Do you care about SEO? You should. SEO is the best way to get your content found online, and it’s also an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. There are many different best practices for search engine optimization related to permalinks-the URLs appear in a web browser when someone clicks on a link or title within your website. Still, some basics apply across the board. This blog post will discuss the best WordPress permalink structure for SEO and why you need to care about it.
What Is a Permalink, and Why Does It Matter to SEO?
A permalink is simply the web address of your blog post and will appear in your browser window. Permalinks are essential to SEO best practices because the search engine bots crawl through them when indexing your website’s content. The structure of these URLs can influence where you rank on Google (and other major search engines), so you must get this right.
Most WordPress themes use a pretty simple URL structure by default: for example, yoursite.com/?p=1234. Generally speaking, this works well enough-especially if you’re starting with blogging or don’t have much traffic yet – but there are easier ways to optimize your permalinks for organic search results!
Why You Should Use WordPress for Your Blog or Website
As we’ve discussed before, WordPress is one of the best platforms out there for creating a blog or website. It’s easy to use, flexible enough to serve almost any purpose, and it works well with many CMS tools – including SEO plugins that can help you get on track with your best practices! WordPress also comes with its permalink structure settings-which are different from some other blogging platforms like Blogger or Tumblr. However, these default settings aren’t necessarily good for search engine optimization best practices.
So how do you optimize your permalinks? Let’s take a look at why they’re so important in more detail.
Why Permalinks Matter For Search Engine Optimization Best Practices
Here are a few reasons why best practices for permalinks can impact search engine rankings:
Permalink Structure Affects Your PageRank:
When search engine bots crawl your website, they read and index the best keywords and phrases that appear in your permalinks. The more specific you can be with these URLs, the better: for example,/blog/2022-05-24/my_first_post rather than just /blog/. Google assumes a blog post title is also a good keyword to rank for – so if yoursite.com has my first post as its URL, it’s likely going to come up higher on searches related to “my first post” compared to .com/?p=1234 or something similar. It may not make sense right now – but stick around until we talk about length!
Length Matters Too
Longer permalink best practices tend to be best for SEO best practices across the board. Search engine bots like Google and Bing want URLs that include as many relevant keywords as possible: they’re looking for a good balance between readability and density of important content, so it’s best to err on the side of length if you can.
For example – our blog post about Best WordPress Permalink Structure for SEO should have its URL formatted something like this (or even longer): yoursite.com/blog/2022-05-24/best-wordpress-permalink-structure/. It’s not perfect by any means, but we’ll come back around to how these long permalinks might look in a little bit!
Permalinks Should Contain Relevant Keywords
You want to include the best keywords and phrases related to your overall topic in your blog post’s permalink for best practices. These should be relevant (and not overly spammy) for SEO purposes. Still, they can also help engage readers, making it easier for them to share your best content on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. It’s especially true if these words are included closer towards the beginning of the URL-so think about where best practice keywords go before finalizing any draft!
Short or Long Permalinks?
Permalink structure best practices depend on more than just length – though this does matter too. At their core, short URLs don’t contain much information beyond a few key terms that best describe a post’s topic. It makes it difficult for best-practices SEO to determine what a particular page is all about at a glance – and can make your blog posts come up lower on relevant searches as well!
In contrast, longer permalinks with best practice keywords – as you see with our example here-help search engines understand the content of your blog posts better. Which means they’ll rank higher across the board. In other words: stick with the best URL structures that are long or very long if possible!
How to Create a Custom URL Structure With WordPress
Now that you know best practice permalink structure best practices let’s look at how to implement them. WordPress makes this easy with its customizable settings:
You were once logged in as an administrator on your WordPress dashboard.
From the top menu, navigate to Settings > Permalinks. You’ll see a preview of your current custom URL structure displayed – which if you’re using the default setting for best practices will be something like yoursite.com/?p=123456789. Click Save Changes once you’ve chosen one that works best across all of your blog posts! You can also save time by clicking Use Default Structure without making any changes here first. If it looks good enough, go ahead and click Apply instead-this is what I do most of the time!
Examples of Different Types of URLs
Now that you understand best practice permalink structure best practices, let’s look at a few examples of URLs to see what they would look like across different types of blog posts:
Good Permalink Structure Example
It’s the best way to format your blog post URL if it contains relevant keywords. In this case, I’d recommend something like yoursite.com/the-best-wordpress-permalinks-structure/.
Bad Permalink Structure Example (1)
If your best WordPress permalink structure doesn’t include any best practice keyword phrases whatsoever – think about organizing them by date instead! Something like yoursite.com/firstpostsecondpostthirdpostfourthpostfifthawesomestuffwouldgohereifitwasafulllengthpost/.
Bad Permalink Structure Example (2)
If your best WordPress permalink structure focuses only on best practice keywords without including anything relevant to the overall topic of a blog post, it should be avoided. The worst example is yoursite.com/best-wordpress-permalinks-structure/. Sometimes I see this format used by people who don’t know any better – but there are much better options!
That’s why you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping these best practices in mind when creating your custom URL structures for each page…which will help search engines like Google understand what they’re all about at first glance.
The Best WordPress Permalink Structure for SEO
Best Practices WordPress Permalink Structure. We won’t go into too much detail just yet– but we will say this: best practices include URLs structured around dates (year/month/day). To give an example, ours would best look like this: yoursite.com/blog/2022-05-24/.
It’s where best practices for permalink structure on WordPress come into play: they make it easier for search engine bots to understand the content of your blog posts at a glance – and rank them higher as well! However, these can be challenging to implement without help from an expert. It brings us back around to why we wrote this post in the first place 😉
WordPress SEO Plugin Best Practices
To start, you should always install and activate a good WordPress plugin that’s made with best practices (and security) in mind: ours is Yoast! It will give you access to powerful tools like XML sitemaps – which essentially tell best practices search engine bots all about your best content, so they can rank it higher.
Why You Should Avoid Using Default Post Slugs in WordPress
When you use best practices with your WordPress permalink structure, it’s best to avoid using default post slugs – like “post” and “page.” These are optimized for best practice keywords, which is why we recommend that you constantly change them 😎
To do this: click into Posts > Post Types and find the individual slug of a page or blog post. In our case, ours would be yoursite.com/blog/. Once there, look at the URL Address bar – where you’ll see something like yoursite.com/?p=123456789. We changed ours from /?p=123456789 to /2022-05-24/, which reads what a search engine sees on a best practice blog post URL.
Permalinks are essential for search engine optimization but don’t forget to make them user-friendly. I can help you create a custom URL structure that will get your website ranked higher on Google while still being accessible for visitors to navigate. Talk with me today about how I can improve the SEO of your site by optimizing permalinks!