Direct URLs to individual posts are created according to a formula that includes the web address of the page it's displayed on, the title of the post, and the name of the Board it belongs to. (A "direct URL" is a web link that will take the reader directly to a specific post, displayed on a page on your website.)
One complication of this is that if a post is set to open by default on a page that's buried several layers deep in the site's navigation, that post's direct URL can quickly become long and cumbersome - that's not ideal for your site's SEO considerations!
Some parts of the direct URL formula are under your control, and there are some steps you can take to keep them short so that your direct URLs are also kept brief and effective.
Let's start by breaking down the formula that's used to create the direct URLs to individual posts. It looks like this:
[Direct Post URL]
The components in colored text are the parts of the direct URL that you can edit; the other components are set automatically by Posts.
- https://schooldomain.org - your school's web address. This isn't going to change.
- /path/to/details_page - these are all of the pages 'under' your site's home page, leading to whatever page on your site this post is set to open in - usually the "Default Board Post Page" for the relevant board. If this page is saved several layers deep, this section of the URL will include the name of each parent page between the site's home page and wherever the post is displayed. Each page is separated by a / .
- /~board - this is built into the direct URL formula and can't be changed.
- /board_name - the name of the Board this post is saved to in the Posts module.
- /post - again, this is built into the direct URL formula and can't be changed.
- /post_title - the title of the post.
Here's a typical setup for a school's News page:
A post that opens up on the News Details page would have a Direct URL that looks something like this:
Between the name of the pages and the name of the board, the word "news" appears in the URL 3 different times. There are also some unnecessary words (like "about" and "public" and "details") that could be removed without impacting the effectiveness of the URL for both end users and SEO purposes.
Some of these URL elements cannot be changed. Of the others, you can optimize each one for length and effectiveness with a few best practice guidelines:
- Do not over-nest the details page. Use a Default Board Post Page that's at the top level of your site (consider putting it in a "Utilities" branch!) Keep the page's name succinct.
For Detail pages that are under a portal it would be harder to comply with this suggestion; pages that are behind portals are usually not counted for SEO purposes though, because they're not publicly accessible.
- Name boards and folders strategically. Within the Posts module, use folders to organize in the backend while NOT affecting SEO, as folder names do not appear in the path for a post's direct URL. Name boards with the knowledge that those names will appear in a post's URL path.
- Keep the Default Board Post Page's name, and the Board's name, out of the titles of your posts. Not only is it beneficial to keep the word count down in the post title (because that has a direct impact on the length of the direct URL), repeating words in a URL can be considered an attempt a "keyword stuffing," and some ranking algorithms may punish the page accordingly.
In our example above, we saw that putting the same word (such as "News") in both the board name and the name of the site pages that display posts can lead to redundant URLs. Give your boards a name that describes the content in them, give your webpages a different name, and try to keep both out of the titles of your individual posts.
- Use Branches. Save your post display pages in a branch so that the page is indexed at the top level of your site's hierarchy. This keeps the 'path' portion of the direct URL as short as possible.