A permalink is the url of the content you publish in WordPress. Permalinks are a very important part of your website because this is how search engines and websites will link to your content. You have the ability in WordPress to change the permalink structure of your content at anytime; however, changing it after the launch can cause some problems. For instance, any site that was linking to your page’s old permalink will now serve up a 404 error page instead: definitely not something you want to happen. In this article we’ll answer the question, which WordPress permalink structure is best?
WordPress Permalink Structure
You can find the WordPress permalink settings in the permalink settings area. Or you can type in (http://www.yoursite/wp-admin/options-permalink.php). Obviously WordPress defaults to using the “default” permalink structure. The permalink used in this structure includes where the content can be found in your database and what page it can be found on in your dashboard. This structure is not very user-friendly since it’s just a string of text that means little to the user. Choosing which WordPress permalink structure to use will be covered in the next few paragraphs.
Search Engine Friendly Structure
The default WordPress permalink structure is not very Search Engine friendly, but all the other permalink structures are. Permalinks that contain keywords help you to rank better in search results. If you use the custom approach, make sure it includes keywords. Once you change the permalink structure, WordPress should do the rest automatically. If it doesn’t for whatever reason you can try doing it manually.
Once you choose your permalink structure, you will see the custom structure field change with a new tag called a structure tag. There are 10 structure tags available to you:
- %postname% – The post slug of your post
- %post_id% – The unique ID of a post
- %category% – The category a post was assigned to
- %year% – The year the article was published
- %monthnum% – The month the article was published
- %day% – The day the article was published
These next four structure tags are rarely used:
- %hour% – The hour the article was published
- %minute% – The minute the article was published
- %second% – The second the article was published
- %author% – The author name
Make sure that each permalink structure is unique. If you choose the %monthnum% structure tag, then any posts you published in the same month would end up with the same url. Using the %post_id% or the %postname% tag will ensure that each url is unique.
Effective Permalink Structures
All these structure tags give you a lot of options, but which one is best both for search engines and your users? Well, the %postname% tag is used a lot by website owners due to it’s short memorable urls, however if you’re posting multiple times a day it could become hard to keep each url slug unique. Combining the %category% and %postname% tags will create a structured blog while still keeping the urls memorable. Many news organizations combine the year, month, day, and post name tags to keep everything unique.
So which one is the best? If you did a search for “Which WordPress permalink structure is the best for SEO”, you would come up with quite a few different suggestions. The answer is that there is no best structure. The three mentioned in the above paragraph are better than all the others, but that leaves you with a three way tie. There doesn’t seem to be an SEO benefit to using one of the three permalink structures over any other. The choice is made on personal preference.
We hope this helps you choose which WordPress permalink structure to use. Basically, just keep a few things in mind. Is this permalink user friendly? is it memorable? and finally does it contain my target keyword? That’s about all there is to it. Make sure that there are no shared urls among your content. Pick the permalink structure you want before you launch the site, if you change it later, it can result in error messages and a loss of traffic. Avoid using the default WordPress permalink structure and choose the best structure based on your content type.