SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the most important factor which no any website owner can choose to ignore. In the process of making SEO friendly website, Permalinks (aka URL) plays the major role. Permalinks are the digital addresses of your pages and post. SEO friendly URLs with strong keywords will be easily crawled by search engines like Google. This article shows how to make URLs SEO friendly in WordPress.
How to Make URLs SEO Friendly in WordPress
The default WordPress URL structure is not SEO friendly and looks something like this:
This URL contains more number than words and is surely not SEO friendly. However WordPress provides it’s users with the ability to customize URL. In this article we will talk about SEO friendly URLs in WordPress.
What is SEO friendly URL structure in WordPress
Any URL containing focused keywords which can easily be read by both humans and search engines, is called SEO friendly URL. A SEO friendly URL can increase your chances of ranking higher in the search result. An example of a SEO friendly URL for a post titled “Set Featured Thumbnails in WordPress” is
In above example, “/set-featured-thumbnails-in-wordpress” is called Slug in WordPress. Similarly, combination of “http://” + “/domain.name/” + “/slug/” is called URL or Permalink in WordPress. Words like “a”, “in”, “the”, etc are called stop words. These stop words are not very important in URLs and you can remove from the slug if the URL is too long. Avoid using capital letters in the URLs. Make sure the URLs are human readable and SEO friendly.
Creating custom URL
While installing WordPress, the first thing you have to do is change your permalink settings. WordPress provides you the ability to easily create custom URL structure from Admin Dashboard itself. To change permalink structure follow the following steps:
These custom permalinks in the settings page are SEO friendly and are well explained with an example for each. Select the permalink of your choice and click save. Selecting post name as the permalink will make your URLs SEO friendly and human readable.
Which permalink structure is good for SEO ?
Before answering this question let’s have a close look at each URL structure options offered by WordPress.
- Plain: This is a default WordPress URL structure. It includes numbers so it is not SEO friendly.
- Day and Name: Although this URL is SEO friendly but it has dates in it which makes it less attractive. Due to the inclusion of dates in it, the post becomes seasonal and will be outdated soon.
- Month and Name: Similarly inclusions of month and year in URL is also not recommended if you are looking to build evergreen contents that can stand the test of time. Off course, if you are running news blog then URL with dates are useful.
- Post Name: it is highly used and highly SEO friendly. We highly recommend you use it since it is short and pretty.You can also include your focus keywords in this Post Name URL.
- Numeric: It is almost similar to post name with a number at the end. This URL is really useful if you are a news website and want to get featured in Google News.
- Custom Structure : The option lets you create your own SEO friendly permalink. By using various option of tags, you can include and combine category, date, ID, author and more in your permalink.
Rules for including tag in custom structure:
Custom URL requires special tags to be wrapped between percent sign %. The tags are separated with / slashes before and after it. You can use multiple tag too in the same URL structure. A typical custom URL looks something like this with category and post name tag.
Other tag you can use are %year%, %momentum%, %day%, %hour%, %minute%, %second%, %author%, %post_ID% etc
Redirection is a process that comes after the changing of permalink. If you are a creating a brand new post, then you don’t have to worry about any redirecting. But if you are changing URL of a already published post, then you have to set up redirects. The main propose of redirect is to prevent the breaking down of inbound links due to change in URL address. You can use Yoast’s 301 redirection script or a redirection plugin such as Redirection to ensure that you do not lose any traffic. The only drawback by changing URL structure for already famous sites is losing their social share counts.
Summarized tips about creating SEO friendly URL structure:
- Post Name URLs that are short and uses focus keyword is best for SEO.
- For large publications you can use custom structure with tags that can also be SEO friendly.
- URL with dates are useful for News sites. Evergreen contents should avoid
- Prefer dashes( – ) over underscore( _ )
- Remove stop words from permalinks (such as ‘is’ or ‘are’)
- Changing permalink after publication should be followed by proper redirection using .htaccess.
To know more about creating SEO friendly URL check our guide on ”How to Create Custom Permalinks in WordPress”
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