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Hello! This is Ray Villalobos and welcome to View Source! This week we're learning about customizing your WordPress URLs to optimize your site for search engines. So if you dream of your site traffic soaring like an eagle, then it's probably time to View Source. Whether you're a designer or developer, it's important to understand how you can optimize your site for search engines. There is a lot of advice out there including lynda.com's excellent series of tutorials in the Online Training Library. If you're just getting started, you should definitely check out Google's SEO Starter Guide which is part of their Webmaster Tools, available in Webmaster Central at google.com/webmasters.
One of the nuggets of information is to make sure you optimize your site URLs. As Google says, if your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly-named parameter would. Because WordPress generates sites from a PHP and MySQL engine, its default URLs leave something to be desired. If you click on one of these articles, you'll see that the URL to the articles become the name of the site, ?p=8.
Not very descriptive. If you go to your admin settings, go to your Settings section, then click on Permalinks, you'll see that there's some options here but a lot of them organize things by date. WordPress's blogging heritage really shows up in here. It would be great to be able to use categories and titles in the URLs because they would provide great keywords to Google. But it's not even one of the custom options. Thankfully, we can type-in a custom URL structure and WordPress has a list of tags you can use to make this better.
There's a lot of options but my favorite is having Google include the category name as well as the post name in the URL. That will place your category title, and then your post name and build a much better URL for search engines. I'm going to save changes, and of course, that means that you might have to create your own categories. So to do that, go to your Posts and click on Categories, and I have one set of categories, you may have a default uncategorized section here. You can simply add a new category by typing in a name right here, and hitting Add New Category.
You should also go to Settings and then Writing, and make sure that you change your Default Post Category to whatever you want your default to be, otherwise your default category would be uncategorized. Now when we go to the web site, and we click on a story or a post, you'll see that the name of the category appears as part of the URL, as well as the title of the article. This provides a lot more keywords to Google and is a lot better for our users. For more tips on search engine optimization, don't forget to visit the Online Training Library.
And remember that if your CMS is your BFF, then you've probably got lots of time to View Source.
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