There’s always something to howl about

Project Bloodhound: URL Structure

When you start browsing through blogs and as you click from post to post and page to page, watch the address bar. Here are some examples:

This is the one from the post that we chose for the SEO contest.

Here is one of my posts on BHB

Why the difference?
First off, Greg uses what is known as the default permalink structure. The one that comes out of the box. He did this because when he fired up BHB, it made referencing the posts easier for him. There is NOTHING wrong with this. Optimization is about making choices and trade offs, not about good and evil.

I chose a more keyword based structure that has become pretty popular these days. Here’s how you do it:
In WP go to Settings: and then Permalinks. You will see this:

Here’s a closer look:

These are your choices and you can see that I went to “Custom” and typed in /%postname%/ and hit save changes. Simple as that. IMPORTANT NOTE: On a few hosts this will barf up an error saying that the Permalink structure cannot be changed. If you are on GoDaddy or 1and1, feel free to email me and I will tell you how to solve this.

The effect of this is that any posts you write will include the title of the post in the url. For me, it makes it easier for the reader AND for the search engines. Doing something SOLELY for the sake of search engines is rarely if ever wise. Ideally, what enhances user experience and adds relevance will help you rank (having a site made of FLASH would be a BIG exception to that…)

Why you should NOT just arbitrarily go and change this with an established blog. Simply put, the search engines already knows where all of Greg’s posts are. He is right IMO to NOT change things and move their “cheese”. You can and redirect the old posts’ URLs to the new ones with a 301 redirect, but that can be WORK. I wanted to keep this simple. And while they figured out where everything was / is, he would lose some longtail goodness.

Stephanie, in your question, your current site is written in ASP (all of the url’s end in .asp or .aspx) so WHATEVER you do, you are going to change the urls and need to do some redirecting. This is where the trade offs occur, unfortunately and some long tail traffic may well take a momentary hit IMO.

Search engine friendly urls help, but they are not everything. They are just one thing IMO.

This post is just a basic start. What I would love is for some other search engine savvy folks to add to this with specific ideas for Stephanie’s site and give her some love. Here’s the post I am referring to.

Related posts:

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