Google Changes the Rules on Dynamic URLs

URL Rewrite Rules for SEO

URL Rewrite Rules for SEO

Google claims to have made progress with their algorithm’s ability to crawl, understand and index web pages with dynamic URLs.  In the past Google, and most search engines, have had difficulty crawling and indexing pages on the Web with dynamic URLs so the recommendation from an SEO standpoint has long been to use what’s called a URL rewriter to turn ugly URLs into pretty ones.  This is a complete 180° from all previous SEO Best Practices.

Dynamic URLs are generally long and ugly, as in the one above.  Normally we would always recommend changing a website so that the URL looks much better, say from what’s above to “” as an example.

As with any rule, however, there are exceptions – Google admits that URLs with “too many” extra bits can still cause its spiders a hard time.   But for most websites, they’re now adamant that alterating the URLs of web pages to make them static and less ugly, can and will actually hurt that page’s rankings.  From the updated guidelines:

“…in cases where you decide to use dynamic content, you should give us the possibility to analyze your URL structure and not remove information by hiding parameters and making them look static.”

What do you do if you’ve already been rewriting URLs for years?  It really depends on your website and its URL structure.  It can be advisable under certain circumstances to keep some of your URLs rewritten and some dynamic while in others to stop rewriting all URLs and go back to the original dynamic ones.  Be sure to consult an expert before making any sweeping changes to your website as there are other things to consider beyond just Google, like usability for instance: CTR (click-through-rate), for pages with URLs a user can actually read, can be higher than the long ugly ones.  It’s important to analyze all aspects of your website’s structure before making dramatic changes.

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