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SEO Friendly Blog Post Titles

There was a recent post in one of the professional-photographer-type forums by Nashville shooter David Bean about “behind the scenes video” that a lot of photographers are starting to feature on their websites. He provided a link, http://blog.visualreserve.com/?p=256, which from an SEO standpoint is not very useful. That’s the default URL structure for WordPress permalinks, which is what the permanent URL for your bog posts are called.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, I called David to ask if I could use his post as an example and he said “absolutely.”)

The part of the URL “?p=256″ contains no keywords and therefore can cause indexing problems for search engines. In fact, even WordPress refers to these as “Ugly Links!” The easiest way to correct this problem in WordPress is to go into “Settings”, then “Permalinks”, and select “Day and Name” which would give you something like:

http://yoursite.com/2010/02/19/sample-post-title/

That gives you the date of the post, then a “/”, then a hyphenated version of the title of your post. This is much more SEO-friendly than the default permalink. WordPress refers to these types of links as “Almost Pretty.”

But the best solution is to have WordPress generate what it refers to as “Pretty Links.” Do this by selecting “Custom Structure” under the “Common Settings” choices. WordPress utilizes pre-defined references to various post data so that you can construct your URLs any way that suits you. I’d suggest a structure that give you links that include the category name followed by the post title. So your URL might look like:

http://yoursite.com/negotiating/learning-to-say-no/

This structure contains relevant keywords for a blog discussing “negotiating” such as the one you are reading, and could help to improve search engine placement for the post. To change you structure to produce links like that I’ve described, add the following code in the “Custom Structure” box:

/%category%/%postname%/

To see a complete list of the post data reference codes and read a bit more about this, visit the official WordPress information page covering this topic.

Good luck!

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4 comments
  1. SEO for Blog says: August 31, 20111:30 am

    You would think that WordPress would make this the default permalink structure, wouldn’t you? Thanks for sharing. It’s amazing how many sites out there aren’t taking advantage of this.

  2. cong ty bao ve says: June 2, 201112:36 am

    I do SEO ,now . I need learning so much, thanks for sharing

  3. Scott says: February 9, 201111:11 pm

    I can tell you from experience that this is an invaluable piece of advice. By following the steps above and using quality keywords in your post titles and categories you stand an infinitely better chance of having you post rank much higher. For example, I followed this advice on a software review post and after submitting it to a few social bookmarking directories I found myself in position five on Google within 4 days. This would have NEVER happened without my having followed the pretty link advice described above. I’ve tried SEO on poorly named WP posts and never came close to these results. Great post!

  4. Deirdre says: November 5, 20101:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I had no idea :D I fixed it :D

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