[wp-hackers] category URL's and SEO ranking

David Law wp-hackers at google-adsense-templates.co.uk
Tue Jun 19 13:28:42 UTC 2012

I tend not to have multiple level deep categories for another SEO reason, 
what's in the child cat is copied in the parent cat and if you aren't 
careful (where you have only one child cat everything is repeated in the 
parent as well) that will generate duplicate content.

Anyway, think you've found a WordPress SEO problem that doesn't exist in the 
real world, in theory yes, in reality no.

WordPress by default links to the child cats with the parent cat in the URL, 
there shouldn't be links to both of these URLs-


There should only be links generated by WordPress to 

Yes, you or others could link to either URL but why would that occur? I've 
been using WordPress for over 5 years and I didn't know both load the same 
content until 10 mins ago. If there's no links Google won't find both URLs. 
If for some reason both are indexed Google is quite good (though not 
perfect) at determining the best URL, will normally use the URL that has 
most backlinks which would be yoursite.com/category/multimedia/video

This site http://www.free-recipe.co.uk/ uses the structure you are concerned 
about, had that structure for years, it's got over 200,000 pages indexed 
(the site has 130,000 posts) in Google, 27 parent cats and 300ish child cats 
in those parent cats. All the parent cats but one are alphabetical, A 
Recipes etc...

Didn't do extensive tests, but child cats like 
http://www.free-recipe.co.uk/free-recipes/a-recipes/appetizer-recipes are 
not indexed in the other URL format.

Google site search use this format

Basically removing the parent category part of the URL shows no results as 
I'd expect event though the URLs do load content.

Feel free to check as many child cats this way, there's 300 to choose from. 
Either WordPress and no one has linked to the alternative URL format or 
Google has combined the results to the correct URL, either way nothing to 
worry about.

You are also over estimating duplicate content damage, in the vast majority 
of cases where a site inadvertently had duplicate content (very easy to do 
in WordPress monthly archives can be a copy of the home page for example) 
Google combines the results into the best URL without the need for canonical 
URLs or 301 redirects.

http://www.stallion-theme.com/ Stallion All In One WordPress SEO Theme

-----Original Message----- 
From: Haluk Karamete
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 9:53 PM
To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
Subject: [wp-hackers] category URL's and SEO ranking

When you keep the category base ( that is you don't remove it by a
plug in) WordPress does allow you to browse to your 2 level deep
category in two different ways as the example below would demonstrate

say, your category has a top level item "MULTIMEDIA" and a child under
it called VIDEO.

Visually, we are talking about a situation like this;

Category taxonomy

Well, you may get to that child (video) in the following 2 different ways;

yoursite.com/category/multimedia/video or yoursite.com/category/video

The point here is that WP brings you to the exact same page,
regardless of which URL has been used, and there are no redirects here
neither, so both URL's remain on the visitor's browser as is just like
it was requested at the first place. And with either URL, the
resulting content is identical.

That's a hateful situation by Google.

Google punishes such sites cause your web site got the same exact
content appearing under 2 different URL's. ( This is of course when
you happen to use both URLs. ) Sure, Nobody would want to do that
deliberarely but sometimes you end up with that. And this question is
all about that case.

Let's say, you wanted to pick the simpler URL for your VIDEO category
and you want to stick to that only. Basically, you want the URL to be


This is easy to achieve when you use the custom menu feature that
comes with WordPress where you can specify a URL for that particular
custom menu item of yours. So, when visitors click on the VIDEO link
on the custom menu, they end up coming to


No problems so far...

But as soon as they pick a post out of that category, and they end up
coming to a post where the post's meta data displays things like
"CATEGORIZED in" or "TAGGED by" etc, they will be exposed to the
alternative URL for that VIDEO category.

So, if a user clicks on the VIDEO link in the "Categorized in" area,
the URL that they will end up with would be


And with that, there goes your SEO ranking.

My question is what techniques do you use here so WordPress always and
always use one single URL, the URL you defined in the custom menu.

I thought, category slugs could do this, but when I checked it, slug
feature allows me to change only the category term in the URL, not the
path to it.

If it were to give me a choice like

video slug: /category/video

I would be done.

But that choice is not available at this moment. When you do that, you
end up with the following slug instead


That's because / is not a valid character for a slug.

Please suggest an alternative way to tell WordPress to stick to
/category/video at all times.

Before suggesting the obvious, ( well, just skip the 'multimedia' and
make the 'video' a top level cat. ), let me say that that suggestion
won't work for our situation.
wp-hackers mailing list
wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list