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Here's the URL of a recently asked question on SO:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4005768/specifying-a-pronunciation-of-a-word-in-microsoft-speech-api

Why is the title of the question included in the URL? It's not needed to access it. The number will suffice:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4005768

Is it just for the sake of human readability on mouse-overs?

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Just to be sure you know: anything is accepted as the title and redirects just fine to the current URL. (Which, of course is required, as titles could change.) –  Arjan Jan 27 '11 at 11:51

2 Answers 2

Forget SEO, who cares about that!

What does this link to?

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12345

What does this link to?

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12345/ponies-and-unicorns

It seems to me that one is much clearer than the other, and preferable in all circumstances except in the case where you need an artifically short link. Which we also support, as:

http://stackoverflow.com/q/12345

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I didn't know about the shortcut option... where did this was documented? –  stacker Oct 23 '10 at 21:04
2  
So, it is just for the sake of human readability? –  raven Oct 23 '10 at 21:28
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the short link is not only good for being short, it's also good when you only have the article number (e.g. from the reputation report –  Carlos Heuberger Oct 23 '10 at 21:33
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raven: human readability is a very just sake. –  Peter Boughton Oct 23 '10 at 21:43
    
@stacker short links are documented at blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/… and blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/a-recipe-to-promote-your-site –  Jeff Atwood Oct 23 '10 at 21:46
    
Very true, and yet another reason why I dislike the hidden referral links for questions, which are easily used by accident! –  Arjan Jan 27 '11 at 11:54
    
@arjan hidden in plain sight! We are so sneaky... –  Jeff Atwood Jan 27 '11 at 11:56
    
Either that, @Jeff, or there are 300 users who willingly post annoying non-self-describing links on SO itself? (As an aside: it's Data Privacy Day tomorrow!) –  Arjan Jan 27 '11 at 12:25
    
@arjan remember that link did not exist on questions until this though -- the only way to get a question link was off the <h1> on the page –  Jeff Atwood Jan 27 '11 at 12:27
    
@Jeff, I'm not sure if that helps your statement about being sneaky or not. Are you trying to say that before August 2010, many of us were used to copying the <h1> or the location bar itself, and are probably still doing so? But new users might not be aware that the <h1> is clickable, and might simply see that link and use that instead? (Also: so that's already 300 users since August 2010?) –  Arjan Jan 27 '11 at 12:35

Because of Search Engine Optimization, you can read a bit more about it in Googles Search Engine Optimization Guidelines

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I still don't get it. Isn't it the content of the page that's important? What difference does the address make? –  raven Oct 23 '10 at 20:35
    
@raven the address also plays a part when search engines measure the relevance of a URL for a search term. Not as much as the content, of course, but it's still relevant. –  Pëkka Oct 23 '10 at 20:46
    
I perused those pages but didn't see anything related to "URL optimization". Is there a page I missed that specifically discusses how to craft one's URLs? –  raven Oct 23 '10 at 20:56
    
@raven, There's a document from Google about Search Enginge Optimization where it says a lot about URL structure. Can't find the PDF at the moment. But here's another resource for SEO and URL Structure: clickz.com/clickz/column/1712981/seo-url-structure –  Filip Ekberg Oct 24 '10 at 15:14
    
@Filip the word is engine, not enginge –  Dan Grossman Jan 27 '11 at 10:48
    
@Dan, it's common that other people correct such mistakes when found. It's a simple typo. –  Filip Ekberg Jan 27 '11 at 11:16
    
@Filip - only if they have enough rep though. (Dan has less than 2K as of this writing). –  ChrisF Jan 27 '11 at 11:21
    
I cannot edit your answers or comments, and I thought maybe you thought the word was enginge, as you wrote it 3 times. –  Dan Grossman Jan 27 '11 at 11:44
    
Don't know why I wrote that three times, I guess I just copied the sentance. :) –  Filip Ekberg Jan 27 '11 at 13:43

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