WordPress SEO: Think about Shorter URLs for 2017

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Our goal with these WordPress blog posts is to help you make the best use of the most popular content management system (CMS) on the Web. With that in mind, we understand that SEO is still important to website owners despite constant changes to search algorithms. We want you to start out 2017 on the right foot by maximizing your site’s SEO potential. One way to do that is through shorter URLs.

A URL is essentially an address that tells Web browsers where to find the pages and posts they are looking for. Experienced WordPress users know they have multiple options for creating URLs within the CMS. Those options are:

  • plain
  • day and name
  • month and name
  • numeric
  • post name
  • custom structure.

Each of these options can be found under the ‘Permalinks’ section in the WordPress settings. For SEO purposes, most experts recommend the ‘Post name’ option with the understanding that the title of a post will also contain the focus keyword or phrase of the content. Here’s what you might not know: Google prefers shorter URLs that are more keyword targeted. They are not alone.

An intriguing MarketingSherpa study conducted several years ago found that web users are 250% more likely to click on an organic listing with a short, concise URL. They were even more likely if the link with the shorter URL followed one with a long, complicated URL.

Editing Your URLs

Assuming you use the ‘Post name’ setting for generating URLs automatically, you may end up with some pretty long URLs due to your post titles being long as well. This is not a problem. Open the post in question in the WordPress editor, then look toward the top of the screen to find the post’s Permalink. Next to it should be an ‘Edit’ button; click it. You can now edit the URL to be anything you want to be.

Our suggestion is that you make the URL as short as possible without sacrificing its SEO value. A popular suggestion among experts is to use your focus keyword or phrase here. Below are two examples:

  • Before Editing – https://yoursite.com/blog/WordPress-SEO-Think-about-Shorter-URLs-for-2017/
  • After Editing – https://yoursite.com/blog/WordPress-Shorter-URLs/

We could make it even shorter by eliminating ‘WordPress’ if we felt it necessary for SEO purposes. The idea here is that ‘Shorter URLs’ happens to be our focus keyword phrase. Search engine spiders will see that phrase in the title, in the first paragraph, and scattered randomly throughout the rest of the text. That will give them a good idea of what the post is about for ranking purposes.

One last thing: did you notice the hyphens between the various elements of the URL? Those hyphens are necessary to separate keywords and phrases. Without the hyphens, search engine algorithms do not know what to do with the words they find.

If you want to maximize the SEO value of your WordPress site for 2017, start thinking about using shorter URLs.

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