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In our knowledge base (hosted in Wordpress) we have one article that is relevant to 2 categories. I do not want to duplicate the article and have it sitting separately in each category for fear of negative SEO.

For example, both Category A and Category B share the same article.

Our URL structure is:

example.com/knowledge-base/category-name/article-name

Now there is a problem, if the article name is the same, which category name goes into the URL?

I think this is breaking the theme that we are trying to use. Is there a standard way of handling this kind of thing? Would it be better to duplicate the article in each category?

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I would consider removing "knowledge-base/category-name/" from your URL altogether. Those aren't helping SEO, they are only making your URLs longer, harder to remember, and harder to type.

Keywords in the URL path are a very minor ranking factor now. Your article name is going to have plenty of keywords anyway.

Without the category name in the URL, you can easily place articles into as many categories as you choose.

  • I read this post from Yoast which recommends using category name in the URL. Do you think with the subdirectory name in the URL as well the SEO benefits are no longer applicable? – walbuc Mar 31 '15 at 12:13
  • See my answer on Are keywords in URLs good SEO or needlessly redundant?. It is a good overview on how to think of keywords in URLs. The Yoast advice is out of date. Shoehorning extra keywords into URLs won't help. Instead focus on what would work best for users. URLs should be descriptive, memorable, and short. I use custom permalinks for WordPress so that I can tweak the URL for each article individually. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 31 '15 at 12:45
  • @StephenOstermiller is correct. Not only does it not provide a lot of value but it also makes it a huge pain in terms of sorting your content. Yoast actually got rid of its custom category feature a few updates ago and now only allows you to strip the default one. – dasickle Mar 31 '15 at 13:03
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The right way to avoid SEO duplicates is to use a canonical URL for each page.

So your article could show in as many categories as you'd want and the canonical URL would be set to the URL of the article itself.

Here are Google results which might help you implement this: https://www.google.de/search?q=wordpress+plugin+canonical+url&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=R28aVZnPIYjfavyRgVg

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I think you might want to go to a link like this:

// Close to domain:
http://www.example.com/article-name
// Or, alternatively, add a 'prefix' (e.g.: /blog/article, or /products/article):
http://www.example.com/articles/article-name 

This will improve the SEO power of the url, because it's a lot shorter, and the relevant part (article-name) is closer to the url. Both aren't mayor, but every bit helps.

This also fixes your category problem, they both link to this page. You can try the canonical method as suggested, but they you'd have to choose which category you want to use, and for which you want to drop SEO (because the canonical just told the Bots this flow to this page isn't supposed to).

  • Hi Martijn We have a blog in a subdirectory as well so we have to keep the knowledge-base part in the link. As commented in the answer above, I have read conflicting views about this as in this post by Yoast. I am now properly confused :( – walbuc Mar 31 '15 at 12:22
  • And those don't link to /blog/article-name? If not, I'd recommend that. You could to the same as my edit does – Martijn Mar 31 '15 at 12:25

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