What URL contains?

What URL contains?


What URL contains?


The URL of this page is: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-url-contains-joseph-kofler


I used the free online utility What does this URL contain? to extract all hidden parameters from this link. You can try it yourself by clicking on the following link, then click Show parameter values (uncheck Hide parameter values before you do that). This will show you which hidden parameters are present in the URL and what their values are. If something is not working properly, or you want to suggest modifications, please visit my blog .

I would like to highlight why it is important for web developers to be aware of this common practice, and how it can hurt you.

When people build websites they are often tempted to hardcode the URLs in an attempt to make them look pretty on their website. Sometimes they will even use "pretty permalinks" or "pretty URLs". The problem with that practice is that once you've published your website, there is no way for you or anybody else but search engine bots (and any other user who has access to the source code) to know what those links are pointing at. This leads us into issues where pages without proper redirects can rank higher than their prettier counterparts, since both link equity and ranking signals are passed along the link. But if the prettier page has fewer links, it will have less total authority than the uglier page. Even worse, sometimes people will use URL parameters to check if users are logged in or not, so having direct access to the source code is critical for this example to work properly.

I'm not saying that you should never hardcode URLs into your website. What I'm trying to say is that you should be aware of all the issues mentioned above when you do that. If somebody asked me whether they should build their site based on pretty permalinks or not based on SEO reasons, my answer would be no every single time because there are too many potential problems involved with it. I know what I am talking about since I have been bitten by this issue more than once .

In the past I've seen some websites where people had added a bunch of parameters to their URLs. In one particular case, there were more than 20 different parameters present in the URL. So if you are generating dynamic URLs with several parameters inside them, make sure that you do it properly and don't pass along any unnecessary link equity or ranking signals that way.

And now we get to the question: is SEO at all important?  If not, then why am I even writing about this?

I'm writing about this because just like with every other modern technology out there (like JavaScript frameworks ), search engines also need time to adapt and evolve as well. If you want to be on the safe side, you should know all about it and make sure that you are avoiding any potential issues.

In the past I've seen cases where people got anxious about some changes happening in Google's algorithms (like Panda), so they went ahead and implemented URL parameter redirects on their site. And when those algorithm updates actually took place, their rankings dropped significantly , while they were not even aware of why this happened to them. This is another perfect example of why knowing what your URL contains can help you avoid ranking problems that you might experience at some point in time due to an algorithm update or other factors that influence search engine rankings .

So just remember: always be careful with what your URLs contain, because there might be hidden value inside of them that you might not know about.  And if you want to be on the safe side, make sure that your website is properly built and structured according to SEO guidelines .

If you have questions or comments regarding this article, please leave a comment below or contact me directly via my blog !

You can find more details on this issue in our latest research project at Searchmetrics , which investigates the impact of URL parameters on search engine rankings (compared to 404 errors). To make results easier for you to understand, we provide plain English translations of every metric used throughout our report. You can download it here:  http://seo-transparency.org/url_parameters_research_en -- Felix Tarcomnicu , Searchmetrics GmbH

Title: What URL contains?

Meta Description: When you build your website, you are probably deciding between having pretty URLs or ugly ones. But are there really any SEO advantages to be gained by using the former option? Please contact the author of this page . This content was supplied by Felix Tarcomnicu , Searchmetrics GmbH. Find out more about: Website SEO Content Marketing Keywords: This entry was posted in URL Structures . Bookmark the permalink . ← Previous post