Are keywords in URLs a Google ranking factor?

Published: November 30, 2018

Updated: March 15th, 2021

Yes, keywords in the URL are a positive ranking signal, according to official Google statements:

“Q: Keyword in the URL, is that a ranking factor?

A: I believe that is a very small ranking factor. So it is not something I’d really try to force. And it is not something I’d say it is even worth your effort to restructure your site just so you can get keywords in your URL.” Source

However, this factor is overestimated:

On March 12, 2021 during the SEO office-hours, John was asked a similar question, to which he replied:

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 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.