A Guide to WordPress Permalinks

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WordPress Permalinks

WordPress permalinks give the full URL address of a post or page on your site. They are the permanent address of particular content or webpage on a WordPress site. The way your WordPress permalinks are arranged can have huge ramifications on your SEO, so it’s imperative to comprehend WordPress permalink settings and setup.

In this guide, we will show you precisely what WordPress permalinks are, how they work, how you can streamline permalinks on your WordPress site, and significantly more.

What are WordPress Permalinks?

In a nutshell, WordPress permalinks are the unique URLs for specific posts or web pages. Permalinks enlighten visitors and web crawlers about your posts and pages. Furthermore, they are unique – a URL can only be associated with a single post or page on your site. Every webpage has a unique permalink, including:

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  • Blog articles
  • Web pages
  • Archived pages
  • 404 error pages
  • Custom posts
  • Products on eCommerce sites

For better understanding, consider permalinks as physical addresses and road signs. Your website is a city, which is divided into different areas, and WordPress permalinks are the maps for navigating those areas.

  • Permalinks are the complete URLs that also define the structure of your website and where the user is currently present. A permalink is built up as a sub-domain (optional) + domain name + sub-directory + page name.
  • Though related, Permalinks are not slugs. However, slugs are often part of permalinks. A slug is a shortened post or page name that is placed at the end of a URL.
  • Permalinks are very crucial for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because search engines use them to index the posts or pages.

Difference Between WordPress Permalinks, Slugs, and Links

For a complete understanding of the permalinks in WordPress, it is necessary for us to know about slugs and links and how they are different from each other. Here are the differences:

  • A permalink is a full link to a page or post, that is composed of all the elements, such as domain, subdomain, slug, and subdirectories.
  • A slug is only the last part of a permalink, which gets optimized for SEO. On assigning a title to any post, WordPress automatically creates the slug from the title you choose. But it is suggested to optimize the auto-generated slug and add keywords along with removing undesired words. If you prefer, you can also create a manual slug for a post right within your post editor.
  • A link is basically a hyperlink that is placed within the content of a website. These internal links help readers to navigate the website in a proper way and external links are used for referring to the websites, articles, or blogs.

6 Types of Permalink Structures on WordPress

Before we hop in, it’s essential to note that in case you’re running another WordPress site, you should consistently set your favorite permalink structure ahead of schedule. It is suggested for an individual to lock down the permalink structure within the first 6 months because of SEO factors.

Then again, if your site has been around for more than that, you can change your permalink structure. However, it may affect your SERP rankings on the off chance that you don’t execute redirections to the new URLs. In light of this information, we should assist you with recognizing the best structure for your WordPress site.

1. Plain

As defined by its name, this permalink structure is bare-bones and is never a good idea to use. The slug of this structure is created from any ID or random numbers curated directly from the database. It doesn’t provide any sort of information regarding the webpage visitors will land and is not good for SEO purposes as well.

2. Day and name

This structure utilizes the name and date of the page on which it gets published. This structure contains them in URLs and allows users to quickly determine how old a particular post is. Majorly, this structure is useful for new publications and magazine websites because they always publish time-specific content.

On the flip side, adding dates may also work as a disadvantage for generic posts that have no relation to time. Suppose a good blog post was published 3 years ago but it is still relevant to provide the correct information.

Anyone discovering the date of publishing would simply make that information is old and will bounce back. Users can add the date somewhere on the post and there’s no compelling reason to add it in the URL.

3. Month and name

Similar to the aforementioned structure, it is also a time-specific structure but it doesn’t include the exact date of the publication. Instead, it will include the month of publication along with the year. It comes with similar pros and cons as with the Day and Name structure.

4. Numeric

It is similar to the plain permalink structure and is also not good for SEO and user understanding. The only difference between the two is that it utilizes post IDs instead of IDs from the database to make the slug. The website will have a short permalink offering zero information about the webpage or blog posts.

5. Post name

Among the ones mentioned above, this permalink structure this one one of the most utilized one for various valid reasons. It clearly helps users to identify what a particular post or page is all about and helps in creating a memorable URL.

The best part is that users can also customize this name if the slug is getting too long or has a lot of pronouns and verbs. Also, they can be customized for SEO as well by including the keyword. Ensure to keep only three to five words only. This structure not only helps visitors to remember the page but also helps search engines to identify the post more clearly.

6. Custom structures

If you don’t want to go with any of the WordPress permalink structure we’ve talked about so far, your are allowed to build your own. For example, for a blogging website, an individual can set up individual categories for the roundups that can be included in the links. In practice, WordPress offers around ten structure tags that can be used to build permalinks.

