The Role of a URL in Google's PageRank

Album Cover: Into the Wild

"I knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me...guaranteed."
Eddie Vedder / Guaranteed

Posted on May 11, 2008 3:42 PM in Web Development
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I used Google to perform a little experiment this afternoon. Given the popularity of my post Embedding YouTube Videos as Valid XHTML 1.0, I wondered how much the URL of that post, which was created before I started utilizing slugs, influenced Google's interpretation of relationships among concepts and terms related to the post's subject.

Because the post's URL ends in ?id=681, I decided to search for 681 xhtml and see what results came back. Sure enough, even though the two terms, "681" and "XHTML", are seemingly independent and neither has any real relationship to YouTube (especially considering the premise for my post in the first place), at the time of writing, the #1 result returned is a link to Embedding YouTube Videos as Valid XHTML 1.0.

What does this tell us about Google's use of URLs or even pieces of URLs? To me, it tells us that URLs are valued by Googlebot and can even influence the relationship of the content with which they are associated to seemingly unrelated words, phrases or tokens.

Interesting stuff.


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