Do you know that the permalink structure of your posts and pages decides your total on page SEO effort?
For those who are new to wordpress, Permalinks are the permanent link structure of your posts. Whenever you write any article or publish any new product on your e-commerce site, there has to be a link to access it. So a unique link structure is assigned to every individual post, page, category, tag, product, etc. You can read more about it on the official site. Using Permalinks
New blogger and webmasters usually don’t give any attention to permalinks and leave them in their default state. And after regular use and after writing hundreds of article they realize their mistake, but then it’s too late.
In this post, I will show you the best wordpress permalink structure for SEO. If you are an experienced user of WordPress, then you must be knowing that you can easily create dozens of link structure variations. But again there’s a big problem, not all of them are search engine friendly and good for your website’s speed.
If you really want to see or let’s say if you want to improve your on page effort, then you must use the %post% structure. ( In wordpress 3.5 plus updates its the default link style, but it is not good if you have highly trafficked website ). Why the reason is discussed below.
Table Of Contents
For all novice users if you want to change your link structure then please kindly follow the steps I have listed below.
- Move to your dashboard.
- Then put your cursor on Settings
- From the fly over menu select the Permalinks.
You will see six different types of options available. And each of them is completely different from others. Remember that you have a huge possibility to get your own custom link using ” Custom Structure ”
Considering The Structures
So here we are going to put our hands on different sets and forms of links, and we will examine them, so we can find the best one. Make sure you perform the tests on the trial site. And please make sure you follow them.
- Your link should contain your targeted keyword
- Your title should have your keyword
- Your content should have your mainly targeted phrase ( LSI, Long Tail and synonyms )
There are six different types of link structure supported by wordpress. The default one is only ugly, and it is always recommended to change it.
?p=123: Its the default permalink structure in wordpress with the query string. Google and Yahoo suggest removing query string from links because many cache plugin and even CDN services don’t cache these type of pages.
But we don’t regularly update our old posts and these type of link structures doesn’t even have keywords in them. They seems to be useless and meaning less. So never use this type of permalink structure for your website.
Remember that your link reflects your content. As I already told you, if your sitelink doesn’t have keywords in it, then how you can think to rank in that niche. So completely not suitable.
/archives/%post_id% : Again these types of links won’t contain any text in them. And since the data are retrieved directly from the archive pages, so it means the page load time will be more.
[box style=”alert”]Anyone who wishes to be involved with Google news must have at least three numbers in their URL (that’s from Google). So /%year%/ is best for you.[/box]
Similarly, other WordPress custom permalink structures are not suitable too ( only regarding SEO and except one ). Check out two simple reasons:
1st reason is that these strings increase the presence of the extra text in front of your main title. So search engine robots before moving to your main title will have to face those contents first.
2nd reason is that there is a limit of 70 words. Google and Bing ( and might be Yahoo ) all of them loves short titles and links. If you add non-useful characters like stop words into your link, then they don’t do any benefit ( nor any harm ), but it’s always suggested to keep the URL as short and clean as possible.
Now you might be using %category%/%post% ( it has been discussed below ). If you think your permalink is right and SEO friendly, then I will still say nooo. Why inorder to know please check out the post by Otto ( the wordpress ninja programmer ). Category Is Harmful
Now Regarding The Speed
If you own any eCommerce website, online business or significantly involved community-based blog, then you must take page load time into consideration as it can affect your reader’s user experience, can impact your conversion rate and finally sales. So coming back to the point, if you primary consideration is page load time, then you must use /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/ as link structure for your website.
The reason is : The string contains the date stamp. So whenever any search query is made, PHP instead of searching the whole of the database, will only check out tables with the same date stamps. ( year, month, days ). The same goes with Category and archive contained links.
So for better performance you should never include the category or tags before the post name. Because they are text fields and adding them before the post name in permalinks will make wordpress sluggish. Now wordpress will take more time in distinguishing between the post and pages, since there is no variable and so the search query will check your complete database.
With Other String: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/
Using Only Post Type :
I think images speaks 1000 words, but over here these images are expressing the whole topic. I wish you got what I meant to speak out..
So from the above information, we come to conclusion that /%postname%/ is the best, but worst when pageload time is considered ( but it can be overcomes using better CDN and Hosting )
- You link should not be more than 70 words, so its better to use your post name string
- You can add the post id after the post name: /%postname%/%post_id%
- Never use category slug: /%category%/%postname%: reason already provided above
- Don’t add your site name in the permalink
- Add your site name to the titles: Good for branding
Stick With What You Have
Now after reading this article, you would want to change your settings. But I will say, leave it. If you own a well-established blog with hundreds of quality contents on it, then leave it. Since once you change your permalinks, all those links which are indexed on Google and for which you have build lots of backlinks will give 404 error. This will drastically affect your SEO.
But there is one way, you can use the canonical url. This will create a permanent 301 redirect to the same post even after changing the link. For this purpose you can use SEO plugin by yoast.
So which one will you prefer?