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Do Multiple WordPress Categories Hurt Your SEO?

Do Multiple WordPress Categories Hurt Your SEO?

Categories are a great feature of WordPress (and many other blog platforms), but as we all know (well you should), duplicate content can really hurt Google ratings.  This is the same whether you have duplicate content on the one site, duplicate content across multiple websites you own, or if you’ve simple nicked content from another site (naughty naughty).

I know this.  I’m sure you know this.

Then came an interesting question from a friend who contributes to another website.

“Does having multiple categories hurt your ranking?”

Multiple categories can be useful.  You may want a post to be in Linux and Ubuntu.  Is that ok?

Well here’s the thing – it depends.  Don’t you just hate answers that aren’t just a clear yes or no?  Why can’t the world be that simple?  Why can’t it just be yes or no?  Come to think of it why can’t I find a matching pair of socks in the morning?  I guess that’s off topic – anyway …..

Permalink Settings

WordPress Permalink settings define the way your blog or website URL looks.

Here at ITEnvoy the permalink structure is simply https://sitename/postname.

If your permalink structure is the same then you don’t have to worry about Google marking you down due to multiple categories.

Also if your permalink structure has the category name in it, that would create duplicate content, and Google will mark you down.

The default is safe, but pretty useless for SEO (i.e. Plain).  For most sites Postname is the best option.

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If you need to change your setting :

  1. Select settings from the WP sidebar menu.
  2. Then select Permalinks.
  3. Finally select Postname as shown above
  4. Click the [Save Changes] button.

BUT BEFORE YOU DO – bear in mind that if you’ve been running your site for a while, you will break any incoming links including current from Google.

Whilst we’re at it – I never use dates in my Permalinks.  Not only does it make things look immediately dated when the content might still be relevant, but if you UPDATE an article it will either still look old or you’ll update the link with the newer date and again – lose all those incoming links.

If you want dates, put them ON your posts.

Site maps can also lead to duplicate content so ensure that you exclude category archives from your sitemaps.

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