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I am selling report data on a website that I am managing. If I had a report called "My-Report". Let's say a new version comes out quarterly. If I bought it in January, I would likely buy it again in April. I am worried that we will be losing SEO on our products by constantly creating new urls that would incorporate the difference. Such as "My-Report-Jan" or "My-Report-Apr".

I wanted to know if the following would be a good practice or bad. If I keep the URL "My-Report" and update the item that you get each time. Every time the new report is released. Do I need any metadata to reflect this?

If I clearly display the date of the report on that page. Will that be good? Also, I would come up with a system to archive old versions still making them available to user's that have already purchased it.

Specific questions.

  1. Is it safe/best practice to maintain the URL and update the product?
  2. What data should be displayed in the meta tags if this is a good approach?

  3. If this is a bad idea. What would be the best way of handling this?

Similar problem to How to correctly mark up different versions of the same document which are non-canonical

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What you describe is, essentially, a product page. Said page can keep the same url and have its contents updated, as all product/eshop pages do, provided you actually keep the content relevant.

In your case, of course you are going to list a newer report and you will not for example start listing something completely different like vacations or bikes. So you need to keep the content the same not in the sense of same product, but the same type of product, which you do, but I wanted to highlight that you can totally change the content of a page and keep its url.

Since what you want to describe is a product, take a look at google's rich data format regarding products. It contains the meta-data you need to have and also the ones that would be nice to have when building a product page. These meta data need to change according to each specific product (report) they refer to.

Keep in mind, the above link is for the specific-product (report) page. In your case are you using a single page to link to the various report pages or a single page that contains the newest report?

If you have a single page that contains links to the latest and past reports you have nothing to worry about. The single page will direct to other product pages and each of them will have its specific SEO meta data.

In the other case, you basically have mixed the product listing and the product details pages in one page, which will be difficult to maintain SEO-wise.

To sum it up, the approach I am thinking is: one single page with permanent URL (e.g "reports") that directs to specific reports' pages ("reports/year/year-quarter"), each one having its own unique meta data, based on the link I provided.

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  • Thank you very much for posting this answer. The link you provided was awesome. I am definitely going to implement that. – jackncoke Jun 20 '18 at 15:42
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  1. Permanent URL and editable content is, in common, The Bad Idea (tm)
  2. You can don't worry today about naming of URL (this is insignificant for ranking parameter /even maybe not taken into account, I'm too lazy to test it formally/), at least Title + H* are more important and have to be well-written
  3. All data (for SEO-usage) must describe document fully, correct, short and understandable. In this aspect I'll expect something like unique and descriptive (for entity Quarterly financial report of the "Horn&Hoof" Ltd., for example)

    • URL: Horn-and-Hoof-report-Q(uarter)1-2018
    • Title: Financial Report of Horn&Hoof, 1-st Quarter of 2018
    • Description: Quarterly Financial Report of Horn&Hoof for 1-st Quarter of year 2018. Full, relevant, actual data, subscription updates.

(variable part is marked in bold)

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  • Thank you for you're answer. Can you explain to me why it is a bad idea? From what I read it is devastating to change a url that has a high SEO rank. To that point. We want to keep the hype and provide the latest product to our customers. We also do not want confusion leading to people buying old reports. – jackncoke Jun 19 '18 at 11:09

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