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URL the SEO way

Well before I try to justify the topic, let me tell you that I am no expert on SEO by far. While there are tons of articles on how one should structure the website’s URL to optimize it for Search Engine this one is on a small tweak I did to address the issue everyone faces while deciding on the URL pattern for their blog.

Also, I didn’t really find an authentic article by any search engine provider itself which details down how one should structure the URL to be search friendly. Buy I believe people are smart enough to observe the behavior of search engines over time and share their experience to help beginners like me take some advantage right from scratch. I suggest the following articles for anyone working to make their URLs search engine optimized:


Using Permalinks

Boost Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) using Permalinks

A couple of points we try to address through the permalink/URL:

  1. Though content is the king! it’s favorable to have the URL contain the topic title the article is supposed to address. Now further down the hierarchy the description goes, lesser becomes the likelihood for it to feature in the top search results. So for blogs focusing on a specific category, it’s ideal to have the domain name itself describing the broader topic followed by specific article description. From my understanding so far, the hierarchy is determined the number of slashes ‘/’ before the description comes in.

So ‘www.yourdomain.com/article-title’ is more search engine friendly than ‘www.yourdomain.com/topics/category/article-title’.

  1. Though ‘www.yourdomain.com/article-title’ format is more optimized for search engines, it poses two concerns:
    1. It robs you of any kind of meaningful structuring of content.
    2. You can’t have duplicate article titles. If I blog for 20 years, I may very well have duplicate article titles.

What #b. can be addressed with a little caution, one still needs to have some kind of structuring in place.

Based on personal preferences people have come up with some kind of trade offs between structuring and search engine friendliness. The following are some examples (Since I use WordPress, the examples correspond to that, but the idea is same for any blogging platform):

Greater structuring and lesser SEO:

  • www.yourdomain.com/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/
  • www.yourdomain.com/topics/%category%/%postname%/

Greater SEO and lesser structuring:

  • www.yourdomain.com/%postname%/

I have a basic question. If the ‘/’ is the culprit and makes the URL search un-friendly, who stops you from using something like:

  • www.yourdomain.com/year-month-day-postname

The post you are reading has the following URL

And here’s how it is done in WordPress using a custom permalink specification:

  • /%year%-%monthnum%-%day%-%postname%/

Now isn’t that simple? And it gives you the best of both worlds I guess. I am still looking for any gotchas as I haven’t yet found a blog with such a URL pattern, which I think is quite obvious. If you see one (either a gotcha or a site), please let me know.

Till then I’ll be happy that I’ve discovered something unique 😉

And before I forget to mention, all this is just a logical representation of the content/posts and has nothing to do with the actual structuring of the content, so it can be changed at will without bothering about the content. But but but….migration from one structure to the other is painful without hampering the credibility the links would have earned. So it’s best to decide the URL pattern right from the word go!