Blog Post URL Structure: Are the experts wrong?
The internet is full of SEO experts recommending that blog posts should not have the date in the URL. As you can see by my URL structure, I disagree. They have various reasons, but none of them are convincing to me. I will do my best to explain why.
One argument for removing the date from a blog post is that you should strive to create “timeless content”. While that is a worthy goal, it is simply not possible when blogging about a lot of subjects.
Would you look at a post about “PHP best practices” from 10 years ago? (not just for a laugh)
Do you think 10 year old ulcer info is still relevant? (In 2005 they were discovered to be caused by bacteria, not stress)
Just look at the word blog. Log is one of the root words, and logs are inherently time-sensitive.
SEO and CTR (The Slippery Slope)
Another argument for removing the date from your blog URLs is that it increases the CTR(Click-Through-Rate) of your post in search results.
This relates to my counter-argument above. If your content is inherently “time-ful”(read: not timeless), removing the date from the URL is just an attempt to trick the user into going to your post. Once they realize it is old information they will click back almost immediately. So it is just “gaming” the CTR at the user’s expense.
The worst part is if you follow their argument to it’s logical end. Google shows a date next to many search results. It finds this date in a number of places. One is the URL. Another is right after the h1. I’m sure their are more. My point is that since users are less likely to click search results with old dates, SEO experts will start to recommend that blog posts no longer have a date of any kind.
No matter what, I don’t see that ending well. Google will update Panda or Penguin to slap the abusers, and a lot of other people will get hit in the process.