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I was curious about the date in URL segments, is there any SEO point of benefit? For example the following URLs:

http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/18/netflix-will-launch-in-the-netherlands-later-this-year-as-its-international-expansion-slows/
http://tips-for-new-bloggers.blogspot.in/2007/02/adding-favicon-icon-to-blogger-url.html 
https://community.jivesoftware.com/blogs/jivespace/2013/05/15/eol-of-the-html5-ipad-web-app

In all the above URLs there is date segment. The information of those blogs can be fetched via blog stub like "netflix-will-launch-in-the-netherlands-later-this-year-as-its-international-expansion-slows" so why to use that date part?

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4 Answers

(A similar question got closed as duplicate, but the OP was not exclusively interested in SEO, so here comes an answer about general benefits.)

Including the publication date in the URL can be good URL design.

Usability: descriptive URLs

An URL can give clues about the content it refers to. Giving users such information before they click at the link is a good thing. For example, compare these URLs:

  • http://blog.example.com/review-of-my-new-laptop
  • http://blog.example.com/2011/08/21/review-of-my-new-laptop

Here the included date can be useful: it’s 2014 now, users interested in current laptops probably won’t find useful information in this post, because the reviewed laptop would be too old.

Of course, this must not be useful for human users only. Data consumers (like search engines) might use this information, too.

I don’t know if any search engines extract it, but search engine behaviour can change often, and there are sooo many of them. I’m only saying that it’s a possibility. An obvious and actual case is highlighting of search terms in the SERPs. See, for example, this screenshot from Google Search where the "2014" is highlighted in the publication date contained in the result URLs:

Google search: Egypt president 2014

Usability: browsable URLs

The URL http://blog.example.com/2011/08/21/review-of-my-new-laptop can users allow to browse by removing URL segments from right to left:

  • http://blog.example.com/2011/08/21/ (all posts published on the same day)
  • http://blog.example.com/2011/08/ (all posts published in the same month)
  • http://blog.example.com/2011/ (all posts published in the same year)

(If you don’t want to allow browsing, consider not to use slashes then, and use, for example, /2011-08-21/.)

Implementation: name collisions

Some years later, another new laptop. The author is not very creative and names the article, again, "Review of my new laptop". What now? You could add some kind of counter to the URL, like

  • http://blog.example.com/review-of-my-new-laptop-2, or
  • http://blog.example.com/review-of-my-new-laptop/2, or
  • http://blog.example.com/2/review-of-my-new-laptop.

Not very elegant. In the first example, it looks like the "2" would be part of the article’s title (which is not the case); in the second example, it looks like it would be page 2 of the article; in the last example it breaks with consistency (unless you’d add a /1/ for all other URLs right from the start).

A common solution for this is to add an ID (like the 49781 for this very question). But why would you want to do that when you could use the date as kind of ID instead? The date has a meaning (and can be useful for users), the ID would be opaque to users (and useless). So it would be

  • http://blog.example.com/2011/08/21/review-of-my-new-laptop
  • http://blog.example.com/2014/01/09/review-of-my-new-laptop

instead of

  • http://blog.example.com/00211812/review-of-my-new-laptop
  • http://blog.example.com/02401109/review-of-my-new-laptop

(Under the assumption that no articles with same names are posted on the same day.)


Of course all this is only relevant for websites that have an useful publication date in the first place. Not all pages can/should have a publication date. And even when there are publication dates shown on the page, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to include them in the URL, too.

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I don't know of any SEO benefit from having dates in URLs and I doubt these sites have used this structure for SEO, its simply the URL structure they have chosen, probably from a usability point of view.

For example, in WordPress (the CMS techcrunch is on) one of the default permalink (URL) settings is to have dates in the URLs.

Here is a video from Matt Cutts explaining Google uses its own ways to determine how fresh URLs are and you do not need to use dates in URLs.

Also in your examples you mentioned you can view the pages without the dates, this is not the case - Techcrunch redirects you to the the URL with the date in, and the other two sites throw a 404 when you remove the dates.

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There is no SEO benefit to put date in URL because search engines and users like short URLs. The only reason I see is to avoid duplicate URL problems (even if for this kind of problem, I prefer use an id in the URL).

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Originally, the date was used in URLs for technical reasons. In WordPress blogs for example, the date is used as a numeric lookup in the database which is easier to index and generally faster than looking up a long string only. It also ensures a unique URL when you use the same title for different posts. While a post ID could be a valid candidate, I believe with WordPress' draft system each draft is saved as a new post ID.

There is no particular SEO benefit from having the date in the URL. Search engines may certainly parse the date to know when an article was first created, but equally if the date is on the page they would use that.

For users, the only benefit is they can see how old a post is before they click a URL. This may or may not be beneficial depending on the situation. Simply using a short 'slug' (perhaps with a category segment) is plenty sufficient for users and search engines.

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