When you use WordPress, it’s possible to create huge content sites with many thousands of pages. However, although WordPress is reasonably speedy, large sites can be slow in loading.
This creates a problem, because Google has announced that it now takes site speed into account in its rankings.
In a blog post: Using site speed in web search ranking Google says:
You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.
So, since site speed is important to Google, it’s important to you, right? :-)
If you want a truly fast site, you may need to move to a dedicated server. However, even that won’t help if your permalinks are structured incorrectly.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been using either the “%category%/%postname%” or the “%postname%” permalink strings.
Perhaps you have, too. The thinking behind these strings is that using them helps with SEO.
Unfortunately, if you’ve opted for either of these strings, you may be shooting yourself in the foot if you want to create a large authority site.
When creating custom permalink strings, use a number at the start of the string.
Here’s an excellent post which tells you why this is important — Category in Permalinks Considered Harmful » Otto on WordPress:
“See, when you request a URL from a WordPress site, WordPress gets the URL and then has to parse it to determine what it is that you’re actually asking for.
It does this by using a series of rules that are built whenever you add new content to WordPress. Generally the list of rules is pretty small, but there are specific cases that can cause it to balloon way out of control.”
This post was an eye-opener for me. Luckily, all the blogs I’ve created with the “%category%/%postname%” or the “%postname%” permalink strings are small blogs. I won’t be building any of them into huge sites. Thank heavens for that.
In the future, when I decide to create an authority site, I’ll be making sure that I use numbers at the beginning of my permalink strings. It can’t hurt, and I’m sure it will help site speed as the blog continues to grow.