A WordPress permalink is a permanent URL for an article, page, post, document or content on your website. WordPress permalinks are the web addresses that people enter into their browser’s address bar to view one of your pages. In this article, we’re going to explain what are permalinks, why to set up them and how to do it.
While we go further, we should remember that permalinks are not the everything. Involving SEO efforts while writing a post is a key to have effective SEO advantage. So check 10 best practices while writing a post to discover these SEO keys.
What are Permalinks? – A Bit More
Permalinks are also what search engines, people and other websites use to link to your website. Even the category & tag archives and images used also hold their own permalinks. So being the identity and address of your content, WordPress permalinks are very important.
Permalinks are the combination of words “Permanent” and “Links”. The link or URL to each post should be permanent and never change — hence the name permalink.
Why Should I Set Up WordPress Permalinks?
When you set up WordPress, the default permalink structure is assigned as
http://yoursite.com/?p=123 where p is query string parameter and 123 is the id of given post or page saved in database row. This default permalink setting is not recommended and should never be used.
Because they not only look ugly but also are bad if used. The second reason ahead is the chief. The plain permalink setting is neither user-friendly nor does it allow you to take advantage of SEO friendly URLs and get higher index by search engines like Google.
This is a quite extensive detail to highlight pretty permalinks and their impact on SEO. We will cover that in a separate dedicated article very soon. Another reason is that the default permalink still doesn’t fit in your requirement and you need more control or customized URL structure.
How to Setup Pretty WordPress Permalinks
If you are using WP version 4.2 or above, there is a good news. Since version 4.2 of WordPress, SEO friendly URLs are already set up as default. So your site’s permalinks are already SEO friendly if you’re using WordPress 4.2+.
WordPress has a dedicated page to maintain permalinks to your website under Settings -> Permalinks. There are few choices to choose one among them as WordPress permalinks to your site.
While the “Post name” there is the most pretty and short so it’s the most preferred permalinks structure to choose. Still, you must know what are other options and when they fit best? Consult our article setting up WP permalink. We have explained everything in details there to have in-depth understanding.
Also, the post mentions 4 ways to remove category slug from URLs if you missed that there.
Important Note for Live or Established Sites
If your site is running longer than 6 months, then don’t change your permalink structure blindly. It would hurt your existing SEO ranking as well as share counts on various social media. Furthermore, heavy growth in Error 404 (page not found) when someone tries to visit your page using the old URL.
Hire a professional or set up a proper redirect of old URLs. We will cover the ways you can use to set up these redirects. Your professional can escape you from losing social share counts.
If you are using plain WordPress Permalinks, you should immediately change the URL structure to pretty. Or if you see long terms benefit, you can consider changing pretty permalinks to better with some extra care.
Here, we have covered an extensive detail about WordPress Permalinks. How much did you find this article helpful regarding WordPress permalinks? Do you have any feedback or question? Let us know in the comment form below.