While most people are familiar with some of the strategic tactics for improving your website’s SEO, one of the more obscure ways to improve your SEO ranking pertains to the structure of your URLs. Ensuring you have the best WordPress permalink structure is something simple you can implement to improve your website’s SEO.
Take a look at the steps below to find out how to create the best permalink structure for SEO.
What is Your WordPress Permalink Structure?
As HubSpot states, permalinks, or permanent links, are the “web address for your [website] pages (URLs). The permalink structure serves two purposes: to help search engines identify what [the content on] your page is about and to help your visitors navigate your content more easily.”
Search engines also use your permalinks to determine how to best index your website content. The permalink structure also affects how easily your content can be shared.
Improving Your WordPress Permalink Structure
As mentioned above, improving your WordPress permalink structure is a great way, according to Search Engine Journal, to “improve your organic search visibility, especially for low-volume long-tail keywords.” There are four steps to improving your WordPress URL structure:
- Create a Single Root Version of Your Website URL
- Choose an SEO-Friendly Permalink Structure
- Alter Your Site Architecture and URL Structure
- Rewrite Your WordPress Permalink Structure to Make Them SEO-Friendly
1. Create a Single Root Version of Your WordPress URL
Creating a single root version of your website URL will allow all of your search engine indexing, ranking, and link values to point to one version of your domain and website. There are a couple of domain URL variations you can choose from:
All of these URLs will lead back to my website, however, the best option to select is one of the HTTPS versions — Google actually requires HTTPS for secure data in Chrome — and have the other three URLs redirect to your website via a 301 redirect to the single root version of your domain.
2. Include Your Keywords in Your WordPress Permalink Structure
In order for Google to associate your content with your desired keywords and to improve your organic search visibility, you’ll want to ensure that your WordPress URL structure incorporates your target keywords. For example, for this blog post about WordPress permalink structures, the URL is https://pamannmarketing.com/best-wordpress-permalink-structure-for-seo. The WordPress permalink structure lets Google and website visitors know exactly what the content of your webpage is going to be.
3. Alter Your Site Architecture and WordPress URL Structure
Once you’ve decided on your WordPress permalink structure, you’ll need to map out your site’s URLs so that the URLs align with the content and keywords for each webpage. Search Engine Journal recommends following “your sitemap and main navigation to organize your URL strings based on directories that content should live in.” They provide the following examples for different verticals that can live on your website:
- Ecommerce example: example.com/products/product-category/sub-category/product-name
- B2B example: example.com/services/sub-services/service-detail-page
4. Best Practices for Your WordPress Permalink Structure
Here are some best practices to keep in mind when changing your URL structure for WordPress:
- Try to keep your permalinks to 59 characters in length or less. Creating short URLs helps search engines index your web pages and makes it easier for visitors to share the link to your content.
- WordPress automatically generates permalinks for your unpublished posts, but you should always go back and edit your permalinks to include the keyword(s) that are applicable to your content.
- While stop words are acceptable for the keywords incorporated throughout your web page content, you should always remove them from your permalinks. Here is a list of stop words to remove from your WordPress URL structure.
- Always use hyphens to separate the words in your URL to help search engines correctly process and index your webpages. For example, instead of https://pamannmarketing.com/wordpresspermalinkstructure, you should use https://pamannmarketing.com/wordpress-permalink-structure.
How to Change Your WordPress URL Structure
To create WordPress URLs that align with the best practices outlined above, follow these instructions for changing your WordPress URL structure:
- Once you’ve logged into WordPress, click on the Settings option in the left-hand sidebar.
- Click Permalinks.
- Under Common Settings, choose your permalink structure. There are six options to choose from:
- Plain. This is not the best option for optimizing your WordPress permalink structure for SEO because none of the URL elements describe the content on the page.
- Day and name. For the sake of simplicity and permanence, unless you’re not going to update the content in the future, you don’t want to call out the date the content was originally published featured in the URL. You can include this information on the webpage itself.
- Month and name. Similar to the option above, this isn’t the best WordPress URL structure since it displays the name and month the content was published.
- Numeric. This is also not the greatest option for SEO because nothing in the URL describes the content of the page.
- Post name. This is the most popular choice for WordPress URL structures as it allows you to customize your URL to match your content and incorporate your target keywords.
- Custom structure. This option allows you to customize your URL and provides Google with more information about your webpage content.
4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
If you’re changing the WordPress permalink structure after the pages have been posted, you’ll need to set up permanent 301 redirects to send visitors to the new URLs. If you don’t set up the 301 redirects, your website will have broken links and the content the search engines indexed will be incorrect, so be sure to complete this extra step once you’ve updated your WordPress URL structure.
Need Help with Your WordPress Permalink Structure?
We have over 10 years of experience in WordPress website management, including helping you create the best permalink structure for SEO. Our areas of WordPress expertise include:
- Optimizing WordPress websites for SEO and better speed performance
- Updating WordPress websites and plugins
- Configuring WordPress hosting and backups
- Adding new functionality to WordPress sites, which includes installing and configuring plugins, creating custom post types, contact forms, etc.
- Fixing broken links (404 errors) and implementing 301 redirects
Contact us today if you need help with your WordPress website.
*Photo Credits: Moz.com and HubSpot