As a web development agency, we understand the importance of making your website SEO-friendly. One often overlooked aspect of this is the permalink structure of your WordPress site. A custom permalink structure can improve your SEO and make your URLs more user-friendly. In this article, we will dive into everything you need to know about custom permalinks in WordPress, including how to change them and the best structure to use.
But before we start, let’s quickly define a permalink. A permalink, short for “permanent link,” is the URL that points to a specific page or post on your website. It’s called “permanent” because, ideally, it should never change. The permalink structure determines how the URL for each page or post is created and displayed.
Why Custom Permalinks are Important for SEO
When it comes to SEO, having a well-structured permalink can make a big difference. A good permalink structure can help search engines understand the content of your pages and posts, making it easier for them to rank your site higher in search results.
One of the main benefits of custom permalinks is that they can include relevant keywords, which can help your site rank better for those keywords. For example, if you have a blog post about “The Best WordPress Plugins for SEO,” your permalink could be like “yourdomain.com/best-wordpress-plugins-for-seo.” This URL includes the keyword “WordPress plugins” and “SEO,” making it more likely to appear in search results for those terms.
Another benefit of custom permalinks is that they can make your URLs more readable and user-friendly. This can improve your site’s user experience and make visitors more likely to click on your links.
How to Change Your Permalink Structure in WordPress
Now that you understand why custom permalinks are important let’s talk about how to change them in WordPress. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple process.
Changing your permalink structure in WordPress is a simple process. Follow these steps:
- Go to Settings Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the permalink structure you want to use.
- Click on the “Save Changes” button.
Here, you’ll see several options for permalink structures, including:
- Day and name
- Month and name
- Post name
- Custom structure
The “Custom structure” option allows you to create your permalink structure using specific tags. These tags are placeholders that WordPress will replace with the appropriate content when generating your URLs.
Some common tags include:
- %postname% – the slug of the post or page
- %category% – the category the post or page belongs to
- %year% – the year the post or page was published
- %monthnum% – the numeric month the post or page was published
- %day% – the day of the month the post or page was published
- %author% – the username of the post or page author
For example, if you wanted to create a permalink structure that included the post name and category, you could use the following custom structure:
Once you’ve selected your preferred permalink structure, click the “Save Changes” button to update your site’s URLs.
Best Practices for Custom Permalink Structure
Now that you know how to change your permalink structure, let’s discuss the best practices for creating an SEO-friendly and user-friendly custom structure.
First and foremost, keeping your permalink structure simple and easy to read is essential. Avoid using too many variables or tags that might make your URLs confusing or difficult to understand.
Another good practice is to include relevant keywords in your permalinks. This can help your site rank better for those keywords and make it easier for users to understand what your page is about.
When it comes to the actual structure of your permalinks, there are a few guidelines you should follow:
- Avoid using numbers or special characters in your URLs
- Use hyphens to separate words in your URLs
- Keep your URLs as short as possible
Finally, if you change your permalink structure, you must set up redirects from your old URLs to your new ones. This is important to ensure that any links pointing to your old URLs will still work and that you don’t lose any traffic or SEO value.
For more redirect information, check out our article on How to Set Up Redirects in WordPress.
Custom permalinks may seem small, but they can significantly impact your website’s SEO and user experience. Creating a well-structured, keyword-rich permalink structure can help your site rank better in search results and make it easier for users to navigate your content. If you haven’t already, take some time to review your site’s permalink structure and make any necessary changes to improve your SEO and user experience