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I am starting blog and deciding on permalink structure. Basically I noticed that https://sujanpatel.com/ or https://growandconvert.com/ use category in the permalink. But also most company blogs (I checked especially SEO tools) just use "/blog/postname" structure. There are countless blog posts claiming that the category can have positive effect on SEO, but I didn't really found any real evidence or anything conclusive (everybody just copy-pasting the same advice).

  • JK

    Jan Kužel

    17 days ago #

    Any insight on doing this @sujanpatel, @benjihyam?

    • BH

      Benji Hyam

      17 days ago #

      I've always debated this myself on which is better.

      To be honest, I'm not really sure for SEO purposes. It's kind of just an old habit I do on all of my sites.

      I like /%category%/%postname%/ just because it distinguishes blog content from pages on your site by including the category in the URL.

      I just think it's important not to have too many categories on your site

  • YK

    Yannis Karagiannidis

    17 days ago #

    No difference, there are hundreds of other signals search engines value

  • JV

    Jason Vedadi

    17 days ago #

    Not sure there is a true 'better' way, but here's what I would suggest to find what works for you:

    1. Make sure the structure makes sense to the reader, with some thought to SEO keywords.
    2. Shorter is usually better, but the directory structure should apply to rule #1.
    3. Look at other SEO/marketing blogs (think Moz, Neil Patel, etc.) and make a list of 3-5 structures, then choose one that fits your style.

    Hope that helps!

  • SP

    Sujan Patel

    17 days ago #

    The focus of my website is the blog so I didn't feel the need to add /blog/ to the URL structure but I planned on discussing multiple topics such business, personal journey and marketing stuff and in 2012 I went with using the URL structure /category/postname and just never changed it. Now a days I mostly write about marketing so the URL I mostly /marketing/postname

    So what's better for SEO? It doesn't really matter unless you plan to write 100s of blog post a month where you need categorization to help define the site structure.. Just keep your URLs short and include keywords.

  • CH

    Chris Hornak

    9 days ago #

    I've always gravitated towards /postname because it requires less planning and more flexibility. If you go /category/postname you're saying you're going to stick to a core set of categories. If you go /category/postname and don't stick to a set group of categories you'll quickly find the day where you're not sure what category to pick. If that's the case then that extra folder quickly loses its value.

    I also feel /category/postname is setting the standard that you'll be producing a lot of content. Because you need to create enough content that you're a topic authority on each topic.

    That all said I also think there's value in /category/postname if you are executing a very well planned out and structured content strategy. Which would arguably be the best approach... but let's be honest most blogs aren't that thought out.

  • KI

    Kevin Indig

    17 days ago #

    The best way depends on your goals with the blog. Do you want to serve many categories or just one or two? For the latter, you don't need [category] in the URL structure. For the former, you do.

    • JK

      Jan Kužel

      17 days ago #

      Why? ... do I really need the category in URL (if I serve content in many categories)?

      UX/reader wise, categories can still be available on the website ... so looking up all content from one category is still possible.

      Why would I need it to be in included in the URL as well?

      Unless having some SEO benefit (that nobody confirmed to me yet), I only see downsides. Data says that longer URLs perform worse + I lock the naming of my categories and can't change post's category once I start distributing the URL as it is the first time. So no category tweaking forever (or not without some damage).

      • KI

        Kevin Indig

        17 days ago #

        Categories can help to build a taxonomy of your website and give it a structure / hierarchy. It's hard to prove with data but that makes it easier for search engines to understand the various topics on your site better from a semantic standpoint of view. Again, that's mostly the case if you actually have several categories.

        From a UX POV it helps on the site itself and in the search results if you have breadcrumb rich snippets because the category indicates the topic the article is in.

        There are also benefits from an analytical POV: you can better separate articles in different categories. That allows you to understand which categories perform better or worse and act accordingly.

        I wouldn't advise to put one article in many categories, maybe 1-2. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of categories as an ontology.

      • SV

        Steven van Vessum

        16 days ago #

        Search Engines prefer shorter URLs over longer URLs. Having said that, the biggest benefit of a clear, readable URL is that it's easy for users to scan and understand. So generally, the shorter the better.

        But....you need to think about your information architecture (the way you organize content in your website) too - if you've got a website with 500+ pages and you're not using categorization you may quickly lose overview of your content. A clear URL structure is especially important for larger websites, there it's essential.

        For those interested in reading more about URLs: a few weeks ago I wrote down all I know and could find on the matter here: https://www.contentkingapp.com/academy/urls/.

  • JA

    Justin Adelson

    16 days ago #

    I do not think I've seen this mentioned yet, but I do know that Wordpress will create a separate page and slug for each category (i.e. http://www.perfectpixelmarketing.com/category/advertising/); if you are using a plugin like Yoast you can create a meta description for each category as well. Will that improve your SEO? It certainly sounds like it should, but unfortunately, that is an assumption on my part.

    • KH

      Keith Horwood

      10 days ago #

      It is possible to get traffic on certain categories, especially if you work hard on making the page great for the topic.

      I usually index categories and deindex tags.

  • KH

    Keith Horwood

    10 days ago #

    I prefer a shorter URL for blog posts. Unless your site is huge and has some distinct sections.

    I had some categories for guide content, for example on CoinDesk.com, but for news, it was better to strip the category - especially as news can fit into multiple categories pretty easily.

  • IV

    iikka väkiparta

    10 days ago #

    I don't think there is a major difference for SEO perspective if the category is included in the URL or not.

    There are a few things to consider when choosing your URL though.

    1) Length of the URL. Google (and other search engines) show the URL in its search results. If it is short enough users will see the entire URL. If it is longer, then it is truncated. Therefore it is recommended to keep the URLs short enought for the entire URL to be shown. In general it is a good practice to try to keep the URL at less than 60 characters.

    2) Taxonomy. Google also uses the URL for its indexing and highlighting in its search results. So if the category is relevant for the results, then it makes sense to show it. However if you expect to write tens of posts on same category, then it does devaluate the value of that marker for individual posts.

    3) Generally google also assumes that the URL hierachy tells a bit about the importance of the content. So the more layers the content is down, the less valuable Google considers the content to be. This would indicate that it is better to drop the category.

    So in general, unless you really believe that the category brings considerable increase to the potential reader (when seeing the url in search results) and helps Google to categorize your content, I would drop the category from the URL.

    some more information on URL practices. https://moz.com/blog/15-seo-best-practices-for-structuring-urls

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