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I have a website with trainings, which belong to certain categories. So naturally I'd like to organize my website URLs in this way:

example.com/trainings/{category name}/{training name}

for example

example.com/trainings/social/how-to-talk-with-employee
example.com/trainings/social/how-to-talk-with-children
example.com/trainings/law/ethics-in-business

and so on.

The problem is, that some trainings belong to several categories. For example

how-to-talk-with-lawyers, could belong to both law and social categories.

Should I generate a copy of the same content under different URLs? Like:

example.com/trainings/social/how-to-talk-with-lawyers
example.com/trainings/law/how-to-talk-with-lawyers

It sounds terrible to copy the same content. How can I organize it better?

2 Answers 2

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I would strongly advise you not to duplicate your content since a) this can be considered bad UX and b) would most likely be punished by search engines. (Just try a search on "duplicate content" and "SEO" and you will see, what I mean.)

Alternatively, i see three options:

  • You decide on a main category for each piece of content and have each article reside in that directory. This way you will have the SEO-friendly URL structure you were pointing out.
  • You could then add 'ghost entries' in the other categories that will do nothing but link to the main article in its main category. This could potentially be a bit 'dangerous' because pages with very little content might also be punished by search engines, so you should probably block those from being indexed. Also, you should then probably forward the user to the main page directly so that the poor page won't even be visible to the user.
  • Or you throw all your content into one directory ("trainings") and use the category pages mostly as content listings. I usually go with this approach, whenever I have to organize content in more than one category. In the long run, I would consider this the best approach.

Also: Have you done some research on your competitors or similar websites, and how they organize their content? This might also point you in the right direction.

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From my limited knowledge,

  • I would think that you could serve the same page in two categories, as long as you have a canonical that points to one of the two pages.
  • Or leave the page under one category, but link it from the (search) pages in both categories.
  • Or have a joined category such as example.com/trainings/social-law/how-to-talk-with-lawyers and serve from both categories.

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