A marketing friend told me that he was debating a developer at his company over whether or not using querystrings in URLs was a good idea. The idea here is that you intentionally want your content to be indexed in search egnines at a URL that uses a querystring. My buddy referred to this, somewhat older perspective from Rand Fishkin and wondered whether the idea that querystrings were in general bad practice (in terms of SEO and content) was true anymore. Given that querystrings are generally used to handle dynamic content (example.com/product.html?id=1234) the first question might be: does Google even index content served at URLs with querystring parameters? Back in 2006 Matt Cutts addressed this in a video, but doing a search for IPad2 Best Buy clearly shows the first result to be Best Buy's product page which is indexed with a querystring. So really the question becomes more around whether or not you want your site indexed in this manner, and whether or not it is best practice. One thing we know is very important about URLs: content. Take a look at the following URLs: http://www.example.com/technology/tablets/ipad2 http://www.exmaple.com/product.html?id=1234 In the top one we get content in the URL. This is helpful in many ways in terms of search visibility.
- A user can read that URL and instantly know what the content generally will be about. When this link shows up as a search result or in a document/email/webpage, this clearly emphasizes to a searcher what they are getting when they click. If that is what they are interested in, that click is much more likely to happen than with a link that does not describe the content.
- Anyone linking to that URL, especially if they use that URL in their link text, will be emphasizing the keyword content at that URL.
- Both humans and search engines get a sense of classification of the content in that the ipad 2 is a "tablet" and it's "tech".
- "If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would."