Recently, I stumbled across a video from Neil Patel which was pretty eye-opening. He explained that if blog posts included dates or times within their URLs, there was a chance that the content was missed out when search engines crawl and index sites. This is because posts would be seen as outdated, or no longer relevant. Removing a date from these URLs however, indicates to search engines that the information is always relevant, which can aid with search engine results.
I logged into WordPress immediately, and as it turns out, this was something that was impacting our site. I thought that it could be useful for me to spread my new-discovered knowledge, in case it could be of use for someone in the future.
How do I know if this is an issue for me?
This is pretty straightforward. Head over to your website’s articles page, and select any blog. If the blog contains a date within its URL, there is a chance Google may not be crawling this page, if it has been some time since the post’s original publish date. Your URL would look something like the image displayed below:
So how do I fix this?
If you have a WordPress site, the instructions below will guide you to fix the issue. For other Content Management Systems for websites, you may need to ask your provide or you can contact us to see if we can help.
To begin with, you’ll want to head over to your WordPress dashboard. Once on here, hover over ‘Settings’ on the left-hand side, and select ‘Permalinks’. On this page, you should see several radio buttons, each with different URL structures. Ours by default had been set to ‘Day and Name’. We changed this to ‘Post Name’ instead, which seemed like the most appropriate choice. However, after pressing save, we noticed that our existing blogs were no longer displaying.
Now, this is because all existing blogs will not simply change their URL structure. Instead, they retain their original URL. Changing the default structure resulted in all current blogs on our site breaking, as it was now only counting blogs with the structure of ‘Post Name’. Now, redirects must be implemented to work around this. There are two plugins which are very good for this, that being ‘301 Redirects‘, and ‘Redirection‘. I’d say Redirection has a slight edge over its counterpart, just because it allows you to apply multiple redirects at one time.
So, we downloaded Redirection and activated it on our website. Once it’s finished its installation, open it and select ‘Add New’. If you’ve selected ‘Post Name’ previously, you want to apply the following information into the settings below:
We want to thank WPBeginner for providing us with the following string of information in order to fix our issue:
NOTE: REMEMBER TO CHANGE THE DROP DOWN ON THE RIGHT TO ‘REGEX’.
Now, save your settings and empty your cache. After this, open a new incognito window and check the URL of your old blogs. This should now be fixed! Now, all existing blogs, as well as all posts going forward should exclude the old URL formatting. Fixing this is known to have a positive difference in search results, so I recommend tracking your keyword results to measure the success of this change, using SERPRobot for example.
I hope you have found this helpful for you and that it will help to improve your search engine results. If you have any questions at all or would like any advice, please do get in touch and we’ll see what we can do to help out.