Have you ever heard of ‘WordPress Permalink Settings’? If you are just starting out, you might not be familiar with the name. Well, as the name suggests, it is the URL or web address of a web content i.e. specific post or webpage which remains unchanged till the life of that post or page and is hence also called a ‘permanent link’. For example, the permalink for this particular post that you are reading now is- wordpress-permalink-settings. To access this post, you have to type this name along with the address of the site like this-
Thus, a permalink is a complete address of any web content that helps readers find a post, a page or other content on the website. This is a URL link that exists until you change it yourself, hence the name permalink. The full web address of specific web content is structured using a protocol (HTTPS://), the URL of your site (www.learnblogskills.com) and a ‘permalink’, which is usually the title or name of your blog post.
As I mentioned earlier, a permalink means the full link to an individual post or page on your blog. This is the URL that you would either type in or reach through a Google search to access a particular webpage. Permalinks should always be SEO friendly URLs so that it is easy for people to remember and can be indexed faster for search engines. Here’s an example of what a blog post URL permalink looks like in the address bar of a web browser when you’re navigating to specific post-as-WordPress permalink settings:
Let’s imagine, you are writing a blog post using a headline- ‘What is a permalink.’ Now by default, the permalink suggestion will be ‘What-is-a-permalink’ which is not SEO friendly. To make it easily memorable for people and easy for search engines to do a quick search on, you need to remove unnecessary words like ‘a’ ‘a’ or ‘the’ without changing the meaning of the title. So, you need to change the permalink to ‘what-is-permalink’
Important: Not using your focus keyword in your URL is also not a good SEO practice. A slight change in the permalink structure can hinder your focus keywords. However, in general, the keywords you want to rank for, usually lack unnecessary words. But if they have, you’ll need to use full keywords to structure your permalinks. The above suggestions are valid only if you are creating a new keyword. Ok? So be careful with this.
After a particular post or page is published, the permalink for that page should not be changed as any incoming link from other websites in the post or page will suddenly point to a missing URL. If you need to change permalinks, it’s important that you set up a proper 301 redirect to explicitly let search engines like Google know that your post, page, or article has now moved to the new URL. You can use a free WordPress plugin like ‘Redirection’ to quickly set up 301 redirects for the post or page you plan to take to the new URL.
Changing the URL (permalink) of an existing blog post without setting up a 301 redirect link is called a broken link. And broken links are very bad for the SEO health of your website- because in that case when someone clicks on the broken link they will inevitably land on a blank page that no longer exists. This will lead to a higher bounce rate because chances are, those visitors may drop your link immediately.
Search engines will notice this and may lower your organic ranking accordingly. And if you have many broken links on your website, search engines will potentially devalue or stop indexing your website – resulting in a completely bad situation that isn’t easy to handle. As you know 301 redirects any post or page that you are planning to redirect to a new URL and this can be done by using a free WordPress URL called ‘Redirection’ as shown in the picture above.
If you are using WordPress as your CMS, it is extremely easy to create SEO friendly permalinks. WordPress has some default, out-of-the-box options for permalink structures that are automatically assigned to new posts and pages—as soon as you start drafting them. You need to simply navigate to Settings and then Permalinks as shown in the image below.
Next, after clicking on Permalinks, you will see the following options. Plus, you can see a clear warning at the top – WARNING: Changing your permalink settings can have a serious impact on your search engine visibility. Therefore, I strongly recommend you not to set permalinks on the live website. To create SEO-friendly permalinks for the URLs of your blog posts and pages, you should always use the default permalink structure of the post name as the starting point for your permalinks.
If you’ve created a blog post that begins with an SEO-friendly title, the default permalinks that populate the draft blog post will naturally include key keyword phrases that appear in your title. After doing your keyword research and finding the exact words or phrases your ideal readers are looking for, you can create smart content topics that do the best possible job of answering the search queries they’re asking.
This means, when you draft a post, your article title (Post name) will naturally include the keywords you are hoping to rank for and when you post your article, the default permalink structure will automatically generate a permalink suggestion using the full text of the ‘Title or Post name’ as the URL.
While it’s tempting to rest assured with the default permalink evolving as a suggested URL, it’s not a good idea to accept it as it is without some editing. For permalinks, you can leave out very short and non-essential words like “to” or “a” so that they don’t lengthen the URL unnecessarily. To create SEO-friendly permalinks, you should generally remove these words from the URL before publishing your article.
Note that the shorter your permalink – the more memorable it is for readers and the easier it will be for search engines to do a quick search. Permalinks are very important for your post or page to include your target keywords and some operative words like “how” or “why” to define the nature of your content.
To edit a permalink in the case of the classic editor in WordPress, simply click the “Edit” button next to the permalink preview, which is located just below the post name or title. For the Gutenberg editor in WordPress, you can edit your permalink structure for your post or page by clicking the “Permalinks” setting in the right sidebar as shown here.
Earning links from external websites is the most prevalent off-page SEO strategy. Thus, any activity that takes place outside your website that helps in improving your search ranking position is called off-page SEO. This includes things like social media marketing, guest blogging, linked and unlinked brand mentions, and influencer marketing.
There are some plugins designed to help you monitor backlinks and optimize the anchor text you receive while still remaining neutral to get the most out of the content. Maintaining a quality backlink profile with a diverse range of anchor text can be difficult, so using a tool built specifically for this purpose can be very helpful. Note that the WordPress plugin I have mentioned here is a newly created one and does not have enough amount of installations and reviews, so please use it after winning enough trust from users.
It is always good to use SEO friendly permalinks, no matter what title you are using in your blog post. Also, don’t forget to use target keywords in your permalink and if possible remove all meaningless words like to, a, an or the. The idea is to use your target keywords to structure your permalink, but not to make it too long. I know, it may sound very technical to you but I am sure, when you will be able to write some posts, you will know how to do it perfectly.
Note: For added fun, you can check out my Best Content and Blog section or you can click here to read my previous lesson. If you are new to blogging and haven’t created your own blog yet, don’t miss to check out my exclusive guide on ‘How to start a blog‘ as a real online business. Which will walk you through the step-by-step process from starting a WordPress blog through Bluehost to making money from it.
If you have any questions regarding WordPress permalink settings, please don’t forget to ask me in the comment box below and I will be glad if I can help you in some way. Thank you for visiting my blog here. See you soon in the next tutorial. Since then – have a nice day.