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Wordpress, and changing to SEO friendly URLs

Will G see it as spamming?

2:23 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi all, I hope you can help.

I am responsible for the company website which has a blog.We rank well, and the blog is updated around three times a week.

The blog is wordpress powered. At the moment the URLs are in the form /p=999. A new feature (new to me anyways) allows URLs that are more search engine friendly (/what-is-pasta-made-from/ for example).

The problem is when I switched this on today, WP changed all my URLs - even the old ones. However, the old /p= URLs also work.

So now every post has two possible URLs. My question is simple: should I be worried that Google would see all this as spamming (a sudden increase in duplicate content)?

Maybe I should leave well alone? Wordpress doesn't offer much control over the URLs anyway. One option is 'use title' but the posts frequently have long titles and these look spammy in WP.

3:25 am on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Spamming, no, but the significant duplicate-content problem you have created with the URL changes can have a serious adverse effect on ranking. Some earlier discussion on the issue:

  • Duplicate Content - Get it right or perish [webmasterworld.com]

    More also in the Google Hot Topics [webmasterworld.com] guide.

  • 3:27 am on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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    I am not a WordPress expert, by any stretch. But I do know that, for ANY site, it is a good idea to 301 redirect all requests for the old url structure to the new friendlier url structure.

    I don't think there's a true spam penalty issue here, but splitting your PR and backlink influence over two versions of a url weakens your rankings in general. You're giving each version of the URL half the possible horsepower, so to speak, and are likely to see more supplemental urls and lower rankings than you might see otherwise.

    There are some third party WP plug-ins available that say they accomplish this (I cannot vouch for any - as I said, WP is not my expertise) and we've also got a good reference thread here about WordPress And Google: Avoiding Duplicate Content Issues [webmasterworld.com].

    That thread is always available in the Hot Topics section, pinned to the top of the Google Search forum's index page. Lots of other goodies in there, too.

    4:14 am on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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    There is a simple plugin that will 301 all your content to the new seo friendly pages. Used it in the past and worked great.

    [edited by: tedster at 4:32 am (utc) on July 13, 2007]

    4:22 am on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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    Permalinks are most certainly not a new feature in Wordpress.

    And the permalink srtucture is, contrary to what you say, very flexible. Have you noticed the box on the page where you create or edit pages/posts that says "post slug"? Whatever you put in there becomes the "file name" of the post/page. The title is only used as the "file name" when you don't put anything in that box.

    Maybe you should get on to the Wordpress.org forum. I don't mean to sound insulting, but you don't seem to know very much about the tool you're using!

    8:22 am on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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    Thanks all for your replies.

    Venice, thanks for the helpful tip about the 301 redirect tool - that sounds like exactly what I need. I didn't see it on the wordpress site but will go back and look.

    Haecceity, I'm aware of the use of post slug thank you in preparing the URL. It is in all cases defaulted to the title, and there are too many posts for me to edit by hand.

    1:44 pm on July 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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    Why don't you just go back to the old format. I have that on half a dozen blogs and they rank just fine in Google. Google seems to no longer rely on URL alone to judge the content of the page or to rank them.

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