[wp-hackers] Some Thoughts/Enhancement Ideas In And Around The Category Side Of Things

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at newclarity.net
Sun Feb 14 22:19:43 UTC 2010

On Feb 14, 2010, at 4:48 PM, mark waterous wrote:
>> On Feb 14, 2010, at 12:49 PM, Mark McWilliams wrote:
>>> At the end of the day, you want to setup your site so that it appeals
>> to visitors, and is easy to navigate for them! You don't want to link
>> to /category/announcements/ in the navigation, you want to like to
>> /announcements/ which is just common sense.
>> Exactly.
> Exactly what?
> This debate has encompassed well over half of the posts on the list lately,
> and I'm not entirely sure how it's been let go on this long. Having
> /category/ in your URL does NOT affect your SEO. If that's the entirety of
> your SEO strategy, you need to go back to your books and start studying
> again. Having /category/ in your URL does NOT affect your sites navigation.
> Period.

Who said it's my only SEO strategy? Please don't put words in someone else's mouth.

I made a comment a while back mentioned SEO, but you shouldn't assume that it is by far the only reason I think URL design is important.  I wrote a blog[1] with well over 50 posts on the issue a while back.  I've spent a lot more time than this afternoon researching the issue so it's not an offhand comment.

> If your visitors are having to rewrite the URL and guess at what may or may
> not lead them to a new section of the site via personal attention to said
> URL, you have failed at designing your site. This is not WordPress' fault,
> this is your fault. 100% of a web sites visitors should not have to rely on
> browser supplied navigation techniques to traverse your pages, regardless of
> their technical knowledge.
> There are far more important things that the WordPress core developers could
> and should be working on than this.
> My site URLs could be all written in a dead language, and it shouldn't
> matter to my visitors.

That's your opinion but I disagree with it.  There are many other contexts where URLs are useful besides simply navigating a site.  Viewing links in an email, having the confidence in links to post them on blogs and in social networks, having people see links in Google search results, seeing links mentioned on sites where autolinking is used with user generated content, and more.  Well designed URLs also help browser autocomplete work better, especially for sites where visitor visit frequently (in my case Meetup.com is one such site, and for those most part their URLs are well designed, thank goodness.)

A friend of mine disagreed with me about the importance of URLs as you did. But he recently agreed to try well designed URLs.  He has a classified advertising site targeting the college market and he is maniacal for metrics. After he changed his link structure he saw his Google traffic increase by over 30% from the URL change alone.  Yes comparing his efforts to WordPress is apples to oranges because WordPress already has better URLs than his earlier site. But as you do he didn't think URL design was important even though he had no metrics to back up his belief.  After the change he became a believer. FWIW.

[1] http://blog.welldesignedurls.org

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