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.
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?
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:
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:
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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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).
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?