How many times have you ever looked back at your old blog posts’ permalinks?
I’m going to guess:
- Probably never.
We get so engaged in finding the right keyword density, the perfect word count, and choosing the title of the article that we simply ignore the fact that permalinks are as important as content in search engine ranking.
Google (and every other search engine) creates a cache of every page or post you publish on your blog.
While it’s correct that each search engine has its own ways of determining the ranking of pages for the searched keyword, and it’s also true that the content of the post plays a crucial role in getting you higher page ranking (and ultimately traffic), those are not the only things at play.
If you notice, all search engines highlight the keywords one searches for in search results.
That means all search engines pay extra attention to the page title, description, and the URL of the page. Naturally, you want to have as many keywords matched as possible in search results.
Search results are shown with 3 primary traits related to your blog/website/page:
- Title (the big blue line on top)
- Title is the name of the post or page. These are often h1 tags which matter to any search engine the most while serving up the results of a particular keyword request.
- Description (2 black lines)
- Description is usually automatically the first few lines of your page. However, it is recommended to use an SEO plugin where you can specify the description for search engines. While search engines do take this into account, you need to think of it as a preview for the user. You don’t want to go mad adding the same keyword again and again in the description field because it looks bad and will negatively affect your ranking.
- URL (the green line at the bottom)
- URL is the unique link to a page. It is also an essential element for the search engine algorithm; therefore, I would recommend including the most authoritative keywords in your permalinks.
We all know that the blog post title is what attracts a reader to click on the link.
And there are times when you feel like a creative guru and want to have an out of the box title for your post.
But at the same time, your permalink will not highlight those keywords you deliberately used when writing the post and your chances of ranking higher on a particular keyword in search engine results will be severely diminished.
- And there goes your organic search engine traffic for that page…
But all you have to do to compensate for that catchy (non-keyword) title is have a permalink that contains all the catchy keywords for search engines.
And here’s a trick…
To get a higher rank in search engines for more keywords, you can use different keywords for your post title and permalink.
Here are two examples:
In the image above, you can see I searched for five random keywords:
If you notice, I included the keywords 100, working, and hotties in my search, however, the permalink did not have those words. Instead, the permalink contained the other two search terms.
But if the permalink of the post had not been changed, there would be the same keywords in the permalink as there are in the title.
By changing the permalink structure and introducing different keywords, this allows us to target more keywords in search results.
This can be really helpful with popular blogs like Smashing Magazine where organic search engine traffic is high.
Let’s say you posted an article on how to create a blog.
If you did not tweak the blog title and permalink, then you would end up having the same keyword twice in the title and in the permalink.
But you can also use a variant of different languages to optimize and target a specific niche. For example, you can have your title in your local language and have the permalink in the English language to optimize your post for both kinds of searches.
In my recent keyword research, I found out that one of the most searched keywords is “gratis blog”.
“Gratis” is a Spanish word, so if you run a blog that targets Spanish speakers, it’s good to have that keyword mentioned in either the permalink or the title of the post. It can be useful for blogs which target local readers.
3 Things To Check Before Pressing The Publish Button
- Keep the title of your page as simple as possible. Remember that title of your post is what makes people read the post.
- The description of the page is very important for users searching for a particular keyword. Make sure you keep your description unique and informational for each page/post.
- When you keep your title and permalink the same for all your posts and pages, then the same keyword keeps propagating in search results. At the same time, if you keep a certain keyword’s density high by having the same keyword in title, description, and permalink, you may get a higher page rank.
Like everyone, I used to ignore the permalink and concentrate on the post title. And the result of that was a long title and an equally long URL.
The reason for changing the permalink is to include all possible related keywords in your post title and permalink. Now my URL can be long and my title can be short (and vice versa).
As shown in the image above, one should not limit themselves by keeping the titles short. You can keep the permalinks short and have long titles. It all depends on you.
What matters is what keywords you use in your post title and permalink.
Do let us know if you are using the deadly combination of different post titles and post permalinks to optimize your post for search engines. How’s it working out for you? Let us know in the comments below.