Finding the Permalinks

To access the permalinks of your WordPress website, first, log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to Settings > Permalinks. From here, you can manipulate the structure of the permalinks of your entire website and:

  • Edit the permalink structure for categories and tags.
  • Manipulate the slug of the blog posts manually for various reasons.
  • Define the link structuring or go with the default structuring. However, the latter one is not good for SEO.
  • Add various plugins and implement them for better customization and structuring of your permalinks.
  • Make redirections to make old permalinks connect with the new ones.

Creating Custom Permalinks

WordPress lets you make custom permalinks. Nonetheless, you can utilize modules to accomplish comparative outcomes with better controls.

The best and ideal opportunity to change a permalink is modifying it before before publishing the content. The reason behind doing so is because changing the post’s slug after it has been published may increase the probability of the occurrence of an HTTP 404 error.

Also, if not redirected properly, links shared over the internet utilizing the old URL will not work. By customizing the slug of your post before publishing, you’ll have an upgraded permalink the second you hit the distribute button. Here are the 2 ways of creating custom permalinks:

1. Using custom structure tags

WordPress allows individuals to use 10 different types of structure tags for creating custom permalinks:

  • Date Tags: Used for adding dates in the URL, this tag includes %year%, %monthnum%, %day%, %hour%, %minute%, and %second%. They work exactly as defined by their names. Adding one of these tags in your permalink structure will add the specific number in your URL.
  • Post ID and Name: There are 2 tags in this category, i.e. %post_id% and %postname%. The former will add a unique ID of your blog post in the URL while the latter is used for displaying the full blog title.
  • Category and Author: To add a category, use %category%. For including author name in the URL, add %author% tag respectively.

To utilize any of these tags, you need to get to your dashboard and go to the Settings > Permalinks tab. Here, you can pick any permalink structure you want. In the event that you need to make your own custom structure tag, select the Custom Structure option available down below the list.

You can use as many labels as you need for creating your custom permalink structure. In any case, we suggest keeping things short and staying away from dates so that your content stays evergreen.

2. Using plugins

If you are well-versed in WordPress, you’ll know that there are plugins for nearly all the problems, and tweaking permalinks is no exception. To begin, look for relevant plugins and choose and install one that best suits your requirements. Use the reviews and features section to make the suitable pick. Now navigate to the Tools > Permalink Manager tab and there you’ll discover a rundown of all your posts along with an option to tweak them. The URL Editor tab segment also comes with an option for Pages and Media.

In case you’re not happy with the modifications, you can easily restore the default configurations anytime.

WordPress Permalink and SEO

Despite the fact that there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all strategy for permalink structure, you can put forth an attempt to streamline your site’s permalinks for SEO. The following are a couple of simple permalink SEO tips to execute while setting up your WordPress site:

1. Avoid the use of plain structure

We previously addressed this, however, the entirety of the underlying WordPress permalink structures are acceptable choices aside from the default Plain one.

In case you’re now contributing to a blog and neglected to change your permalink structure, there’s still time. If your incoming traffic is low and you don’t have a lot of pages, you can easily manipulate your permalinks. It’s impossible that it will hurt your SEO, and you can generally 301 redirects to your URLs in case you’re concerned.

However, if you have a lot of content and web pages then it is necessary to consider the pros and cons in detail related to permalinks. If you’ve decided to change them, then ensure to make proper redirections. Utilize a plugin like Yoast SEO or any free redirection plugin to make 301 redirections of the old URLs to the new ones.

2. Keep permalinks straightforward

For the best SEO, it is always suggested to keep the permalink short, simple, and straightforward without any verb. Keep your permalinks to a manageable length; between 3 to 5 words. It also keeps your URL easily readable even on the Search Engine Result Pages. You can modify your “slug” at the time of publishing the content to keep all the hustle aside.

3. Make small tweaks

It is obvious that picking a particular implicit structure for your permalinks won’t really yield huge SEO results. They’re all essentially equivalent. Be that as it may, you can utilize the accessible factors to make any structure you pick. Furthermore, for custom permalinks, you can take it a bit higher utilizing custom values.

Custom values are used for squeezing out the most SEO benefits from the permalink structures and they offer an advanced URL structure for various web pages of your choice. Adding these custom values makes the modifications of WordPress’s internal functions necessary. Therefore, site owners have to look for developers who can execute these advanced settings.

Conclusion

A majority of people don’t pay attention to the structure of a website’s URLs that eventually brings a lot of disadvantages. This might look like a small modification but using the right permalink structure can help a lot in SEO along with making the website more user-friendly.

WordPress permalinks are assigned for all the pages, such as blog articles, web pages, and archived pages. They are the complete URLs that define the structure of your website and tell visitors where they are situated currently. They are composed of a slug at the end that is modified for better SEO.

There are 6 types of WordPress permalink structures in which the post name is the most effective one. It has nearly no cons if structured properly, and helps users and browsers discover the content of that particular web page.

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