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What Is Your Blog’s URL Structure?

Earlier today I had conversations with two bloggers about URL structures on their WordPress blogs, and I thought it might make an interesting community discussion.

What is your blog’s URL structure?

Here on ProBlogger, I use one that has a combination of the date and post title by default: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/02/17/5-sales-email-myths-that-are-costing-you-money/

While on my photography blog I’ve chosen to use just the post title (without dates):

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/shooting-with-available-light-lifestyle-portraiture

My reasoning for these choices was pretty simple. For starters, I wanted words in the URLs because it was good for search engine optimization, and because word-heavy URLs tends to make more sense for readers when they’re looking at them—more sense, anyway, than the WordPress default, which is just numbers. Also:

  • ProBlogger information does date reasonably quickly. Some of the technology and tools I was talking about back in 2006 aren’t really relevant for today, so I figured having dates on posts and signaling that in URLs made sense.
  • dPS information is a little more timeless, as we talk more about principles of photography rather than specific gear (although that has changed a little since we started). I also update and repost old posts from time to time with a current date, so having the date in the URL was complicated and confusing.

So what about you? What’s your URL structure? Do you include dates, keywords, or perhaps leave it on the WordPress default?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

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Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    I use the same format as DPS. The URL remains the same even if I change categories, update posts etc.

  2. Mike Goad says:

    I’ve gone the route of just the title on all of my blogs. It just makes sense for me, though I don’t try to fill it with key words. Usually, I just write a title relating to the topic and that works well for the URL to that post.

  3. Jia Jun says:

    Wow, I need to agree on this. Comparison between timeless content and the other.
    I write about personal growth and development articles, it’s timeless, so I should go for the one same as dPS, while now I do include the date following with the title in my URL.
    Thanks Darren for this little thought provoking idea. :)

  4. I use words also so the keywords are always in my title..this helps for seo..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  5. For me, I don’t use date in the URL. Here’s a sample of my URL;
    http://www.entrepreneurshipsecret.com/3-best-ways-to-effectively-boost-your-small-business-revenue

    I used this because I’m just starting out and I think using keywords in URL would help alot.

  6. Tech Crates says:

    I use just the url/post title as the permalink structure for my blog. I use this structure because of its ease in remembering

  7. Bilal Kamoon says:

    Actually, my URL do contain date, but I don’t know how to remove it on blogger…

    Any ideas?

  8. john says:

    I’ve used a variety, including what you use here and DPS, and also prefacing with category name for some niche sites. But from what I’ve read you should use a numeric preface of some sort.

    From the WordPress Codex (http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks):

    For performance reasons, it is not a good idea to start your permalink structure with the category, tag, author, or postname fields. The reason is that these are text fields, and using them at the beginning of your permalink structure it takes more time for WordPress to distinguish your Post URLs from Page URLs (which always use the text “page slug” as the URL), and to compensate, WordPress stores a lot of extra information in its database (so much that sites with lots of Pages have experienced difficulties).

  9. On my blog the permalink contains a random number and the name of the blog post. I did not want to use date because somehow on the first glance it makes the post “dated”! I feel that people tend to click more on posts that are recent. I also use the name of the blog post for the same reason as mentioned by you – it tell the reader what the article is about and I guess it is also good for the spiders.

    Having said that I have a question – I am given to understand that words like a, the, of etc should be removed from the permalink because it would do good from the SEO point of view. If yes, why?

  10. Lye Kuek Hin says:

    Hi Darren,

    I am using url with date and post title. Actually thinking of changing to post title for better search engine optimization, i ended up giving up the thought. Guess i have made the correct decision as your answer had clear my doubts. Thanks.

  11. I use the same structure as you use for ProBlogger. And it’s one of the FIRST settings I change when building a new blog. It was interesting to hear your thoughts on this!

  12. Togrul says:

    Interesting topic.

    I personally use the second variant as I think it is more SEO friendly and easy to the eyes.

    Cheers,
    Togrul

  13. Jaime says:

    I use just the post name in the URL of my blog post. For me it is better for SEO purposes. Using the date does make sense in regards having outdated posts. But the dates are included on the actual post for visitors to see when published. I think it’s personal preference. But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. Angelica says:

    I chose the category/postname structure. Easy for me to mantain and does not conflict with my internal pages.

  15. Bob Dunn says:

    I also use the postname in my URL. Over the past 2 or 3 years I have been told by SEO “experts” various ways for various reasons. One told me at one time that google was paying more attention to the dates, so to keep them in the middle there. Another told me that the date works good in the middle as it separates the blog URL and the post URL. Lately, I was told it’s best just to go with the post name.

