Google’s John Mueller said once again that Google does use the words in the URL as a ranking factor. But John explained that this is a “very very lightweight factor.” John added that it becomes even less of a factor once the content is indexed.
John said this at the 51:34 mark after asked about URLs that may have different languages in it, would it hurt for ranking purposes. Here is what John said:
We use the words in a URL as a very very lightweight factor. And from what I recall this is primarily something that we would take into account when we haven’t had access to the content yet. So if this is the absolute first time we see this URL we don’t know how to classify its content, then we might use the words in the in the URL as something to help rank us better. But as soon as we’ve crawled and indexed the content there then we have a lot more information. And then that’s something where essentially if the url is in German or in Japanese or in English it’s pretty much the same thing.
This is pretty much what he said a year ago when he said “the SEO effect of keywords in the URL is minimal once the content is indexed.” Meaning once Google understands the content on the page, the keywords in the URL are even weighted less for ranking purposes.
The SEO effect of keywords in the URL is minimal once the content is indexed. Make URLs that work for your users, not for SEO. Also, changing URLs on an existing site is a site-migration & it will take time/fluctuations to be reprocessed, so I’d avoid that unless it’s critical.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) August 19, 2020
Here is the video embed at the start time:
Forum discussion at Twitter.