A Permalink Structure for 2010

Back in December of 06 I wrote a post about permalinks, to SEO your keywords in the permalink.

At that time I recommended you structure your post categories using keywords for the names.   I still recommend it.   But I no longer recommend using categories in the permalink structure of your blog.

The only custom permalink for doing so is: /%category%/%postname%/

A lot has changed since Dec. 06.   I’ve written a lot of posts on several blogs.   And I find the /%category%/%postname%/ structure to be limiting.   I want a structure that is more flexible and in tune with our times.

Shorter URLs are better

You can get your category names into the url but it makes for some very long url’s.   I now think it is better to get right to the point and the best way to do that is with a structure of /%postname%/ .

There is no need to keyword stuff your permalinks.   It looks spammy today.

Keep it Short and to the Point

Common knowledge says words are weighted from Left to Right.   The words closed to the Left have more weight.   Under the old structure the title of the post ends up clear to the right behind the category.

Make it easy to re categorize your posts

As your blog grows and you have more and more content there might be good reason to change your categories and re-file some of your posts in new categories.   If you put the category in your permalink it makes it very difficult to move your posts from one category to another.

Should You Change ?

Any new sites I start for myself or develop for others I’ve gone to /%postname%/   but the older sites like the Lab I’ll keep the old structure.   There is a lot of content that I don’t want to mess with changing the structure and dealing with 301 redirects.

However, if I had fewer than 30 posts, (oh, make that 50 posts) I would make the change.

Comments

  1. Great info, Dave. I have only been blogging for a few months and in that brief time I have been using the post name as the url, so I’m glad to see that is what you recommend. Short and sweet.

  2. /%postname%/ Good!

    When I saw your post title come through my email I held my breadth hoping you were not going to recommend another structure. 😉
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..Hue Estates Kennewick Homes For Sale =-.

  3. I definitely agree and for all the reasons you’ve mentioned above. Short URLs look way better and I think consumers are slowly beginning to realize what a URL is and notice when it looks funny/long/spammy.

    We’ve moved categories a few times in the past and it really ends up being a huge pain in the arse with all the redirects etc..

    Especially since G finally mentioned that redirected links lose a tad bit of juice.

  4. Great post DAVE! I too have recently moved to the /%postname%/ structure for the exact reasons you mention here. I am in the process of getting my blogs up to par and then will be turning comments back on as well.

    Great info as always, this is quickly becoming my favorite blog to visit!

  5. My understanding is that site title can differ from the permalink title. For example, the All-In-One SEO plugin for WordPress allows the title to be changed at some future date without needing to modify the permalink or set up a redirect.
    .-= Penasquitos´s last blog ..Houses In San Diego Set Trend =-.

  6. Glad to hear it. I have been shortening mine as well. Thanks for helping us stay abreast of the constant flux!

  7. I just found your blog Dave and I really appreciate the quality of your content and advice. I’d been advised to use the category/postname configuration and never thought twice about it. With a new blog I’m starting I’ll take your updated advice. Thanks.
    .-= Carroll´s last blog ..Want To Get More Clients Fast =-.

  8. Brendan Aiello from San Mateo says:

    Dave,

    It seems as shorter urls are the way to go. But at well over 100 posts I don’t want to deal with all the redirects either. If it did take the effort to do all the redirects I’m sure some SEO juice would still be lost :(. … Damned if I do, damned if I don’t…
    .-= Brendan Aiello from San Mateo´s last blog ..Jeffrey’s Hamburgers in San Mateo =-.

  9. Thanks for this post. It really made me think about my permalinks on my site and you are 100% right. As a matter of fact, as soon as i submit this comment im going to go “clean up” my permalinks. They do look spammy when you stuff keywords and i didn’t think anything of it until now.

  10. Austin,

    If you start making changes to your permalink structure be aware unless you use a 301 redirect your links to post and pages will all go to 404 unfound till the pages are reindexed by google.

    I mentioned this in the post. A word to the wise.

    Dave

  11. can 404 unfound hurt your SEO? I recently moved my website to a different host and did a total redesign and now when i check my stats on google webmaster it shows a lot of pages showing 404 unfound. Im not quite sure how to go about a 301 redirect or if it’s even possible. I have altered my robots.txt file to prevent google from trying to crawl any pages that aren’t there. I might totally be wrong in doing that, but i guess i can say im not very website savvy when it comes to this.

  12. OFH,

    You should do 301 redirects for those pages that are showing 404. You do this in your .htaccess file. When you find a 404 copy the part after the .com and paste it into your .htaccess file followed by the entire new url location. Do this for each 404 you find. You can test it as soon as you save.

    For example. You find a 404 for http://www.myoldsite.com/new-homes.html You have this now located at http://www.mynewsite.com/newer-homes/ the 301 redirect goes at your old site .htaccess and looks like this:

    redirect 301 /new-homes.html http://www.mynewsite.com/newer-homes/

    put each of these on a separate line. You can test this immediately after you save it to the server. There is no delay like when you change a DNS.

    Then don’t forget to remove the robot.txt code you put in place.

    Dave

  13. I totally agree with you about using postname for the url structure. Many people don’t know this when they start out and have a huge job having to change it over later. This post is a must read for those who want to use WordPress as their content management system. It will save them future headaches for sure.
    Al the best,
    Eren
    .-= Eren Mckay´s last blog ..Princess and the frog baby shower =-.

Trackbacks

  1. REtechReport - The best in real estate tech for June 28, 2010 — REtechSource says:

    […] you use WordPress you may have played around with your link structure some. A Permalink Structure for 2010 takes a look at how you may want to set yours up. I agree with Dave 100% on this on keeping it […]