this will be true tomorrow.
TIP: Movable Type users can use the Dirifyplus plugin
to generate dashes instead of underscores in the URLs.