Permalink is coined from permanent milk and it basically is the full URL available in your website. It’s called a permanent link because that’s what it is: a permanent link that stays for a lifetime. The simpler your permalink is, the easier for people to remember!
Permalinks and SEO
A permalink houses various parts that allow the browser to know which page to navigate and display on the screen of the user. Basically, there are 5 important parts, and let’s use:
The protocol is the part of the website’s URL that tells the web browser to transfer data over the internet. The protocol is HTTP/HTTPS and is always the first part of the URL. To make it clearer, HTTP protocol while HTTPS is the protected variant.
The domain comes after the protocol and this is where your site is navigated to and becomes active. There are times when the port is displayed but it usually is removed science it just poses a redundancy with the protocol.
File name or post name
This is the place within the website where the user is presently in such as a blog post or a product page. Take note that this is where crawlers go.
A set of parameters
This is technically a communication between your website and a search engine. For example, use a robot.txt or canonical tags for your SEO, this is where this communication occurs.
The anchor link
The anchor is a shortcut that lets a user jump to a certain section in your website upon landing. You have the choice to decide on every element you put into your website and that is where the magic of optimizing permanent links starts.
There are different formats permanent links can take and your WordPress dashboard can show you the different choices:
Is it necessary to have all these options? Well, it’s worth noting that Google takes into account your site’s URLs when ranking. Your URL should represent your website’s content. This matters to the Google algorithm.
A lot of people customize their links and it happens to be a way to let Google crawlers know that your site is relevant and reliable. You can definitely utilize your URLs to your advantage and here are some tops to help you boost your SEO via your URL:
Keep a consistent structure
In choosing a URL structure, think of it like website architecture. One way to look into it is that you have to build your site with the goal of having users get and find everything they need to. The same goes with your URL structure. Additionally, if your permalink and your website has the same format, it will be easier for the search engines and the viewers to navigate your website easier.
Use URL rich with keywords
Now, include keywords in your URLs to help your SEO boost. You have to find a consistent and good keyword strategy to do this tip effectively.
The shorter, the better
Most URLs ranked number one in different queries are 59 characters long only. Apparently, a short URL and a short title give you a better ranking. We highly recommend this!
A www. or a .com isn’t required
While we see most websites having these, they are not as necessary as you think. A study even revealed that websites with a .com were subjected to a stiffer time ranking than other extensions. Thus, if you have the means, it’s best to use .com as your extension.
Now, let’s move to “www.” This is all up to you if you want to use this or not, just ensure consistency across your board. You just have to choose the website settings option found on your dashboard and finalize your preferred domain, either with or without www.
But as discussed, the shorter the better! So, removing the “www” extension will keep your URL shorter.
Prevent from using dates in your URL
Adding dates in URLs can sharply decrease your organic traffic. Dates are never really helpful and most SEOs agree. But if you really do want a date in your URL, just make sure to update your content regularly to keep the relevance and freshness.
If you’re a news site, use schema structured data if you want to provide a date of creation instead of adding it to the URL.
Take stop words out of your permalink
Examples of stop words:
Stop words are just wasteful since search engines do not really understand them and you can use this space for keywords instead.
HTTPS is a protocol that utilizes SSL certificates to provide users with peace of mind when sharing classified data on a website. It’s a crucial SEO signal that’s vital to your permanent link. Recent updates have somehow made HTTPS more important for online brands and their SEOs.
Using HTTPS on your website reduces the red pop-ups in the URL bar that signals users about possible security issues. Since these alerts can hurt your SEO, consider using HTTPS to prevent this from happening. You can use a sophisticated system of verifications and checks to spread SSL certificates, such as Encrypt.
Permalinks should be done right the first time
While you can definitely alter your permalinks’ structure, it can hurt your website and your SERP placements. Thus, do it right the first time!
Don’t use CMS slugs
CMS like WordPress creates a long slug for you by default. You can remove everything else and just leave the keywords in. For example, here’s a full WordPress slug: 11-best-tips-for-creating-lead-magnets-that-build-your-list-fast. Once you remove unnecessary parts, you’re left with a concise “Creating lead magnets.”
What if you can’t change your URL structure?
While it’s tricky to change the structure of your URL without hurting your SEO, there are still some ways you can hopefully change it without losing the organic ranking.
- Ensure that you’re 100% sure with the new structure
- Apply the needed changes in WordPress
- Create 301 redirects to secure old content and to ensure that all are redirected to the correct URL. 301 redirects don’t lose page rank.
- Add your old permalink or target URL with Pretty Link and then change it to the new Pretty Links version.
Then, once the URL structure is changed, it’s time to address other SEO matters to help keep or even climb the rankings.
Editing a WordPress permalink
Thankfully, WordPress actually has a feature that lets you edit the permalink of your posts and pages. To do so:
- Go to your dashboard.
- Hit “Edit” next to the permalink.
- Change the text and include your post title, SEO keywords, and other useful information.
Now, we have broken down the importance of your permalinks and how it can affect your ranking and organic traffic. It won’t hurt utilizing these tips and who knows? You might see some positive changes in your website’s information. Good luck!