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Is it good for SEO to include the category in the URL? Like so:

\articles\ID\example_category\slug

Or does it not matter and only make the URL unnecessary long?

Note; the article is also available at \articles\ID which redirects to the URL above, so the user does not have to type out the long URL.

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It's helpful for SEO. Besides getting a keyword in your URL, which is a ranking factor, it helps to categorize and organize your content which is also good for SEO.

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Basically I agree – for search engine optimization it can be very useful to have a machine (and human) redable category name in your url. As John Conde points out it also helps you, your visitors and search bots to categorize your content.

But I would strongly recommend to have a hierachical url structure – which does not seem to be the case in your example.

And maybe you could also leave the "articles" out or find a better content related title for that directory like "gadget-news/" or "concert-reviews/" or whatever siuts your content best.

So instead of

/articles/ID/example_category/slug

use something like this:

/main-category/sub-category/slug

or if you/ your cms needs the article ID you could just append it to the slug

/main-category/sub-category/slug-ID

This way your url structure would also be quite similar to a corresponding breadcrumb – which could also be handy at some point.

ps: If you just have one main category that's fine – I just used that term instead of "subject" or "theme" because it suits the idea of ordering content in a hierarchical structure.

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  • The reason I start with articles is because I have several other resources, such as projects, applications etc, which may have the same category as other resources. But uses other back-ends altogether. The reason I have the ID field is because I want the category and slug to be able to change without breaking the link, so they are not actually used for look-ups. If they do not not match the article the user is simply forwarded to the correct URL with a 301 redirect. I've taken this principle from StackOverflow. – Thomas Jensen Sep 10 '14 at 13:46

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