Google posted to their official weblog today a bit of background on how they can process dynamic URLs. A dynamic URL is one that contains lots of junk that humans can’t read, including symbols. A LOT of system still create URLs like this, especially when the web page is created from data stored in a database.
It used to be common knowledge that URLs with natural language words in them did better in natural search results placement than dynamic URLs because Google would be better able to process them. It appears that is no longer operative. The key graph from the post today on that topic:
While static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the urls, the decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking. Providing search engines with dynamic URLs should be favored over hiding parameters to make them look static.
While there is still benefit to displaying static URLs for the human using your site it seems that, from Google’s perspective, it’s not worth doing just for search engine placement. Interesting!