Simple ways to Change WordPress Permalinks

How To Change wordpress permalinks structure

Watch tutorial video below:

By now, there is no doubt in any ones mind that WordPress is one of the best Content Management Systems you can use when it comes to SEO.perma1

Very well optimised out of the box, plus you can also find some excellent plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast that help you fine tune the SEO aspect further. One important consideration when building and setting up a new WordPress site is absolutely your URL structure, better known in WordPress as the permalink structure.

Considering the fact that URLs are very important for SEO, so you should dedicate some time to deciding what would be the best structure for your blog or website.

Is default settings ever good?

Permalinks defaults are ugly in terms of SEO, as they make no semantic sense. Here are some examples of default permalinks:

  • For Post Permalink: example.com/?p=123
  • For Page Permalink: example.com/?page_id=123
  • For Category Permalink: example.com/?cat=123
  • For Tag Permalink: example.com/?tag=tag-name
  • For Archive Permalink: example.com/?m=201212 or example.com/?m=2012

While those numbers don’t mean anything to humans, they neither do they mean anything to Google and other search engines.

But they do mean a lot to WordPress and its database as they are the parameters used by WordPress to find the data within its database, but we’re here to optimize for SEO, so we need something more efficient.

Some other in-built permalink options you can use in WordPress

Default wordpress permalink structures

The date-based permalink structures are not recommended as they will most likely decrease click through rates on older articles, most people generally prefer reading fresh content over old ones.

But The numeric permalink structure on the other hand is just a bit better than the default structure but still doesn’t offer any usability or SEO efficiency.

Your Ideal Permalink Structure

The Most preferred permalink structures to use on most WordPress sites are the following

  1. /%category%/%postname%/
/%category%/%postname%/

And

  1. /%postname%/
/%postname%/

The /%postname%/ structure is now one of the in-built structures that come with WordPress so you can permajust select it from the Permalinks settings page. These two permalink structures are the most accurate descriptions of your content, and are better for search engines and humans alike. The question is which one should you use.

With previous versions of WordPress it was recommended not to use the /%postname%/ permalink structure due to the possibility of performance issues relating to the way in which WordPress fetched posts.

But this issue has been fixed in WordPress 3.3 and you can now use this permalink structure with no complications. So, once we can use either one or the other freely, here’s a hint.

If we start from the /%category%/%postname%/ structure. This is what your permalinks would look like…

  • Post Permalink: example.com/cat-name/post-name
  • Page Permalink: example.com/page-name
  • Category Permalink: example.com/cat-name
  • Tag Permalink: example.com/tag-name
  • Archive Permalink: example.com/2013/13 or example.com/2013

Using the /%category%/ part of the permalink is largely a question of flexibility.

From a pro side point you have a more structured URL and both the user and search engines can better quickly identify to what category a post belongs to, but on the other hand it might become messy if for example you put posts in more than one category.

So if you always stick and will stick to one category per post, you could use the /%category%/%postname%/ permalink structure.

To which is more ideal for you is your choice, but both are ideal permalink structures.

Excluding Category and Tag Bases

When visiting your category and tag archive pages, you will notice that the URL includes /category/ as its base.perma2

There is no need for that “category” or “tag” in the URL, so you can easily remove it using the WP No Category Base plugin, or even by setting the “Strip the category base  from the category URL” option in WordPress SEO if you are already using this plugin.

How to change Permalink Structures

In case you already got an established site, and would like to change the permalink structure, you should first ask if it is really necessary.

Unless you have a very good reason to change I would suggest to stay with the permalinks you have in place, so as not to risk running into any SEO mishaps.

A good reason would be that you started off with the default WordPress permalinks and now realised that they are not SEO or user friendly what-so-ever!

For instance, having a URL structure like www.domain.com/?page_id=123 for your ‘WordPress Services’ page is not pretty good at all. It would be much better if it looked something like www.domain.com/wordpress-services. This looks better and also contains your keywords in the URL, so better for SEO efficiency .

Then, how do you change our permalink structures without a negative SEO impact?

Using 301 redirection to redirect the previous URL structures to the new ones is the key here. The code “301″ is interpreted as “moved permanently”. 301 redirection is the most efficient and Search Engine Friendly method for webpage redirection. It’s not that hard to implement and it should preserve your search engine rankings for that particular page. In another meaning, it’s the best option when changing permalink structures for good.

By ignoring to use 301 redirection will result in 404 Page not found errors when someone visits one of your site’s pages by following an old link. Since all your backlinks would be using the old permalink structure, not having 301 redirection in place also means that you will use all that link juice, resulting in big search engines negative impact.

So what we will need to do for an effective permalink structure change is the following…

  1. Must Have a redirection system in place
  2. Change the permalink structure

Once you follow the two steps you shouldn’t have any problems with broken links or search engine impacts

Now watch this short tutorial video from WordPress video tips concerning this topic

Hope this was of a great help, for further assistance please feel free to write me using the comment box below- visit the home page to learn more on how to master the online world.

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Sincerely

Sam Ammouri

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