Are Marketing URLs still relevant?
Given Google's recent announcement telling webmasters to not rewrite dynamic URLs to Static URLs, are marketing URL's still relevant?
First let's review the difference between a static/marketing URL and a dynamic URL. A static URL looks like http://www.pinewines.com/Wine and a dynamic URL looks like http://www.pinewines.com/index.cfm?method=pages.showPage&pageID=cbb72801-1e0b-4e34-f0ab-b81f78ddd62e
Our Content Management System (and all good CMS's) allow you to rewrite a dynamic URL to a marketing URL or static URL. Recently in our CMS we choose to automatically rewrite your URL to a static URL (so we are more or less forcing them on you).
It's been a widely held believe by Search Engine Marketers that Static URLs perform better than Dynamic URLs, and we have in the past have stated this view. (We have had another firm mention this to us when doing a site review for Burgundy & Beyond - See Mark Gordon's comments). Google has now countered this claim in a blog post earlier this month (read more here).
We at Vin | 65 still believe that you should make use Marketing URLs for a few reasons:
a) A Marketing URL looks way cleaner than a dynamic URL. Sites should be designed for the user first and for search engines second. It's easier to send a link in an email without dynamic parameters, it's easier to advertise a static link in a printed form, and static links have a higher click thru rate than dynamic links.
b) Google is not going to penalize your marketing URLs, Google is just saying it makes no difference if you use a static of dynamic URL.
c) There are other search engines than Google.
d) In the past the URL has had an influence on site ranking and I would still say that it does (I haven't read any official reports to the contrary). Static URLs do allow for "keyword stuffing".