What to Do With Your WordPress Permalinks for SEO

how to setup wordpress permalinks imageIf you run your site with WordPress, then you’ve surely come across the word “permalinks” before. However, many people are confused about what these actually are, and what you’re supposed to do with them. Here, we’ll explain how you can get started and what you should be doing with your permalinks in order to maximize their value for search engine optimization (SEO).

Permalinks are just a fancy way of referencing the exact URL of a given page or post on your website. WordPress defaults to simply using numeric page IDs, but this strips you of an important SEO benefit. That’s because incorporating keywords and phrases into page URLs and structures remains a proven way to enhance your site’s SEO and rankings.

Wordpress offers other options for permalinks as well, including adding different elements of the date into the URL string. You can also create a custom structure, or use category or tag bases.

The best option is to use the post name as your permalink choice. This automatically transfers your new post’s title into its URL. The keywords and topics you’re mentioning in that content then come to define it with its actual web address, and as described already, this is very beneficial for search engine optimization.

Sometimes, it does make sense to add additional data into your permalinks though. For example, news sites that want to be crawled by Google News need a non-date numeric string included in each post’s URL. While that can be done manually, you can also set up your permalinks to do so by using the right coding.

Additionally, if you’re frequently posting on your blog, you may want to classify your posts with a year and month. This keeps your archives clean and easy to navigate, and also gives you the ability to have very similar permalinks for different posts created at different times.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to toy around with changing your permalinks for an existing site unless it’s necessary. These are your page URLs, and randomly changing them back and forth will negatively impact your search rankings, incoming links pointing to your website, and your ability to be found by visitors overall.

Keep your permalinks short and sweet when possible, and don’t jam them in with excessive keywords, but do try to keep them relevant and on-target. In this way, you’ll have an extra leg up in the your quest to rank #1 for every page and post on your Worpdress site.