If you are starting a news website, you’ll want as much organic traffic as you can get your hands on. More traffic means more page views for the news stories you are reporting on, the articles that you have written, and more clicks for the ads your site is displaying.
The king of organic website traffic is new and returning visitors. The queen is Google’s SERPs. The third biggest resource is Google News. Google News usually appears at the top of regular Google SERPs. Because of this fact, getting into Google News is extremely beneficial to your site, its traffic, and its visibility to the world.
As we mentioned previously (How to Become a Google News Publisher), getting into Google News is difficult. One of their key requirements is three unique numbers in each and every one of your article URLs.
Do yourself a huge favor: give Google News exactly what they are asking for. Take all of the guess work out of it.
Place the numbers in your post URL structure on Day One before you publish your first article on your website. By doing so, this will be one less hurdle for you to overcome once you make the decision to apply for inclusion in Google News and begin that journey.
First, however, you must know what you are dealing with.
What is a Permalink?
A permalink (portmanteau of permanent link) is a URL that points to a specific web page, often a blog or forum entry which has passed from the front page to the archives, or the result of a search in a database.
Why three unique numbers in your permalink on Day One
Changing the permalink structure of your articles down the road will a have a retroactive bad effect on all of the posts that you have published up until that point. All of the SEO benefits will be lost. Once you switch the URL structure, the newly created URLs will not have been spidered by search engines and will not appear in them until they are. Also, when someone clicks on the old URLs in a search engine results page, they will be led to a 404 Error Page on your website. You will have to place in a redirect for each and every old URL to the new URL.
These points were reiterated by a Digital Marketing Specialist working for an NYC Academy:
If you change your URL structure you will lose all social signals. Also, if you change URL structures you will need to redirect the old URL to the new URL otherwise you will lose all the SEO value that the original URL has.
Yes you can use that for the redirection [plugin]. Unfortunately, once you change URLs you will lose social signals. I don’t think they can be copied to the new URL.
Do not do this to yourself. Choose a permalink structure with three unique numbers from Day One. Think ahead.
How To Set up a Permalink to Display three unique numbers
WordPress makes setting up a permalink to display three unique numbers for each post easy. On the left sidebar in the ‘Dashboard’ of WordPress, click ‘Settings.’ Under ‘Settings,’ click ‘Permalinks.’ Under ‘Permalinks,’ choose either: ‘Default,’ ‘Numeric,’ or ‘Custom Structure.’
WordPress Permalink Settings Page
‘Default’ uses your post’s ID Number and its Main URL to construct the permalink e.g. http://promovieblogger.com/?p=123.
‘Numeric’ uses your Main URL, Archives, and the Post’s ID Number to construct the permalink e.g. http://promovieblogger.com/archives/123
‘Custom Structure’ is the option that I would go with. You can set up the custom structure anyway you see fit as these websites have done:
Deadline uses a Main URL, Month, Day, Article Title, and Post’s ID Number permalink structure (http://deadline.com/2015/01/disney-abc-writing-program-2015-winners-1201340909/).
Variety uses a Main URL, Year, Category, Sub-category, Article Title, and Post’s ID Number permalink structure (http://variety.com/2015/film/news/box-office-hobbit-finale-rules-with-21-9-million-1201392090/).
The Hollywood Reporter uses a Main URL, Category, Article Title, and Post’s ID Number permalink structure (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-hobbit-woods-unbroken-760424).
ComicBookMovie uses a Main URL, Category, Author, Subcategory, and Post’s ID Number permalink structure (http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=113116)
What do they all have in common? They all use the website’s Main URL and the article’s Post ID Number in their permalink structure. With the other elements in play in combination with those two elements, their URLs are unique to their website and their website alone i.e. they are Google News compliant.
Since Google News only asks for three unique numbers in your URL, you do not have to go as far as the above domains have gone. Just three unique numbers will do, that is what Google is asking for with regards to Google News inclusion.
With this fact in mind, a Main URL, Post Name, and Post ID Number permalink structure will meet Google News’ permalink structure parameter and your SEO needs coterminous. You can achieve this permalink structure by entering this (/%postname%/%post_id%) into the ‘Custom Structure’ field, creating this permalink structure: http://promovieblogger.com/%postname%/%post_id%. Your Post ID Number will always be different from post to post i.e. unique. Using ‘Post Name’ will place keywords from your Post’s Title into the permalink for your article. Other permalink permutations can be found in the permalink section of the WordPress website.
In searching for a permalink section within Blogger, I was only able to find one under ‘Post.’ The automatic permalink for Blogger posts are already in this structure (Main URL, Year, Day, and Type followed by html) e.g. http://promovieblogger.blogspot.com/2015/01/blog-post.html.
Blogger Permalink Screenshot
This permalink structure does not give you the three unique numbers you need for Google News inclusion. Blogger allows you to change this structure by clicking ‘Custom Permalink’ and entering in the permalink you wish for the article. Through this function you can change the URL to one complaint to Google News but you have to do it for it post it would seem.
I could not locate a universal permalink section in the Blogger Dashboard that would change the post permalink structure site wide.
I have read in many forums, websites, and blogs that unique numbers are not needed in a permalink for inclusion in Google News. Some go on to say that unique numbers were needed in the past but no longer. Here is the problem with what they are saying: if unique numbers are not needed anymore, why does Google still have them listed in their Google News inclusion requirements, near the top of their requirements list?
Maybe the sites that got included without unique numbers in their URLs are sites getting millions of hits per month, ones with twenty writers writing for them, etc. For whatever reason, they achieved inclusion without the numbers in their URLs.
You are not them.
You don’t have a friend on the inside, you most-likely don’t have millions of hits per month, or a gaggle of writers writing and publishing articles on your site.
Setting up your permalink with unique numbers is a positive step toward Google News inclusion, one Google asks for, one they deem necessary. Setting up your permalink properly, with Google News in mind from Day One (After You Purchase a Domain Name for a Website), will save you time and possibly the agony of rejection. Make it part of your To Do List After You Purchase a Domain Name for a Website.