    Who knows really?? : )

  16. Lyndsy Simon says:

    I typically use “/%post_id%/%postname%/”.

    The reason for this is simple – WordPress resolves URLs to content in a specified order – first it looks for pages that match, then categories, then posts. Pages are set up to be at the root directory by default, so every URL request checks to see if it matches to string for every page on your site. Then it sees if the first part of the URL matches the categories identifier you have set. Finally, it looks at the post URL, piece by piece, broken up be the slashes.

    If you set your posts to display as “%postname%”, then it must check every request against every post name to see if it matches. If you post twice per day for 2 years, that’s about 700 comparisons. Meanwhile, if you use “///%postname%/”, then the system knows it only has to perform that comparison against posts made that specific month – now you’re only comparing 60 strings, which is an over 90% reduction in string computation on the database.

    My approach is in between – I put the post’s ID first, because numerical comparisons are much faster than string comparisons. This way, my URLs retain *most* of their SEO, and my database operations are faster.

    In the end, though, if you want to scale a WordPress install, you should really use some sort of hierarchy in your post URLs.

    (of course, after all that, my personal blog uses /%postname%/. Figures. )

  17. Definitely permalinks personalized with only the post name. I don’t know if the date in the adress is actually relevant for Google algorithm, i would say that he can processs that information very well even if its only on the post. So date is important for some projects, but i don’t think you really need to put it in the adress if you already have it in your posts.

  18. Andrew says:

    The best for SEO is actually:

    domain.com/id/title

    As one person mentioned earlier, the way wordpress works with post references it needs additional info to make the reroute more efficient. The shortest way of doing that character wise is with the post ID, making it the most efficient for SEO and just general site use for that matter.

    The only site I’d use date for in the title is where date has a huge impact on the content of the article, something like using wordpress as a CMS for a newspaper or classifieds site- then the usability of the URL would outweight the slight gain in SEO by cutting out of a few characters.

  19. Brandon says:

    I use the %postname% variant or the same as DPS. As I understand it one of Google’s criteria in ranking is counting the number of characters in the URL that proceed the keyword. The less the better.

    Brandon
    @dustcantkillme

  20. Ileane says:

    I don’t use the dates, just the post slug in my url’s. But it might be a good idea to include the dates, now that you mention it. It’s possible that I could have similar post slugs that as time goes on and this would be a good way to distinguish them.
    Thanks Darren.

  21. I am currently using the category and the name of the article.

    http://perezstudios.com/blog/all/trouble-in-japan

    Thanks for the post!

  22. MKR says:

    You can occasionally avoid the outdatedness issue by providing timeless stuff with the dated material. A guide on caching will still be good ten years from now even if you reference a plugin that could merge or go inactive.

  23. Elja Trum says:

    I’ve added a category to my blogpost. The thought is that it contains some relevant extra keywords and allows for an easy url for all topics in the same category by removing the post name.

    Like: topic/tips_and_tricks/how_to_create_blah_blah.asp

  24. Syam Kumar R says:

    I use /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/

  25. Justin says:

    I also use the date and url title as well, this seems to work best for me.

  26. I leave it on the WordPress default. So it only posts the category of the article and the article’s title. Guess I should be adding the date as well. Thanks for the tip!

  27. Tony says:

    I also use just the post title, and I remove some basic words like “a, the”. Like your photography blog, my content for the most part is not time sensitive so I decided against using the date.

  28. Dexter says:

    I use a plugin that tweets old posts to drive traffic, so viewers could land on my site anywhere. My blog is fashion related – I don’t want viewers to bounce based on seeing an old post, since the T-shirts I blog about will still be available, so I hide the date on my site. I don’t want to undermine that by displaying the date in the URL so I use the post slug.

  29. Himanshu says:

    i don’t use dates, have a simple one like your photography blog.

  30. LiewCF says:

    mine is /%postname%-%post_id%/
    post_id is used to differentiate duplicate post name, just in case.

  31. Paul Salmon says:

    I started out with Blogger, so the default was /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/. When I switched to WordPress I just kept the same URL structure – figured it was easier that way.

  32. Kiran says:

    I have mine with dates, which is great and agreeable with problogger.net ;)

  33. Also already read this guide http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks on WordPress site.For my old blog which using /category/post_title just left it behind. But for my new blog I choose http://blogname.com/year-month/post_name :)

  34. redwall_hp says:

    On my largest blog I have /YYYY/MM/DD/TITLE/ and on two smaller ones I have /CATEGORY/TITLE/.

  35. Tilen says:

    I use combination of the date and post title by default because I update my blog 1-4 times per day. I’m also using the combination of the date and post on some of my other blogs that I update frequently. I’m using just the post title on the blogs that are promoting specified products and are oriented in the affiliate marketing.

