Wondering whether there's any written best practice from an authoritative source (Google or a Google representative like John Mueller) that discusses best practices for blog URL formatting.

I believe I've read (although I can't exactly remember where) that including dates in your blog URL is preferred for news-based sites, while omitting the date in the URL is preferred for non-news sites.

www.example.com/2017/march/how-to-blog/ vs

Is there any documented best practice on dated URL structures?

  • Much of the answer depends upon your expectations. Between the two URLs, there is little difference semantically speaking. I do not believe that Google relies upon dates in URLs any more if they ever did. If you were to ask my preference, I would tell you to leave the date out. If you want best practices in a realistic world, simply look at some well known and we'll performing example sites that can make a case either way. I rather suspect you will find that most sites if any will not have a date in the URL. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Mar 21 '18 at 4:26

I think having the date in the URL is primarily useful if you're writing news articles that pertain to events of a specific day. Let's say that in 5 months from now, someone is searching for a headline that they know happened on March 21st, 2018. Having 3-21-18 in the URL could be useful to them as they know that your article was written on that day.

However, for most blogs that are trying to bring in users months and years later, especially when the articles don't pertain to events of a specific date, having cleaner URLs is more likely to help you.

A lot of bloggers are trying to hide their publication date altogether. The reason for this is that most people searching on Google aren't as likely to click on an article that was written several years ago as they are looking for a current source for their information. And bloggers are usually trying to have their articles rank for many years. Showcasing your publication date in the URL could potentially lead to declining click throughs in the future.

So in most cases I would prefer to have the cleaner URL.

  • Good point! I think I'd be less likely to click a result if the date wasn’t recent. I'd be more inclined to think the information was dated/not fresh enough to sufficiently answer my query. I’d love to see a case study that specifically measured the CTR of dated vs. non-dated blog URLs. I’ve seen case studies that measured CTR of longer vs. shorter URLs or more/less subfolders, but nothing specifically on the CTR of dated vs. non-dated URLs. If writing evergreen content, your potential visitors might be turned off by an older date in the URL so I agree it’s probably wise to omit!
    – Kjenkinsss
    Mar 21 '18 at 16:18
  • "A lot of bloggers are trying to hide their publication date altogether." - Yes, and this can be very annoying - especially on technology related articles. Although this relates to visible dates in the article itself, rather than in the URL - which can be hidden on mobile devices anyway.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 21 '18 at 19:59
  • "Having 3-21-18 in the URL" - Minor point, but unless the article is very localised to the US then I would use a more internationally recognised date format, eg. 2018-03-21
    – MrWhite
    Mar 21 '18 at 20:02

Personally, I'd like to stick with post-name structure, not including the date in it. It's more SEO friendly and timeless. Perhaps most news sites would use the date format but there are also those who aren't using it.

  • Do you have any references or personal experience to share about what makes dateless URLs more SEO friendly? Mar 21 '18 at 13:44

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