Bad design is one of the number one factors that people leave a site.
The look of your WordPress permalinks is part of your design and plays an important role throughout your entire blog.
Not only does your WordPress permalink structure affect how your audience sees your blog, but it also affects how search engines view your site. Having good permalinks throughout you WordPress website will help you to rank higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
There are some simple things you can do to create permalinks that will work best with your audience and search engines.
This post will look at 7 simple rules you should be following to create proper WordPress permalinks. Following these tips from the very beginning will ensure you don’t have to change down the line and risk any potential penalties.
It’s no too late if you’ve already started your blog, but you should try to use proper permalinks as soon as possible.
First, it helps to have some knowledge of permalinks and how they’re used.
The word permalink is a blend of the words “permanent” and “links.” Permalinks are the links that point to the different posts and pages of your site.
For example, the main URL of this site is www.waptechs.com.
Just by looking at the URL of this post gives you a pretty good idea about what the post is going to be about:
Like the one above, permalinks should convey meaning to your viewers and search engines.
Now that you have a basic understanding of WordPress permalinks, let’s look at the rules you should be following to make them the most effective.
1. Never Use The Default WordPress Permalinks
The default WordPress permalinks are confusing and unreadable.
Take a look at what you get with the default structure:
As you can see, the default setting is looks like a jumble of symbols, letters, and numbers. This permalink structure doesn’t convey any useful information about the post to your viewers or search engines.
You want your permalinks to represent what your post is about, so your viewers can easily identify what they are going to read.
The first thing you should do when you install WordPress is change the default structure to one that is more appealing.
2. Use A Permalink Structure That Is Readable
Now that you know the importance of attractive, meaningful permalinks in WordPress, you will want to know how to set them up properly.
This is a simple process that will set up your permalinks for the entire blog.
On your WordPress dashboard, go down to the settings page and then click permalinks.
You can now see a list of all the permalink structures you can choose from.
Here is how each option sets up your blog’s permalinks:
- Plain: This is the default, unattractive WordPress permalink structure that is a mix of symbols, letters, and numbers.
- Day and name: This option creates your permalinks with the full year, month, and day followed by the post name.
- Month and name: Similar to the previous option, this permalink structure includes only the year and month plus the post name.
- Numeric: This option sets a numeric permalink. Like the default structure, this offers little meaning to your readers and search engines.
- Post name: This option creates permalinks simply with the post name.
- Custom Structure: Lets you create your own custom permalink structure.
Choosing a permalink structure with the post name in it is best because it gives your readers a clear idea of what the post is about.
To set up a custom structure you can use a number of different structure tags to get the result you want. Structure tags allow you to add, for example, the current date, post name, or author to your post in a custom order.
Tip: You do not have to add the base URL of your blog when creating a custom permalink structure. Be sure to end your structure with the post id or post name tag.
Here is a list of the most common structure tags you can use and their output:
- %category% – This outputs the category of the post
- %post_id% – This outputs the ID of the post, which could be a unique number like 142 for example.
- %postname% – This outputs the name of the post.
- %category% – This outputs the category of the post
- %monthnum% – This outputs the month that the post was published.
- %day% – This outputs the day that the post was published.
A custom post structure is available to you to use, although in most cases you won’t need to use it.
A good choice is to use permalink structures with just the post name or a combination of post name and date. It is ultimately up to you, but make sure whatever you choose includes your post name.
3. Keep It Short and Sweet
Part of creating attractive permalinks is making sure they are not too long. Your permalinks should communicate the meaning of your post, but shouldn’t be excessive and bulky.
After you set your permalinks to include the post name, you can change them from within your post or page editor.
When you first create a post, you will see that your post name may include most of your title and may be very long.
To edit your permalink, click on the section under your post name.
Change it to make it include only the most important words or a short version of your title.
4. Reflect What Your Post Is About
One of the main roles of a permalink is to provide a means of accessing a certain page or post within your blog.
As already stated many times, your permalink should let your readers know what your post is about.
When you select a WordPress permalink structure that includes the post name (as you should), the name of your post is generated next to the URL of your site.
This is a good start, as your title usually gives a clear summary of what your page is about.
You may need to do some adjusting to make it more URL friendly. Start with the post or page name and if you need to, you can clean it up. Sometimes the post name will be suitable the way it is, and you won’t need to do any further work. Simple!
Having a permalink that tells your readers what your post is about is an effective way to set your site up for getting more traffic.
5. Include Keywords to Drive Traffic
Having a proper permalink is an important factor in SEO (search engine optimization) and will help your post show up in search engine results pages.
Including the right keywords in your permalink will tell search engines what your page is about.
If your keyword appears in your title and permalink, it lets search engines know that there is more importance for this word.
Although you don’t have to be an SEO expert, keeping some simple points in mind will help you get noticed by search engines.
If you’re not sure what keyword you should be including, chances are it is already in your title. Following the steps above will also help you create permalinks that are SEO friendly.
You can use Google’s keyword planner to find which keywords are valuable.
Once you sign in, you can search for information on your keywords.
You can see how popular your specific keyword is, and what the competition for that keyword is like.
Search engines are a valuable source of traffic. Optimizing your blog so search engines can clearly understand it will help you get ranked in their results. Remember, your main concern is creating great content for your readers. Do this in a clear, organized way and you will satisfy both your readers and the search engines.
6. Establish Proper WordPress Permalinks At The Start
Establishing a proper permalink structure is important when you start your blog. If you don’t set them up properly at the beginning, and decide to change them later on, you risk losing any positive ranking factors that the page has gained.
Changing your WordPress permalinks half-way down the road can cause you to loose social media shares. You also risk losing any SEO ranking for that post or page.
However, if you already have established a WordPress blog and have a poor permalink structure, you may choose to change even though you may face some consequences. In the long run, you may realize that the benefits outweigh the penalties. if you are having trouble getting traffic, ineffective permalinks could be one of the reasons hindering your blog promotion.
To avoid any hassle down the road, establish a good permalink structure at the beginning to ensure your pages are attractive to both your readers and search engines.
7. Stay Consistent
Keeping the same WordPress permalink structure throughout your site will help make your site easier to navigate for your viewers.
Doing this will help give a familiar flow to your blog that readers can better understand.
Doing this will also benefit your blog in the eyes of search engines.
By having a clear, organized site hierarchy, search engines will be able to understand your site better. A well-designed site is an SEO factor and can help your blog get listed in search engine results pages.
WordPress automatically creates a consistent permalink structure for you. Follow the steps above to set up an attractive structure for all your blog’s permalinks.
Setting up good WordPress permalinks is an important ingredient in creating a successful blog.
Not only does it help your site appear clean and organized to your readers, but it is good for SEO and can help your posts get ranked in search engine results.
Following these 7 rules for WordPress permalinks will ensure that you are following the best practices for creating effective permalinks.
Setting up a good permalink structure when you start your blog will save you the hassle of changing them down the line. You don’t want to loose your post’s social media share count and search engine position because of a permalink change.
Create appealing permalinks and you will be setting a proper foundation for your blog. With attractive, organized permalinks, both your readers and search engines will benefit.
What WordPress permalink structure do you prefer to use? Do you include the date, or just use the post name?