To optimize permalink structure is one of the vital activities when we talk about SEO techniques. The permalinks should be friendly to both search engines and users. Search engines use two main components to determine where to index your page – post article’s title and permalink. So, If you want your blog posts to have better chance to rank in the search results, then you need to focus on how to optimize permalink structure.
I hope you are familiar with permalink structure. If not, a permalink is a permanent link to your page and posts. It is a permanent reference URL (Uniform Resource Locator) used to access the posts. Search engines will use permalinks to identify your post, page or article. Therefore, permalinks should be unique.
If you have been using WordPress, you might have noticed that WordPress offers default permalinks like this –
But is this type of permalink friendly for search engines and users? The answer is NO. Mostly, new bloggers make this mistake. Once they install WordPress, they start writing and publishing articles with this default permalink settings.
You can update permalinks setting by going to Settings -> Permalinks section, within the WordPress dashboard.
You will see different types of permalink structure that you can set. As you can see, I have selected ‘Post Name’. I find it clean and meaningful approach to optimize permalink structure. Some might suggest using any other permalink structure, but I personally do not prefer others. I think using ‘Day and name’ OR ‘month and name’ is useless as it limits your possibility to update/publish your article later on with new updates. I try to write “timeless” blog posts that should stay relevant for a longer period of time. The date is any way displayed in blog articles and sometimes even in search snippets.
Tips to Optimize Permalink Structure Of Your Blog
Now, you are familiar with what is permalink structure. Now, I am sharing few more tips on how you can optimize permalink structure of your blog.
- Keep Permalink Short
The one of the main reasons why I prefer using ‘Post Name’ as permalink structure is: it helps to keep permalink short yet meaningful. It is completely normal to keep your permalink to three to five words. Neither users like long permalinks, nor our search engines.
If you would have noticed, permalink of this blog is – http://catchupdates.com/how-optimize-permalink-structure. Since I am using ‘Post Name’ as permalink so it should be http://catchupdates.com/how-to-optimize-permalink-structure-of-your -blog but I have shortened it to this avoiding unnecessary and stop words.
- Use Your Targeted Keywords In Your Permalink
This is a good way to optimize permalink structure. Always remember to use your targeted keyword in your permalink. It helps you to rank higher for that keyword in SERPs. Now, since I have mentioned keeping permalink short, so use your keywords wisely in your permalink. Also, it ensures the users that content on your page will be targeted to the keywords that they have searched in search engines. So, I mentioned not to use default setting (as permalink looks meaningless) and ‘day and name’ or ‘month and name’ (which makes permalink long). So always remember the shorter and meaningful your permalink, the better.
- Do not Make Too Hierarchy and Sub Folders In Permalink
There may come a time when you need to use subfolders or hierarchy based on categories or custom post types. It can be beneficial, but keep in mind to have permalink as short as possible. So, do not use any unnecessary folders or other lengthy naming structures in your permalinks.
- Avoid Duplicate Values In Your Permalink
The other important factor to optimize permalink structure is to avoid duplicate values in your permalinks. Search engines identify and index your content pages based on your permalink. If you have any duplicate values in your URLs, search engines will treat those words as duplicates. So use values just once in your URL.
- Use Hyphens Instead of Underscores In Your Permalinks
Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores ( _ ) in your permalinks. Search engines treat hyphens as spaces between words and underscores as additional parts of words. Here’s Matt Cutts (Ex Head of Google Search team) views:
- Do Not Include Stop Words In Your Permalinks
You should prefer not to use any stop words such as – is, are, for, to, in your permalinks. It does not add value to your URL strategy just make your URLs long. So avoid using them.
Also Read: Off Page SEO techniques To Boost Your Blog
- Never Change Permalinks After Publishing
Once you have published your articles, never change them. It might cause in losing traffic. But if you still want to change your permalink (though I do not recommend), set up a 301 redirection from the old URL to the new URL using .htaccess
- Setting Up www & non-www Version Properly
You might have noticed some bloggers prefer to use www and some non-www. This is on their choice. But since search engine indices only allowing 66 characters in a permalink, I prefer non-www which helps me to keep permalinks short or make me use any useful word in place of www. But, If you choose the non-www version of domain structure, make sure the www version of your site is properly redirected to the non-www version to avoid a duplicate issue.
E.g. if you open http://www.catchupdates.com, it is successfully redirected to http://catchupdates.com.
I also recommend that you set your preferred domain from your Google Search Console or Google Webmaster Tool (GWT).
I would suggest choosing your permalink wisely. Keep above-mentioned points in mind. it will help you to optimize permalink structure of your blog. This will make your site more organized for users, web crawlers, and potential web developers. If you have any other points to optimize permalink structure, leave your comments in the below section.