Optimal URL Structure

By Daniel Scocco

Having an optimal URL structure for your website straight from the beginning is very important, both because it will attract more readers and because it will be really difficult to change it afterwards.

An optimal URL structure will not use numbers or strange characters on the permalinks, it will be short and describe the content of the page.

Here is an example of a poor URL structure:

http://www.domain.com/2007/02/17/archives/p=?2176

Here is an example of an efficient URL structure:

http://www.domain.com/post-title/

An optimal URL structure will be more user friendly and it will also improve your search engine rankings. Most search engines, in fact, give a high weight for keywords present on the URL structure.

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WordPress users can set an optimal URL structure by going into the Control Panel, then Options, then Permalinks. After you check the “Custom” structure and insert “/%postname%/” as a custom structure. This will make your permalinks display the post title right after the domain name.



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56 Responses to “Optimal URL Structure”

  • Steve

    I have always included the year and date in addition to the post title for the permalinks. I guess on my next blog I will have to change this practice.

  • daniel replicas

    i wonder if this site has a good url structure?

  • Bang Kritikus

    How to apply this concept in a blogspot

  • Seb

    Is it bad to have a ‘-‘ in the url?

    http://www.example-test.com

    I wonder if it affects the SERPs

  • kendra

    Thank you so much for this info! I’ve been totally frusterated with the default setting on my posts urls. This has saved me from hiring someone to change it for me!

  • Visionaer

    unluckily,I use the windows host,not by linux,solved the 404 problem caused by”index.php”
    i choose /%postname%/ finaly

  • andries

    How do I get employed in your company

  • Whimfield

    Thank you!!! Finally, a short clear post that explains this. Thank you!

  • SEO Genius

    Great article thank you Daniel 🙂

  • allez sport 2005

    <a href=’http://darreatpics/thumbslrm/text486.htm

  • Strangely

    I’m in the same quandary as Jeff, (comment 37), as when I start to write I have one topic in mind, but in my own little world of interconnections where everything is related (I’m a Buddhist), I find that I have to add more and more categories to a post, so that by the end, the post may have three or four categories – I just don’t have the heart to give a post one category!

    Some people say you should use tags – but I think the same principal applies, in that the search engine sees multiple versions of content – which is bad as we are always told.

    Something weird happens to my posts’ URL Structure when I add a translator to my pages as well…. I can’t presently find much about it except to say that I get quite a few 404s with /chives/ in the URL title, which is a truncated “archives” folder. Maybe I shouldn’t use translation widgets?

    I currently use the numeric option to make each post URL unique as when I started, I could foresee times when I’d post with the same title, as several commentors have said previously, and I didn’t like the look of the date setup. That was my yardstick as I’d never blogged before. However, I’d read up a bit, and apparently, the big thing for Google is the actual title of, and on a page, followed by the content. The date is well down the priority list, and google gives you black marks for duplicate content.

    Thanks for a great set of postings on your site. I shall be working on lots of your tips in the near future.

  • Jeff Swanson

    This is all great information, however, I still haven’t heard a clear-cut answer on what the best url structure is for posts that can fall into multiple categories. I will be working on a blog soon and need to know what is the best and the permalinks can potentially be attached to multiple categories, or tags. Which of the following would be the best permalink URL given that the category URL would be http://www.example.com/category/

    http://www.example.com/date-month/post-title.aspx

    http://www.example.com/random-category/post-title.aspx

    http://www.example.com/id/post-title.aspx

    http://www.example.com/post-title/id.aspx

    http://www.example.com/post-title.aspx

    By /random-post/, I mean that I would just pick one category if the permalink was in multiple categories.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  • Kazzi

    Hi

    I’m a newbie/numpty when it comes to blogging so please dont laugh if I’m asking the obvious here lol
    I have just changed my urls to use the post name so would I have to get a new sitemap?

    Fab blog by the way! 🙂

    Thanks

  • covarmon

    dombase

  • Karthik

    1. You can have multiple posts with the same title, sequential numbers are added at the end of the URLs automatically by WP.

    2. If you have posts named as pages, it causes a conflict and WP prefers to show the page rather than the post.

    3. Having URLs that are both short and having relevant keywords is an important SEO factor, albeit not as much as other factors – still, it is.

    4. A URL of the form /%postname.html is better than /%postname%/ by a very small margin as search engines assume that in the latter case, the post is on the second level. It is common knowledge that Google gives more weightage to pages at the root level.
    Having a URL of the form /%postname%/ also means a possibility of duplicate content penalty as if you use /%postname%/ or /%postname%, it redirects to the same post *without* changing the URL. Google hates the same content on two URLs. There is a way around this, you can install a plugin to avoid it – but why bother when you can use /%postname.html?

    5. Using /%postname%/ in the URL also means that you can’t make posts such as “WP Admin” or something similar. But if you use /%postname.html, you don’t face the problem.

    The above points are correct to the best of my knowledge – if you need more clarification, click on my name to read my post – I’ve linked the post to my name so as not to appear to be dropping links!

    Hope that helps.

  • Damn Printer

    Oh God I really need to fix my permalinks!

  • Aahz

    I’ve been working my way through your excellent “Blog Setup: 40 Practical Tips” and have found myself a bit stuck here. Is there any way to alter the category URLs, themselves? For example, right now my category URLs are – MYSITE.com/?cat=16 when I’d like it to be – MYSITE.com/anarchy

    I’ve got the titles optimized fine, as well as my post, Page and archive titles and URLs. All that’s left is the category URLs.

  • Patricia

    I’ve been wondering about the permalink structure for a while now, there re lots of different opinions on the subject. One of my blogs, which has a PR7 uses the dafault permalink structure simply because I didn’t know any better when I started and after reaching a PR7 I was afraid that changing the structure would affect the PR. I haven’t tried any plugins yet, do they really do the job in keeping the PR?

    As for my other blogs with lower PRs I’ve been using the category/postname structure and I think this is the best alternative if you don’t use multiple categories for posts, however, if you do, like it’s been said above, it could become a little bit of a problem. Even so, I think it’s far better than using dates.

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