I Hate Spreading Misinformation

One of the things you struggle with when you gain some amount of authority is that people quote you out of context or infer things based on your actions or inaction. Sometimes people sell you as being much smarter than you actually are, while other times they cite you with stuff that is inconsistent with your views.

Here is an example of me sending the wrong message:
After I read that, I remembered how Aaron Wall has his SeoBook blog structured. His permalinks look like this: http://www.seobook.com/archives/002447.shtml Aaron Wall is the most respected SEO expert that I know of. So if meaningless numbers in permalinks are good enough for him, then I guess they're good enough for me.

When I initially put numbers in my URLs back in 2003 it was because it was the default setup. I left it that way because I wanted to get in Google News. After seeing what happened to Threadwatch when it was listed in Google News (it was pulled out the same day), I realized that my site was a touch too honest and crass to make it into Google News, even if I were to comply with all of their other guidelines.

Why haven't I changed my URLs since then? I was thinking about changing content management systems at some point and figured I would do it after I changed my CMS platform. I just changed the CMS but am seeing how well it works for a while before I consider changing my older URLs.

The reasons descriptive URLs are important are

  • some people link to pages using the URL as the anchor text, thus giving you more nice anchor text if your file names are descriptive
  • A descriptive filename is more likely to be clicked on than a URL which lends no information to the listing.

The closest analogy I can think for a filename is the URL. When I see ads for junky arbitrage sites like e-mail-marketing.name in Gmail I know that they are relying on the URL as a large part of what allows them to beat Google's quality scores.

Published: September 1, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


Pat B. Doyle
September 5, 2007 - 4:26am

Thanks for the clarification, Aaron. The points you mentioned make sense. I notice you did not say that the search engines like descriptive URLs better.

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