When ever we talk about SEO of any site, permalink plays major role in overall optimization. A permalink is Permanent link of your page and posts and it doesn’t change with time. By default WordPress offer permalink like this:
Which is not search engine friendly and most of newbie bloggers who just started with WordPress, they miss out optimizing WordPress permalink for SEO. In this guide, I will be talking about which permalink structure is the best and will also look into other suggested WordPress permalink structure and why you should avoid them.
Which Permalink Structure is recommended for SEO?
One of the major On page SEO factor is having your Keyword in your post URL (Permalink). Default WordPress permalink is non SEO friendly and when you Install WordPress for the first time and start blogging without making any change, you are blogging with a non SEO friendly permalink structure. I have already mentioned in my WordPress essential settings guide, that permalink is the first thing you should change while setting up your blog for the first time.
You can find various Permalink settings under WordPress dashboard > Settings > Permalink and few suggested permalink structures are:
- Domain.com/Postname (/%postname%/)
Out of all my favorite and suggested permalink structure for WordPress blog is: Post Name . Post name permalink is short, sweet and has nothing extra which will affect your On page SEO score. Many Bloggers recommend using Category in permalink which is also good only when your Category name is short and meaningful and you are not using multiple categories/post. Though, I’m not a big fan of using category in Permalink structure, as depending upon your indexing settings, it may lead to duplicate content on WordPress blog.
Another Permalink which I highly recommend to avoid is: Using dates in your Permalink. This takes away your capability of republishing your post at later age. As Permalink remains the same, but when you republish post, it makes it look bad as you will still be using old date in permalink.
You can read more about it on : Why changing permalink after post publishing is a bad idea.
WordPress Permalink for Google News:
If you are running a news based site for example current affairs, Bollywood news, Technology news kind of site, you need to have 3 digit unique ID in your permalink as mentioned in Google news submission requirement.
Some time back Matt Cutts, Google Engineer also changed his WordPress blog permalink structure to domain.com/post-name and here is an explanation from him:
Though he didn’t mentioned any thing directly about SEO benefits of using simple WordPress permalink, but he did mentioned about such permalink helps in keeping thing simple.
Take away and other Permalink SEO Tips:
- Use Simple permalink (domain.com/postname)
- Prefer dashes over underscore (Source)
- Remove stop words from permalink like (Is, are)
- Never change Permalink after publishing & if you do, setup a 301 redirection from old to new URL using .htaccess
- Use your Keyword in Permalink
Couple of months back I changed permalink structure of an existing site and make sure it was 301 redirection, but somehow after changing permalink structure affected my site traffic. So, if you have a huge site, I recommend you to avoid changing permalink until it’s unavoidable. You can refer to this guide, where I mentioned how I changed permalink structure for an existing site.
Another big debate on Permalink is using : www or non www in the URL of your domain. Earlier, I used to prefer www in my permalinks, but since world is going to short and simple version, I prefer using non www in my site name. It gives you more space in permalink and as you know, search engine index only 66 characters from your Permalink. If you choose non www version of domain structure, make sure www version of your site is properly redirected to non www version to avoid WordPress duplicate issue.
Ex: http://www.wphostingdiscount.com —- >> http://wphostingdiscount.com
I also recommend you to set your preferred domain from Webmaster tool. You can learn more about it on my earlier article on: Google Webmaster tool Preferred domain setting.
From now on, when ever you are setting up a new WordPress blog, make sure you use a SEO friendly WordPress permalink structure than any random permalink. If you have any query regarding WordPress permalinks, do let me know via comment.
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