Why Permalinks Are Important for Your Blog

Why Permalinks Are Important For Your Blog
Reading Time: 6 minutes

There is something that you might be overlooking on your posts before you publish them.

It’s something even I overlooked when I first began blogging.

Your permalinks.

The name might not sound like it’s anything too important.

I know, it sounds like it’s just a link but it is actually something important for your blog.

What Are Permalinks In WordPress?

All Blog Posts on WordPress Menu

Permalinks or permanent links (if you want to say it completely) are the complete links to your blog posts. But don’t worry, these links do not have to literally be “permanent” as we’ll talk about later. WordPress offers you a variety of ways to customize them. Other platforms should as well.

An example of a permalink:

http://www.ctothea.com/how-to-add-social-media-meta-tags/

What you update on your post is typically just the /blog-post-name/ part of your link.

How to Set Permalinks In WordPress?

WordPress has moved the place to edit your permalinks around as they’ve updated the Content Management System (CMS), but if you haven’t updated to the latest version, it’ll likely be below your post title on your “Edit Post” screen after you’ve saved your post as a draft.

If you’re using the latest version, here’s where you would find it:

Permalink on WordPress
Editing your permalink on the latest WordPress version.

First you want to make sure that you save your post as a draft so the option appears. I would recommend setting the permalink until your post is ready to be published so you have more time to think about what it’ll be.

You can also find the option to change it by clicking on your blog post title (on the latest version of WordPress).

Permalinks on WordPress Blog Post Title
The G in the corner is from Grammarly, an amazing FREE tool that can help your post grammar.
Adding Permalink on WordPress Blog Post Title

But there is another way to add your permalink on WordPress, and that’s by installing the Yoast SEO plugin (they offer a free plugin which is the one we use).

Yoast calls it the “slug” but it’s their permalink name for it.

Changing Slug on Yoast SEO

I actually prefer to change my permalinks this way just because it’s more convenient for me to do so after I add my meta title and description to a blog.

How Can You Set Them on Other Blogging CMS?

If you’re using another CMS for your blogs, you should be able to find a place where you can edit your post URL. If you can’t find it, leave a comment below with your blog CMS and I can help you find out where to change it.

Why Is Setting Permalinks Necessary?

Questions

It’s super important to make sure that you set your permalink. If you don’t set it, most CMS by default just add the blog title name onto it. The blog title might not seem a bad thing to have as the link but if you have a really long title, it’ll just mean that your permalink will be long. And even more so if you have more folders under your permalink structure.

Speaking of having more folders on your permalink. If this is something you’ve been wanting to change, you can change it easily.

On WordPress, if you scroll over to Settings, you should find the “Permalinks” option.

Permalink Settings on WordPress

This screen shows you previews of how your permalink structure would look like if you selected it. We choose to go with the one that just puts the post name (what we would change on the blog post itself) on the URL.

By default, WordPress uses the “Plain” option, so I highly recommend changing it if you’re just starting out.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, be careful when updating your permalinks for the reason below.

Updating? Be Sure to Redirect Links.

Full-Time Blogging

Before you make the decision to update your structure, please make sure you’re prepared for it because you’ll be doing a lot of redirects.

If your blog is new and you don’t have many posts, this might not take much time, or you might be able to skip redirecting if you don’t get any or much traffic from search.

What Are Redirects?

Wordpress Dashboard on Laptop

Redirects are instructions you set on your website to point an old, non-functioning URL to a new one. It’s important to have these in place before changing anything because you can lose so much SEO value and worst of all you can impact all of the links you’ve shared.

If you’re using WordPress, I’d recommend looking for redirect plugins as they would make it easy to implement them without having to go through a lot of code.

How to Update Permalinks in WordPress?

To update your permalinks on wordpress, you can use the same options you would use to add them. As I said earlier, the name may be short for “permanent links” but in reality, these are not. But remember that there’s a lot of work to be done if you’re changing them.

Which Permalink Structure Is Best for SEO?

Any structure that does not have just numbers like is the case for WordPress’ Plain & Numeric ones shown above, works.

The reason is that you’re able to better describe your post content. This is something that search engines like to see as it helps describe the content more.

