Benefit of Keywords in URL: Filename vs Directory
Google’s Webmaster Help YouTube Channel is a great place to find loads of resources and information on how Google ranks websites, and how to improve your site’s ranking. One such video, for instance, is their video answering the question “Is it better to have keywords in the URL path or filename?”. Here’s a bit more about the SEO advice found in that video.
Matt Cutts explains in the video that it doesn’t really make a difference whether you put URL keywords in the filename or directory path of the URL. The example he gave to explain the difference between the two is as follows: http://example.com/tools/hammers/acme-metal-pounder for keywords in the directory path, and http://example.com/tools-hammers-acme-metal-pounder for keywords in the file name.
The difference, for those unacquainted with web site structures, is that in the first example the file acme-metal-pounder in the folder (or directory) hammers, which is in the tools directory, on the example.com server. In the second example, of course, the keywords are all part of the file name, rather than separate directories. According to the video, this distinction does not make a difference in Google’s ranking of the page, so for SEO purposes, they are equivalent.
Matt Cutts also points out that the first of the two examples, in which the keywords are in the path and not all run together looks much more natural and will appear normal to the user, whereas the first one looks like spam because of how jumbled all the keywords are. It is therefore better to use the first one as it is more likely to encourage actual visitors to click through to your site.
Also, it is a generally good practice to create separate directories on your site for different categories as it makes it easier for your webmaster to find and edit pages. The conclusion of the video then is that while you should have keywords in your URL, there is no need (for SEO purposes) to put them all in a filename, and it looks better to users to have them all in separate directories, so that is the best option.