WordPress Permalink Settings: How To Setup Your Link Structure For Better SEO

Wordpress permalink structure

When we think about the structure of our WordPress permalinks we should be thinking about the organization of our website and it’s hierarchy. Kind of like a sitemap.

We want to provide an optimal experience for users (by giving them helpful pages) but we also want to make sure we have the best WordPress permalink structure for SEO.

This article covers how to structure permalinks for pages, posts, as well as some other related permalink settings that will help you maximize your WordPress SEO.

 

 

SEO-Friendly Permalinks in 6 Steps

  1. What Makes an SEO-Friendly Permalink Structure?
  2. Permalink Structure For Pages (Parent Pages)
  3. Permalink Structure For Posts (Categories)
  4. Changing Permalinks and 301 Redirects
  5. Yoast Permalink Settings
  6. WWW vs Non-WWW

 

 

In addition to good site architecture and user-friendly navigation (people can find the pages they want), structuring permalinks also encourages you to split up pages so you can target more keywords.

Let’s say you have 5 offices in different locations. Creating a page for each office helps you target each one’s geographic location much better (Chicago Web Designer, San Diego Web Designer, etc). This will rank those pages higher since each page will do a better job of targeting it’s focus keyword.

Permalink structure for blog articles just help people find what they’re looking for.

 

 

2. Permalink Structure For Pages (Parent Pages)

Using parents pages is a way of categorizing pages by hierarchy. For example services can be a parent page of web design. In this situation your permalink structure would look like this: example.com/services/web-design

Common Uses

Common permalink structures

I created this on Created Using WriteMaps if you want to do your own. Also, heres a video of Googles Matt Cuts confirming this is a good permalink structure to use:

 

How To Create Parent Pages

In your WordPress dashboard, edit a non-parent page (Web Design) and on the right you will see a section to select a parent page (Services).

Wordpress parent pages

 

 

3. Permalink Structure For Posts (Categories)

This is how WordPress sets your default permalink structure:

Wordpress permalink structure default

The default ?p=123 format is not a descriptive permalink structure for SEO and is not recommended, ever.

 

There is no best permalink structure for SEO since it’s a matter of preference, but I will say that Matt Cutts (who advises us SEOs) says in this video at 1:51 that he uses a custom structure of /%postname%/ because it’s “simple.” I use this too.

Best wordpress permalink structure

 

But what if you have a lot of articles? Some will argue that using /%category%/%postname%/ is better. Well again it’s a matter of preference. If you have a long domain name then also including a long word in the permalink path could hurt your SEO. That’s why if you do use that structure, you  may want to just use something like “articles” which you would set here:

Custom wordpress permalink structure

As for dates and numbers, they are not very descriptive. Plus using dates in your permalink structure can eventually cause your content to look outdated which can hurt your SEO.

 

How To Set Your Blog’s Permalink Structure

Just go to Settings –> Permalinks.

 

 

Changing permalinks is not recommended unless they’re really ugly, like this one…

example.com/?p=id-5363843

If you do ever change a permalink, you’ll want to setup a 301 redirect to direct visitors and search engines to the new permalink. I use the Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin which is very easy to use. Once installed, go to Redirect Options –> Quick Redirects. Now follow the “request” and “destination” examples below:

301 redirect wordpress

 

 

If you have the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin installed, there is a section where you can edit more permalink settings. Here’s what I recommend:

Yoast permalink settings

Have questions about this? I explain this more in my Yoast tutorial’s permalink section.

 

 

6. WWW vs Non-WWW

Do you want your website to show up as www.website.com or website.com? I prefer without the www but it’s also a preference and does not affect SEO. You can switch anytime, just make sure your preferred domain in WordPress is the same as it is in Google Webmaster Tools. Here’s how to do that…

  • In WordPress, go to Settings –> General
  • In Google Webmaster Tools, go to Gear Icon –> Site Settings –> Preferred Domain

Finally, redirect the one you’re not using to the one you are using.

Cheers,

Tom signature

 

 

4 thoughts on “WordPress Permalink Settings: How To Setup Your Link Structure For Better SEO”

  1. After reading your post, my conclusion is this; I believe that the permalink structure doesn’t really matter to Google or any other search engine as far as display or indexing issues go. However, I believe the problem may lie in causing confusion to them about site functionality. For example, if a website site publishes news, I believe it should use a permalink structure like this: /%year% /%monthnum%/%day%/ and possibly with the time too but if you’re publishing content that will never expire, you should simply use: /%postname%.

    I have recently been re-working one of my blogs here: https://newapk.net that I originally started with Blogger but eventually migrated to WordPress. When I migrated to WordPress, I kept the same Permalink structure originally created by Blogger and have been wondering heavily here recently about whether I should change it or not. Your post here has help me make up my mind to just leave them as they are.

    Thank you for the time you spent researching this information and putting this post together. I’m sure it will benefit a lot of others just as it has me.

    Reply
  2. A very useful guide! I found everything I needed to know about Permalinks and many many things I didn’t know about. Thanks again!

    Reply
  3. Good article! Glad I found what I’ve been looking for about Permalink Structure For Pages. This article is very informative.

    Reply

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