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SEO 8 min read June 28, 2017

A Deep Dive Into WordPress Permalink Structure


Jason Daszkewicz
Senior WordPress Developer at WordSuccor Ltd
Most of you have heard of permalinks which we usually called "the pretty URLs". Yeah, they are pretty indeed. WordPress, as we know, is awesome in every way which gives us every power to modify everything on our website and that's not just the layout and design of the website. There is more to it. Search engine optimization and everything related to that can be modified with WordPress.
This brings us to the permalinks. WordPress makes it easy for us to make our website's permalinks SEO friendly. We are going to discuss that in this article later. Before going anywhere, I would like first to clear out some of the basics. It is important to understand the rudimentary facets of permalinks. So, let's get started with it.

Preliminary analysis of WordPress permalinks

I guess you have noticed that Permalinks are the merged word for Permanent Links (Neat, huh!). On the contrary, it is a link to your post which will not change until you delete it yourself. Well, that is the reason I said it has the literal meaning of permanent link. It looks like this:

http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=18

So, this is the permanent link I am talking about. This can be your permalink, just change "yourdomain" into your website address and "18" to your post ID. These permalinks are meant to be permanent as they point out a permanent content location which remains there until you delete the post permanently.

Just so you know, the home page will keep on changing as they meant to change every time whenever you update the content, the permalink tends to access the body of the content every time. Some of the CMSes just like MediaWiki, always use time stamp to make sure that the post is always linked to the original dated content.

Now just to be clear, suppose you have a website as www.laughingpanda.com and there is a post with post-ID 244148. So, your post's permalink will be like:

www.laughingpanda/?p=244148

Does it look like a user-readable link? Obviously not, unless your reader also knows everything about your posts database and I think that is kind of creepy right? So, In order to create a permalink "pretty," there are certain things you want to keep yourself aware of.
1
You can change the creepy permalink;
2
WordPress can help in the ways which are easy for you.

So, now you know you can change it. Let's understand the relevancy of the Permalink first and then I will give you an idea of how to change your post's permalink into an SEO/user-friendly permalink.

Why you need a permalink?

By now, you know that Permalinks are the permanent links that are connected to the specific content item. So, this gives us the liberty to use that permalink externally and internally without any fear of losing the content as long as the blog post or the website is alive. These permalinks are very important for link building as well.

Creating a search engine friendly permalink format

Now, I showed you how a default permalink structure looks like. What if I told you that you could enhance SEO by modifying your permalink according to the keywords? Oh, you must have heard it on the web on some random article about how to enhance your website's SEO. But, that was just the pointer as modify your permalink. I am going to tell you, fellas, how! So, allow me to explain.
As so you know, WordPress offers pretty permalinks which are SEO friendly. However, we know that post id does not use any keywords. I am going to provide you some structure tags which are offered by WordPress. This will help you to design your permalink accordingly. Let's have a look:

  • The Post Slug of your article — %postname%
  • The category of the post you assigned — %category%
  • The post ID of your article — %post_id%
  • The date of the article published — %day%
  • The month of the published article — %monthnum%
  • The year of the published article — %year%
  • The author of the article — %author%
Ok, now you get the structure, let's get you a format to use these structures to create an SEO friendly permalink for your post.

First, you need to decide how you want to structure it. Just a suggestion, you can try using article's slug to create the permalink followed by the date of the article being published. So, now your post's permalink can be like this,

www.yourdomain.com/your-title-of-the-post/

There are some of the best practices which are not just trending but widely being used and are also very effective. Let's have a look at it:
1
Post Name Structure
This structure is very famous and also recommended for the WordPress users. In this structure, you just need to mention the post's slug. So, if your WordPress website is www.yourdomain.com and your post slug is your-post-slug, then your permalink will be like this: www.yourdomain.com/your-post-slug/.

I hope you understand the way. This is recommended as you can use your keywords in your post's slug which will provide you an SEO-enhanced permalink for your post.
2
Category and Name Structure
This structure is used by many business users of WordPress website. This structure includes the category of your post and then the post name follows. If the category of your post is "Category" then the post's permalink will be like this: www.yourdomain.com/category/your-post-slug/. This is very effective in the SEO of your website as same as the above structure. This one just assures the inclusion of the category type to refine the SEO of your website.

Wrapping up

So, as you see the permalink structure of a website just not define its existence but it also provides your user an insight of your website content as well. With the structures I mentioned above, your website will gain SEO rankings and with user-friendly URLs, it also becomes easy for a user to access your website.

So, how you like my views on permalinks? I hope you like this article. Please do share the feedbacks or if you have any questions or you want to share some of your permalinks practices, you can mention it in the comments. I do love feedbacks from which I can learn few things.
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