Have you ever wondered which WordPress permalink structure is the most SEO-friendly? New users frequently ask us this question. That’s because the default WordPress URL structure wasn’t exactly SEO-friendly in the past. That is, however, no longer the case. We’ll go over how to customize your WordPress permalinks and how to make them SEO-friendly in this article.
What is a URL that is SEO friendly?
Before we get into WordPress permalinks, it’s important to understand what an SEO Friendly URL is.
SEO Friendly URLs include keywords that describe the article and are simple to read for both humans and search engines. They also help you rank higher in search engine results.
An example of an SEO-friendly URL is as follows:
https : //www.yourblogmaster.com/how- to-install-WordPress/
So, what does a URL that isn’t SEO-friendly look like?
WordPress now uses the post name in the URL by default, which is the best URL structure for SEO.
So why do newbies still come to us for advice on the best permalink structure?
That’s because, in the past, WordPress didn’t use permalinks or pretty URLs. The non-SEO friendly example we shared earlier used to be the default.
In WordPress 4.2, this was changed. Your site URLs are SEO-friendly if you recently installed WordPress.
In the WordPress admin area, you can easily check your permalink settings.
Explanation of the Permalink Settings Page
Permalinks are the name given to links in WordPress (short for permanent links). The terms permalink structure and URL structure are frequently interchanged.
The first step is to go to your WordPress admin area and go to the Permalinks settings page.
Simply go to the admin menu and click on Settings, then Permalinks. This will bring you to a page similar to this:
As you’ve seen, there are variety of options.
- Day and name
- Month and name
- Post name
- Custom Structure
Choose your own URL structure using available tags.
Using the available tags, create your own URL structure.
Let’s take a look at these options and how they can help users and SEO.
The first option, plain, was previously the default WordPress URL structure. This isn’t a good option for SEO.
Because it contains the post name, the day and name option is somewhat SEO-friendly. When using dates, however, the URL becomes too long. But, more importantly, even if you regularly update your content, it will appear outdated after a while. The month and name option, likewise, runs the risk of being out of date.
If you’re a news organization, however, you’ll want the dates in your URL to show how recent the content is and to improve the user experience.
Those two structures, in our opinion, are only suitable for news sites. It is not recommended for business websites that want to create evergreen content.
Because it is short and attractive, the post name option is the most SEO-friendly.
If you have a larger publication, a custom structure that is also SEO friendly can be used.
We use a custom permalink structure at Yourblogmaster that includes a category name in addition to the post name in the URL. It is ideal for us because our site is large and contains thousands of articles. A similar URL structure can be found in larger publications.
You’ll need to use special tags in the custom structure box to use a custom URL structure. For instance, we might use:
Take note of how each tag is wrapped around a percent sign. The trailing slashes / before, after, and between the tags should also be noted.
Using Available Tags to Create a Custom URL Structure
We recommend using the options listed above for the best results. You can either copy the Yourblogmaster URL structure or use the post name as your URL structure.
Tags, on the other hand, can be used to make a variety of other combinations. Here’s a list of tags you can use to make your own unique URL structure:
- %year% – The year of the post, in four digits, for example, 2016.
- %monthnum% – Year’s month, for example, 2005.
- %day% – Day of the month, for example, 28.
- %hour% – The hour of the day, for example, 15
- %minute% – Minute of the hour, such as 43.
- %second% – The second of the minute, for example 33.
- %postname% – A sanitised version of the post’s title (in the post slug field on the Edit Post/Page panel). For instance, if the title of your post is This Is A Fantastic Post! In the URL, it would become this-is-a-great-post.
- %post_id% – The post’s unique ID number, such as 423.
- %catagory% – The sanitised edition of the category name (category slug field on New/Edit Category panel). In the URI, nested sub-categories appear as nested directories.
- %author% – The author’s name has been sanitised.
After you’ve chosen your permalink structure, don’t forget to click the save changes button.
When you save your changes, WordPress will automatically update your site’s.htaccess file, and your site will begin using the new URL structure right away.
Important Reminder for Established Sites
Please don’t change your permalink structure if your site has been up for more than 6 months.
You are not required to use the same structure as we did.
If you change your permalink structure on a current platform, you risk losing all of your social media shares as well as risk losing your SEO ranking.
Hire a professional to set up proper redirects if you need to change your permalink structure. Your social share counts on the pages will still be lost.
Only one exception exists to this rule. If your site uses plain URLs, you should update the URL structure for better SEO, regardless of how old it is. Yes, you’ll lose social share counts, but the advantages far outweigh this.
We hope you found this article useful in creating an SEO-friendly URL structure for your WordPress site. You might also be interested in our guide to categories vs. tags – SEO best practices for content sorting.