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


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


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

  • 2
    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, 2011 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


Forget SEO, who cares about that!

What does this link to?


What does this link to?


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:


  • I didn't know about the shortcut option... where did this was documented?
    – stacker
    Oct 23, 2010 at 21:04
  • 2
    So, it is just for the sake of human readability?
    – raven
    Oct 23, 2010 at 21:28
  • 1
    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](stackoverflow.com/reputation()
    – user141148
    Oct 23, 2010 at 21:33
  • 4
    raven: human readability is a very just sake. Oct 23, 2010 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 Oct 23, 2010 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, 2011 at 11:54
  • @arjan hidden in plain sight! We are so sneaky... Jan 27, 2011 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, 2011 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 Jan 27, 2011 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, 2011 at 12:35

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

  • 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, 2010 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.
    – Pekka
    Oct 23, 2010 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, 2010 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 Oct 24, 2010 at 15:14
  • @Filip the word is engine, not enginge Jan 27, 2011 at 10:48
  • @Dan, it's common that other people correct such mistakes when found. It's a simple typo. Jan 27, 2011 at 11:16
  • @Filip - only if they have enough rep though. (Dan has less than 2K as of this writing).
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 27, 2011 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. Jan 27, 2011 at 11:44
  • Don't know why I wrote that three times, I guess I just copied the sentance. :) Jan 27, 2011 at 13:43

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