Strong opinions, weakly held

Google on rewriting dynamic URLs

Google says that rewriting dynamic URLs is obsolete as far as they’re concerned. Google has no longer has any problem indexing sites that are built using dynamic URLs.

I prefer frameworks with nice URLs, but if you’re not using one, it’s fine to just go with the standard URLs produced by the application rather than using Web server hacks to make improvements that are no longer needed.


  1. Didn’t they also once say that catchy domain names were obsolete?

  2. Giving users meaningful, memorable urls is not, however, obsolete. Keep rewriting urls please.

  3. Yes, I’ve never really heard of concerns about URLs with querystrings causing problems with search engines, but clean, meaningful URLs are preferable not only from a UI standpoint, but from a long-term link health standpoint: if you switch CMSes or your CMS switches URI patterns, an artificial, meaningful, abstracted, rewritten URI can stay the same and keep old links working.

  4. Seconding David — I just moved a site from WordPress to Drupal, but didn’t break any links thanks to abstracted URLs. From Google’s standpoint they might not care, but there are dozens of other reasons to re-write them and keep them human readable.

  5. Clean URLs also help with some cacheing systems. In practice, it’s just a good idea to use clean URLs.

    It also makes fine-grained marketing campaigns easier to run, with multiple, short, printable URLs made available to the marketing people.

    Can you imagine trying to remember a query-string based URL that’s printed on a billboard or flyer posted in a store window?

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