Want to know the best WordPress permalink structure for SEO?
Using SEO-friendly permalinks or URLs can help your website rank higher in search results. This is because the user experience is Google’s top priority, and it also helps search engines better understand what your page is about.
So, in this article, we are going to show you the best WordPress permalink structure for SEO. We’ll also see if it’s safe to change your permalink structure and how to safely redirect your changed URLs.
Definition of “permalink” in WordPress
Since we’re going to be talking about permalinks in this article, let’s explain what they mean first. Permalinks are basically another word for URLs or links in WordPress and are short for permalinks. We will be using both the term permalinks and URL structure throughout this article, which are the same. With that said, let’s take a look at what an SEO-optimized URL is and what it can look like next.
What is an SEO Optimized URL?
An SEO-optimized URL includes your target keyword and explains the topic of the page. It is also easy to read by users and search engines. To quickly summarize, an SEO optimized URL should:
- Include your target keyword
- Be relevant and describe what the page is about
- Do not include dates or years
- Be easy to read and use dashes instead of underscores
- Use secure HTTPS URLs
- Can include custom structure
Most importantly, you need to think about your website visitors first, because the user experience is Google’s top priority. In fact, Google states that: “URLs containing words relevant to the content and structure of your site are more user-friendly for visitors to your site.”
So, if you take these factors into account when creating your permalink structure, you will improve your chances of ranking higher in the search engines. That being the case, then let’s take a closer look at the best WordPress permalink structure for SEO.
The Best WordPress Permalink Structure For SEO
Proper use of an SEO-friendly permalink structure not only helps improve your SEO rankings but also increases click-through rates and makes it easier for users to share your content.
On the other hand, using symbols, numbers, and special characters in your permalinks makes it difficult for users and search engines to understand what the page is about.
That’s why it’s important to make your URLs easy to read and descriptive, so people know what to expect when they click on the link. That said, to make sure you’re using the best permalink structure for SEO, there are a few things to consider. So let’s dig …
1. Add your target keyword in the URL
A target keyword is a word or phrase that you hope people will type into a search engine to find your page.
Adding your target keyword in the URL can help you rank on that keyword. Even though the ranking signal is minor when it comes to keywords in the URL, it is still a ranking signal.
And you want as many people as possible to see your content, right?
Most importantly, it describes your content and helps users and search engines easily understand what your page is about. However, if you haven’t chosen a target keyword for your page, then you should just use words in your URL that best describe your content.
2. Don’t use dates or years in your URL
You should not use dates or years in your URLs, as they easily expose dated material.
THE sad reality is that no one is interested in something that was written in 2011, even though it is still relevant information. Even though you can regularly update your content, the URL will still show the original published date, which will make your content old and out of date.
On the other hand, not adding dates and years makes your permalinks last year after year. So if your URL includes dates and looks something like the example below, you can easily change it in your WordPress settings. https://example.com/2021/05/28/sample-post/ To change the structure of your permalink, simply go to the Permalinks settings page in your WordPress settings.
Then change the Date and Title setting to Post Title instead.
However, news sites are the only sites where adding the date would be appropriate, as you may need to categorize your content based on relevance and dates.
3. Use hyphens instead of underscores
It’s always best to stick with the way WordPress does things and what Google prefers, which is to use the traditional hyphen to separate words in your URLs. Underscores can be difficult to read.
For example use https://example.com/ your-article, instead of https://example.com/ your_article
So even if you prefer underscores, we recommend using hyphens as this is the preferred structure for WordPress and Google.
4. Use secure HTTPS URLs
HTTPS is primarily related to security but is also important for SEO. In fact, Google has stated that secure HTTPS sites have a ranking advantage since security is another of its top priorities.
Here is an example URL using HTTPS: https://example.com.
HTTPS, at first, indicates that an SSL certificate has been added to your site to protect your website data and keep it secure. HTTPS is the new standard, so if your site is not yet secure, we recommend switching to HTTPS as soon as possible.
5. Include categories on large sites
If you have a large website, you can use WordPress-specific tags to categorize your URLs. For example, maybe you are running an e-commerce website and want to add the product category to your URLs to make it easier for users to see what type of product the page is about.
As in this example: https://www.example.com/shop/categorie/cuisine/ Électro/friteuse
This URL contains both the main category “kitchen” and two subcategories “appliances” and “mixers” it making it very clear what type of product the page is talking about.
To include categories or other variables in your URLs, you must go back to the Permalinks settings page and choose the Custom Structure setting.
Using a custom structure like “/% category% /% postname% /” is a good way to categorize your URLs based on the category and post title of your page. Or you can use one of the tags to add your own custom permalink structure.
Besides, including categories in your URLs can also help you rank them in search engines. For example, here is one of our categories for “Ads” in Google search results:
When users click on this category link, they can easily see all of our ads. This offers another way to promote your content in search results. However, when you add categories to your URLs, you need to make sure that you make them relevant to your content. Also, think carefully before creating them because changing your categories later will break your links.
Editing your WordPress permalinks on individual posts and pages
If you want to change your URLs or permalinks on your individual posts or pages, just go to the post or page you are editing in the WordPress Block Editor and scroll down to the Permalink setting.
Here you can easily edit your permalink and shorten it to include your target keyword. Once you’re done editing your link, all you need to do is update your post or page.
Is it safe to change your permalink structure?
If you have already published your page or post, we recommend that you do not change the structure of your permalink. Permalinks mean permalinks and should stay that way!
Changing them can hurt your SEO and drop your search engine rankings. You will also lose referral traffic from people who have shared your content on social media. As well as all the backlinks that you have managed to reach your site.
However, if you still need to change your permalink structure on your website, you can use a 301 redirect to safely redirect your old URLs to the new ones.
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