Why You Should Avoid Numbers in Your URL

While linkbait posts aren’t as popular as they once were, top 10 lists have been popular ever since Moses came down from the mount with his top 10 list of “thou shalt nots.” Magazines like Rolling Stone will always have top 500 playlists and AFI will always publish top 100 movies lists. However, as a responsible publisher, marketer, and SEO with an eye for evergreen content, there are more responsible and better long-term URL options you can make for “top 10” and list style posts than using a number in the URL.

Let’s take the following examples:

  • Top 10 places to visit in Las Vegas
  • 15 Free things to do in Las Vegas
  • 20 Most Romantic Spots in Las Vegas
  • 7 Best Celebrity Chef Restaurants in Las Vegas

While there might be some volume for KWDs with the “top 10” add on, in every case the number is an editorial headline component designed to draw users in along social channels. It has almost no value in from a keyword/search perspective. However, in most cases, blogging software and CMS’s will usually automatically add the numbers into the URL unless you manually strip it out. So you’ll end up with:

  • Top 10 places to visit in Las Vegas – example.com/top-10-places-visit-las-vegas/
  • 15 Free things to do in Las Vegas – example.com/15-free-things-to-do-las-vegas/
  • 20 Most Romantic Spots in Las Vegas – example.com/20-most-romantic-spots-las-vegas/
  • 7 Best Celebrity Chef Restaurants in Las Vegas – example.com/7-best-celebrity-chef-restaurants-las-vegas/

While you may write these posts with an eye to be evergreen content, they are an example of evergreen content that needs to be updated. For example, 5 years from now there may be 12 celebrity restaurants in Las Vegas that need to be on the list. If you follow a living URL approach, you will have a URL with the number 7 and a post title/meta/serp listing with 12.

Mismatched Numbers in SERPs

While this isn’t a catastrophic, all hands on deck problem, it’s less than optimal. Sure, you could 301 the post, but you run the risk of tinkering with something that’s working and that Google may re-rank your page. If you take an extra 30 seconds to adjust the URL before publication, you can save yourself a headache down the road. to illustrate what I mean here are the URL’s without the numbers, and I think they are just as useful:

  • Top 10 places to visit in Las Vegas – example.com/top-places-visit-las-vegas/
  • 15 Free things to do in Las Vegas – example.com/free-things-to-do-las-vegas/
  • 20 Most Romantic Spots in Las Vegas – example.com/most-romantic-spots-las-vegas/
  • 7 Best Celebrity Chef Restaurants in Las Vegas – example.com/best-celebrity-chef-restaurants-las-vegas/

So what are the takeaways from this post:

  • When writing top 10 or other numbered list posts, remove the numbers from the URL/permalink.
  • Try to generate URLs in a format that makes them as evergreen as possible.
  • If after a content audit you decide to update content, I’d leave the URL intact unless it looks really really bad.

screen shot via snippet generator

photo credit: Photospin

Why You Should Avoid Numbers in Your URL


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