  36. I mostly use Postname as my default Permalink setting but for some of my blogs I use Category/Postname. So far its working good. But I’m thinking of trying to use dates and numbers like you do to see if I get better results. Thanks for the tip.

  37. mario monk says:

    I’m currently down to just post title. I was using category name in url before and I need to add it was a mistake.
    At one point on the road I decided to reorganize category structure in my website, and I was sacred to lose all seo achievements because of changing post urls.
    However, everything turned out okay after creating 301 redirects. Did not see any
    search engine traffic decrease.
    At this point I decided to make urls just domain > title style. Because I can’t be aware of what I would want to change later on.
    Regarding to date in urls. I like to come back to older posts and refurbish them. In this case having old date in url woul create confusion in reader, but changing an url would hurt seo.

  38. I use the date as well, but to be honest I wasn’t aware you could do URLs without the dates; so thanks for the heads up.

    Here’s an example of a URL about reusing wine corks: http://myzerowaste.com/2011/01/reuse-and-recycle-wine-corks/ I’ve edited the URL from the title too (and now realise I could have taken the ‘and’ out)

    Some of my information is time sensitive (or rather, it can become out of date because my site focuses on environmental issues), however, so perhaps dates IS a good idea for me. In addition, I sometimes run a weekly post on the same topic for a number of weeks, so having the date is a good way for readers to differentiate one post from another.

  39. Tiera says:

    I just have the year before the post title. I have a few regular features, so I thought it was important in archiving that I identify them by date somewhat, but I just thought that having the entire pub date in the URL was a little much.

  40. I hadn’t thought a lot about this actually and had to go look at my formatting. I have the year and then the title. No date and no category. I think I like it that way. I guess I could get rid of the year as I write about personal development and life balance and that doens’t change a whole lot!
    I cringe when I see people who have the default numeric permalink. How can you or search engines know what it is about?
    Bernice
    Would starting a business help your work/life balance?

  41. Good point on dates versus no dates.

    I choose name only, and now I feel even better about it since I mostly blog timeless spiritual ideas.

  42. I use category (because my categories are key words) / post ID (because it speeds it being found in the db / post name (of course) and end with a dot html so it appears as a static page that Google prefers:

    http://jaygreathouse.com/personal-growth-and-development/84/surviving-narcotic-rapture.html

    my custom permalink structure for all my WordPress blogs is:

    /%category%/%post_id%/%postname%.html

  43. Hi Darren,
    Thanks to one of your articles in the past I have chosen to use the title of my site followed by the posting title. Here is an example:

    http://thewondertechnique.com/simplify-healthy-living-tap-into-what-you-know/

    I believe this is best for getting the attention of readers and search engines.

    It looks like many people use this approach.

    Cheers,
    David

  44. Sandra says:

    Bilal….In response to your comment and question…I am with Blogger too. My default is the month, and the year followed by name of the post….and I like it that way. When I don’t see dates, it makes me think the posts are being recycled from the past. I like knowing they are current.

  45. Allen Walker says:

    For my post structure, I do category and title. I don’t do dates…

  46. Coach Dawn says:

    I’m embarrassed to say that I just figured out how to change my permalinks to include a title. My husband had told me how important it was for SEO… Oh well, better late than never. Now it’s: blog title/date/title.

  47. You guys are awesome! Don’t even know what I’m doing in your presence! Ha! I’m a newbie with a two-month old blog, and just this past weekend figured out how to change the URL from blogspot.com to just .com. (And that cost me ten bucks, ha!) I’m so thrilled and proud, and now I read this! Ha! I’ll never catch up! But the stats are showing my stupid little blog is growing, and speading all ’round the damn world, which is scary, too! Ha! So I’m going to keep following, if you don’t mind.

  48. Gregory says:

    I use http://vlatte.net/2011/03/ then article name. Keeps it organized and I can revisit the same topic and have no fear that I’ve duplicated a previous blog post title.

  49. Alex says:

    I use the category and post name permalink and it is the BIGGEST mistake I ever made.
    Having the category as part of the URL seemedlike a good idea keyword wise, but its more of a headache now than anything else,
    Wish I could take it all back.

    I could 301 every post and remove it but oh the effort!

  50. Jorge Barba says:

    This is a tricky one. On my main blog/website I still have the date/blog title format and have been thinking of changing it to just title. So what I did was that on my biz website, I configured it to just titles. I have noticed that using just the title has dramatically improved my organic traffic from before.

    But still, I don’t know if changing my blog site will be a good move because I use the PostRank plugin and it has that data in there already.