Google reiterates: URLs are just identifiers for us

By: Rob Corbidge, 29 August 2023

A question over specific word order in URLs has seen Google restate its advice 

Google sees URLs as  "more as identifiers, with very few exceptions" the search giant's John Mueller has said, responding to a query involving the placement of a location word within a URL.

Answering a question on Mastadon over whether it is correct protocol to place the name of a service before a location in a URL, Mueller said that he was "trying to think of where this could play a role and I don't think there's anything on the SEO side where it would".

The example used by the person asking the question was in the  site/service/location/ format.

Mueller said Google didn't look at the URL in that way, adding that such information in the URL could have a role to play in the site's UX, but no technical SEO advantage would be gained because of it.

John Mueller on URLs

John Mueller on URLs

Google's public advice is usually indicative of a lack of precise information in their documentation. Equally, public facing employees such as Mueller frequently do have to correct misconceptions, or even correct deliberately misleading information designed to fool the inexperienced. 

Mueller has also previously talked down the importance to Google of words in a URL, even commenting that "it didn’t matter if one uses numeric IDs in a URL".

In short, according to Google, words and word order in URLs should be selected in order to provide information for the user, and if chosen wisely, provide additional longevity to the content's shelf life.