The permalink shows up in green text on Google and if you have multiple folders in your result there’ll be more “>” pointing to each folder on the permalink.

Permalink on Google

I prefer to have just the post name on the Permalink, but if you have a business website and the blog is just a part of it then you could do a /blog/blog-post-name/ permalink or something similar. The neat thing about this is that the shorter the structure is, the more it can stand out when searchers are looking at the results.

If you want to see how other permalinks can look like on Google here are some examples:

Permalink on Google with Date
If you have dates in your permalink, it would look like this. Yes, I’m trying to learn a third language in case you’re wondering how this search came about lol.

Having a date on your permalink structure might work if your blog is more of a diary or news blog but if you’re trying to rank for something that isn’t time-sensitive, I’d recommend changing it. It can be the cause of someone choosing another result over yours if they know of the date it was posted (of course you want to make sure you update your post if anything has changed in the particular blog topic).

Long Permalink on Google Example
Here’s a great example of a permalink that is too long that Google has to add their “…”

If you get the “…” on Google take a look at your blog post name and see if it’s too long. I recommend making it short so that searchers can read the full name.


It might seem overwhelming to change your permalink structure but the time spent working on it is worth it. If you have just numbers on your structure, it’s something you should take care of sooner rather than later.

What kind of permalink structure do you have? Do you add your permalinks to each post or do you let WordPress use your blog title?

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40 thoughts on “Why Permalinks Are Important for Your Blog”

  1. Very valuable information you have here to keep in mind when optimizing your articles. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

    1. Hi Jackline, thank you. Glad I can help. It’s definitely something that can be overlooked at times. I didn’t think of it much back when I first started my first blog in 2012, but as I learned more about it, I understood that it was better to change the structure and changed it for this blog.

  2. I love how many layers there are to writing a SEO friendly post – nowadays, its not just enough to have good content, its important to nail the technicality too. I only recently started being mindful of the kind of permalinks/slugs I create and its important that the title follows suit. Great insight!

    1. Hi Vasundhra, thank you. Glad I can help. Yeah there are so many different steps to making sure that your blog post is SEO’d. The best thing is that if it’s been SEO’d there’s a high likelihood that you’re also providing a good reading experience to your readers which is likely every bloggers goal.

    1. Hi aisasami, great to hear that. It’s good to include your target keyword on the permalink because you want to make sure that searchers can see the keyword that they search for on the permalink. It might seem like it’s not a big deal but most searchers would be more likely to click on a result with a keyword that’s related to their search.

    1. Hi WanderlustBeautyDreams, thank you. Glad I can help. Yeah it’s definitely something that new bloggers should check before publishing the first post. Luckily they can be changed later but it can be time consuming to have to redirect so many blog posts to the new structure. I’d still recommend for bloggers to change their permastructure if they think that they should. It’s worth the time spent applying redirects for all posts, from the old URL structure to the new one.

    1. Hi Lorita, thank you. Glad I can help. Good to hear that you’re learning about SEO. SEO can help your blog so much and the more you learn about it, the more you can increase your traffic from Organic Search.

    1. Hi Kuntala, thank you. I agree, if you change your permalinks when you’re just starting out, you might not have to worry about having to establish redirects. Of course, I’d still recommend adding redirects because you might not have too many pages to redirect so it won’t take too long.

  3. Great info, Luis.

    If you aren’t aware of what permalinks are before getting started, you can end up hurting yourself in the long run.

    I get very concerned with SEO around things like this and I think it’s important to note: if you have a post that is doing well but has a long permalink that you might want to change, you might be better off leaving it as is. Changing your permalink can throw Google for a loop and your post might lose whatever rankings it had. Now, obviously if the post is new there won’t be too big of an effect, but it would be worth requesting the page to be re-indexed in Google.
    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, Luis! Very important information for bloggers.

    1. Hi Nick, thank you. Yeah, I agree it’s ideal to know more about permalinks when you’re first starting out. If anyone does make the decision to change their permalink structure, they need to look into making sure that redirects are ready to be in place once the adjustment happens. If you establish a redirect early, that sends a message to Google that there’s a new link replacing your old one and most of the time they’ll add your new link in place of the old one. You’re welcome, glad I can help.

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