An important part of SEO is the information contained in a URL. URL’s containing query parameters (information) such as page-id’s, category id’s etc. are readable by search but search engines have a hard time determining the post content from these types of URL’s.
Therefore, we would want to convert www.mydomain.com/?page_id=5 to a “pretty url” called a permalink. Once your permalinks have been set up your URL’s should read as follows www.mydomain.com/weddings/jack-and-jill-wedding-at-the-hill. Now this URL is more attractive to the user and to the Search Engines, as it contains keywords which the Search Engines (SE) use to determine the content on a page. If we take a closer look at the URL, we can see how a SE could start determining the content.
- Type of Post? – Wedding
- Who does it involve? – Jack and Jill
- Where the event took place? – The Hill
- What was the event? – Wedding
- Who is the source? Mydomain.com
The breakdown demonstrates how a SE would use different data in URL to determine a page’s content.
However, the question is,
What should the structure of the URL be?
- Date Base : www.mydomain.com/2012/01/26/jack-and-jill-wedding-at-the-hill/
- Category Based: www.mydomain.com/weddings/jack-and-jill-wedding-at-the-hill
Date based permalinks are a great way of display your posts by date and to show the user the date the post was published in the URL. The only drawback of date based permalinks is that for a single author blog it creates a large amount of duplicate content, something SE’s hate, due to the structure of the URL creating archive pages for the day, month and year. Each of these archive pages would look similar to your home page or blog page as they both would list your recent blog content.
*Archive pages are any pages the list your content by a tag, category or date.
The category structure is my preferred structure for single user blogs. Category permalink structure gives the category and the post name in the URL and instead of date archives been created a category archive is created. The category archive is different to your home or blog page due to the fact that only posts from the particular category are listed.
An added advantage of category based permalinks it often allows us to get an extra couple keywords into the URL.
Just to show you what I was trying to explain above take a look at the following webpages and notice how the content on the date pages are very similar if not identical to each other.
How to setup permalinks in WordPress?
Follow these steps to set your permalinks.
- Login into WordPress
- Scroll to Settings and click Permalinks
- Wordpress gives you options for date based archives or to have a custom permalink. Custom permalinks are where you can select a category based permalinks.
For a category based URL, enter the following into the custom structures input box.
4.Click save changes and your permalinks will now be set.
Using the correct permalinks is a key attribute to your rankings in Google. We can see this by the way Google displays its search results. As we can see in the image results that if the search keyword or parts of the keyword match the keywords in the web address, Google will highlight the keywords in the web address showing a match has been found.
In the next post we look at optimization of page titles as well as optimizing your page description. We will also have a look at the SEO plugin you should be using for your blog.
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