SEE ALSO: Spam’s In Terms Of Google
|Image Credit: Teamugi|
Notice that numbers and stop-words (like ‘to’) have been omitted by default. Numbers are confusing for search bots unless they are in the conventionally accepted date or post number form. Stop-words make the URL needlessly long. Permalink structure is important if you wish to rank, and here are the top 10 SEO secrets to optimize your blog permalink that you might want to bear in mind.
1. Keep it brief
That is, make sure your permalink slug is between 3 and 5 words only (exceptions are always there). This is Google’s official stand. Longer URLs may appear spammy. In any case, when you twit a post, it helps to have a URL that will not be truncated after a few retweets. Our slug could look like ‘seo-optimize-blog-permalink’.
2. Make it catchy
You probably know how it makes sense to create eye-catching post-titles. Well, slugs are no different – make them killer slugs (sounds like a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it?)!
3. Set it right
If on WordPress, go to Settings > Permalink > Common Settings from your dashboard, and change the permalink from default to /%postname%/. You can also use the Day and name setting which is basically what Blogger does – the post date is always visible. This is very useful when people want to find the most updated content on SERP.
4. Make it meaningful
Whether or not you use stop-words, it is best when the slug makes sense. The present article’s title, fortunately, is such that minor variations will still make sense: ‘top-seo-permalink’, would probably convey a similar meaning as ‘seo-optimize-blog-permalink’. You can even leave out the word ‘seo’ depending upon your keyword research. And you don’t have to stick to the title – your slug can be anything you like. Also, as mentioned in the intro, leave out numbers.
5. Hyphen vs Underscore
A hyphen between words is space, to the search bots’ eyes. An underscore, on the other hand, is as good as a word, and very confusing. Never use anything but hyphens to form your slug. Never use space either, or the %20 sign will appear in the URL and make you look like a rank amateur.
6. Keep it low
To a Windows based server, a web address is a web address, no matter the letter-case. Linux will distinguish between lower and upper case URLS. And search engines will distinguish, but send you to the nearest URL (in case of blogs, not HTML sites – those will show 404 errors). Even though you will reach the destination, a duplicate link is created in the process, and you become your own worst competitor when link juice gets divided between the two links, thus bringing down your rank. Make it a habit to use only lower case when forming permalinks. In case there are too many mix-ups already, use 301 redirections to tell the search engines that there is no duplicate URL or content. It is best to avoid uppercase altogether, because a Linux based server will show numerous errors which cannot be corrected by simple redirection.
7. Be static
The default wordpress permalink, for exmple has an ending that looks like this: ?p=123. This is a dynamically generated PHP page URL – the page itself is created on the fly as the query is made. Remarkable, but it is best to refrain from hard coding this kind of structure into your blog.
8. Be direct
The more folders and directories you create, the longer your permalink will be. It is best to have just blog/postname instead of, say, blog/2013posts/guestposts/postname. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but the principle remains the same: a direct URL is better than one that carries a lot of directory baggage around.
9. Don’t overdo the URL
Another problem is the obsession with keyword spamming a URL by naming categories with words that appear in the slug as well. For example, our slug could look like seo/seo-optimize-blog-permalink. This is both ridiculous and spammy. If you wish to be repetitive, use LSI keywords instead, in which case you would leave out the ‘seo’ that is already in the slug. However, the entire practice is redundant.
10. Don’t experiment everyday
If you wish, set up a temporary blog and experiment with permalink structures until you can make up your mind. Having various forms of links on your blog and frequently changing their format will lead to too many errors, and Google may view your site as a lab experiment best set aside. Be consistent, be meaningful, and you’ll do just fine with whatever choice you end up making.
Finally, having your own domain is always the best choice. Yourblog.com looks way more professional to both readers and search engines than Yourblog.Wordpress.Com. Make that small investment today, and you will thank yourself later.