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WordPress Wednesdays –> Understanding WordPress Permalinks

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What is the world is a Permalink?

Permalink is how a URL of a WordPress post and/or page appears to a visitor and search engines. By default your WordPress URL will have a bunch of numbers and will say something like “page ID = 32″ – which means nothing to a user or to a search engine.

These urls will stay this way until you change it, this should be one of the very first things you should do after installing your WordPress blog. This is because once you post your first page, search engines begin to index your blog based on the post URL and if you change it at a later date then you will lose your rankings and the old links will no longer work.

So let’s get started on how to edit your Permalink structure.

Editing Your Permalink Structure

1. Login to your WordPress dashboard and click on “Settings” then “Permalinks”.

2. On this screen you will see several options. You should choose “Custom Structure”.

In this box you have a few options based on how you structured your site…

/%postname%/

This structure will display the post name in the URL. This is a good standard if you are unsure what format to use. This is also good if your posts cannot be efficiently categorized well.

/%category%/%postname%/

This structure shows what category your post belongs to, then the title of the post. Here is an example.www.domain.com/shoes/womens-running-shoes

Here are some other structures that may be good for your specific blog

Year & Category: /%year%/%category%/%postname%/

Time sensitive data: /%year%/%day%/%hour%/%postname%/

Optimize author names: /%author%/%year%/%postname%/
Edit Your Post-Specific Slug

After you create your post, WordPress will automatically generate a “slug” for your post. Depending on the title of your post it could be very long and contain extraneous words that should be removed.

Before you push “Publish” on your blog post, you should edit the link to only have keywords. Remove words like “the”, “and”, “a”, “you”. This allows your links to be focused, short and search engine friendly.

The two factors to keep in mind when editing your post-specific slug

1 – Does it  make sense to your user?

2 – Does the permalink match the content of the site?

So, take a look at the new blog you are creating and set up your Permalink structure to what best fits your site. Then optimize your “slug” to not only be user friendly, but also search engine friendly.

Spending a little bit of time on this, can turn into some great organic search engine results!

P.S. We are guilty of not doing a good job of this ourselves, but will be sure to do better at it :-)

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