I Wouldn't Use Commas In URLs

Dec 16, 2010 • 8:58 am | comments (21) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread has discussion around using commas in the URLs as opposed to hyphens or other characters. For example, this URL would be seroundtable.com/commas,in,urls instead of what it currently is, with hyphens.

The reason why this person wants to use commas is because of SEOs misunderstanding basic concepts because SEO is deeper than what most read.

The issue here is that Google said hyphens are better than underscores in URLs, so some took that to mean underscores are bad. They are not bad. So instead of going the hyphens route or even hyphens route, they want to go to with commas in URLs.

Personally, I would never use commas in the URLs. Why? Well, I am sure they would get indexed fine but they can also be used for encoded URLs. As one member pointed out in the thread, "Thus, only alphanumerics, the special characters "$-_.+!*'(),", and reserved characters used for their reserved purposes may be used unencoded within a URL."

In any event, if you do have these characters in your URLs and they work for you, stick with it. As another member said:

I used commas extensively back in 2004 on a few of my websites. I've had no problems with them whether they are /key1,key2/ or /key1,key2.html

Those pages still rank, but they are now six years old and have backlinks.

If you are looking to find out about SEO-worth of commas, there is none. Hyphens themselves do not give you an 'edge', they just reduce your problems. Commas can produce problems so should be avoided.

But I doubt any SEO would opt for this in 2010.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Essex SEO

12/16/2010 02:11 pm

It wouldn't even occur to me to us commas in the URL. I try and use a format that makes it easy for the person to read and using commas without any spaces would be pretty hard to read.

Branko Rihtman

12/16/2010 02:13 pm

http://www.kelkoo.co.uk/d-digital-cameras,Fujifilm-124901 I don't think they rank better or worse because of hyphens, but the fact is that people use commas as a replacement for parameters (in this case as product specific filters). BTW this site has some pretty decent rankings in Google UK for product names

Tony McCreath (Tiggerito)

12/16/2010 02:34 pm

I use hyphens over underscores for the main reason they are easier to spot by humans. Underscores can be hidden by the underlining of links, therefore making it hard to know if it's a space or not. For the same reason I would avoid commas as they look very similar to periods/full stops. As commas are less common they also may cause issue with some spiders and websites url validators.

Barry Schwartz

12/16/2010 03:19 pm

Yea, as I said, if it works for you, stick with it. I don't think it matters for ranking reasons. But more concerned for development and access issues for some browsers, some servers, etc.

bella lin

12/16/2010 03:38 pm

I don't think it matters for ranking reasons,too.


12/16/2010 04:58 pm

I try and NOT use non standard formats as much as possible, especially commas and hash and tilde characters.

Chris Apple

12/16/2010 05:34 pm

FYP - "So instead of going the underscores route or even hyphens route, they want to go to with commas in URLs."

Michael Martinz

12/16/2010 06:30 pm

A lot of news sites use commas in URLs and have for many years. They pose no problems for SEOs.

Michael Martinez

12/16/2010 06:32 pm

And this is yet another reason why I hate Disqus. It will allow you to type anything in as your name or email address and remember that ....

Barry Schwartz

12/16/2010 06:33 pm

The old system did the same thing. Don't blame discus for you not knowing how to spell your own name. ;-) j/k

Barry Schwartz

12/16/2010 06:34 pm

Yea, but would you build a new site with commas in the URLs? Would you? SEO wise, yea - doesn't matter, but I don't think most SEOs would go that route.

Montreal SEO Expert

12/16/2010 07:02 pm

This is a new topic to me. I never use commas either but I never thought that it would make a difference until now. Thanks for bringing it up just in case a client would ask me about tht topic. John SEO Expert and Marketing Manager

Ted Ives

12/16/2010 09:23 pm

Commas are stupid to put into URLs because you never know when you are going to pull a bulk list of URLs into Excel for filtering/sorting at a later date, and Excel defaults to using comma as a "Text to Columns" deliminter.

Michael Martinez

12/17/2010 02:08 am

I LIKED you Barry....(Foghorn Leghorn voice: "That's a JOKE, I say! A JOKE, boy -- d'ya git it?"

Michael Martinez

12/17/2010 02:09 am

"Yea, but would you build a new site with commas in the URLs? Would you?" If I was asked to do so (nicely), why not?

aluminium kozijnen

12/17/2010 07:29 am

Its absolutely correct.. I am also wont give like this.. Buy Advair | Buy Avapro


12/17/2010 08:21 pm

Even a basic understanding of programming would tell you not to use commas in urls. There are many languages that use commas for separating values and this has the potential to have a greater impact than an underscore. You gotta remember than google is not the only spider around. There are many spiders out there that will likely have issues with many commas in urls. Additionally, there will almost certainly be problems with online seo tools, analytics, etc. It all comes down to having a human friendly url, which is what programmers expect. If your urls are long and ugly then you're probably better off to encode the parameters into one nice string.

Jeorge Peter

01/05/2011 01:07 am

Who would want commas in their URLs? I bet even users would not want that.

Kenneth Bach

01/15/2011 06:10 am

I have also used commas for a long time without noticing any problems.

Neelanjan Bardhan

03/30/2014 08:50 am

I have comma in URLs like these http://www.printedpapercup.co.uk/news/9/59/Printed-paper-cups-printing-process/d,News%20Detail.html and they work well in terms of SEO it seems.

Neelanjan Bardhan

06/07/2014 07:56 am

No one want commas, true, but many CMS systems usually do not replace the comma with something URL friendly while creating a SEF URL from the title of the page, so they are there unless you change the SEF algorithm. Regarding users, they I think do not care anymore, most people do not remember any URL anymore, they simply either Google the keyword they are looking for and come to your site, or bookmark them, comma or no comma people do not remember URLs, there are too many to remember these days.

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