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I have a client that has a yearly event. Each year they create a new, complete website for their event in a subdirectory on their event's domain. Last year their URL had this structure:

http://event.domain.com/spring2012

This year, they'd like to use:

http://event.domain.com/spring13

Before they move ahead with it, they've asked me whether there's any benefit to keeping the same structure. My only thought was that Google might prefer a consistent structure, but I'm not sure if it actually matters in this case since they are completely separate sites.

So I'm wondering, does this matter to Google, and/or are there any other possible downsides to using this slightly different URL structure?

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Is it a single page, or a whole directory? I know I get power-users who will find the previous year's event, and attempt to just change the year in the URL to find the corresponding page for this year. –  Joe Jan 15 '13 at 17:15
    
@Joe It is the whole directory. Each subdirectory site is a complete wordpress site dedicated to the event. The event is actually a week-long festival, so there is a fair amount of content. –  jessica Jan 15 '13 at 17:49
    
Just a quick note: URLs are for humans, not spiders: warpspire.com/posts/url-design –  Christian Davén Jan 16 '13 at 12:14
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2 Answers 2

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The only way it might matter in regards to Google is because users would probably search for " spring 2013" and not " spring 13" and the former is a slightly better construction than the latter. But Google should not penalize you in any other way for switching the URL construct. I would keep things consistent because that's good practice and because past attendees are expecting it to be that way.

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As above, I wouldn't see any Google penalty however you could also look at structuring it so that it would be more understandable to search engines. For example domain.com/2013/spring and then have a redirect for the short URL go to that. Personally I think spring2013 is much clearer than spring13 for an event. particularly. –  joesk Jan 15 '13 at 11:07
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It likely doesn't matter directly for Google's spidering. Your problems come with people linking to your site, as with there being a new URL minted for each year, they're going to spread the links across each year.

For the purposes of SEO, you'd likely be better off having a stable URL for linking to the 'latest' event information, keeping the same file structure from year to year, and then when you roll out a new event, renaming the previous one.

With your current system, at the very least you'd want to update all of the older pages with a link to the equivalent information for the current event. (eg, if the registration page for 2011, link to the current year's registration page ... you may want to do this through server redirects or a CGI or PHP script, so that you link to something like http://event.example.com/latest/page rather than going back and changing each previous page (or header files for each previous event) each time you hold a new event.

If your software doesn't support renaming the directory after the fact, and you're using Apache, I'd look into using mod_rewrite (not redirect) with a [P] rewrite rule, so that it proxies the request and the users don't see the redirection and copy the more stable URL for linking to.

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