When designing your website, all aspects of its creation have to be taken into mind. From the design, layout, content, lead generation, right down to the sometimes neglected url string each page is using. Not only is this important tool for the user to get an idea what each page is talking about, its also highly beneficial for search engine indexing and the SEO strategy of your website. In WordPress, we have the option of using three different permalink structures found in your blogs WordPress setup. So what is the best permalink structure to use on your website to make sure it is optimized fully for your audience?
What is a permalink in WordPress?
Permalinks are the permanent URL’s that point to your individual blog pages, blog posts and categories within your website.
Why should I care about the permalink structure?
People enter these permalinks into browser address bars to view one of your website pages. Search engines and other websites also use permalinks to link to your website. So they are pretty important avenues of website user engagement.
The 3 permalink structures in WordPress
1 – Ugly permalinks
These dirty little URL’s are what shows up as a default permalink when setting up your WordPress website. They simply show the query string identifying the relevant post ID. Example: http://www.example.com/?p=138. A format that is commonly used when people are not familiar with setting up the finer adjustments in the WordPress administration panel or unaware of how they impact SEO, social media and overall user interaction with the URL. This format it not readable to humans. It conveys no meaning, and just plain does not look good when viewed in website search results and social media posts.
2 – Almost pretty permalinks
This type of link is common amongst websites running on WordPress today. They include identifiers relating to a post – most commonly used as a date range. Example: http://www.example.com/yyyy/mm/dd/post-name/ A rather long URL, that will often get cut off in search results and social media posts.
3 – Pretty permalinks
This type of link is used by the majority of WordPress websitess. Its highly recommended, and uses a clean string of text that relates to the content of the webpage or blog post. Example: http://www.example.com/post-name/. It gets social media users excited since they know what the post is about and search engines index websites easier when using this format.
The best permalink structure for SEO and social media
The best permalink structure to use for SEO purposes and social media purposes is the “post name” structure. Example: http://www.example.com/sample-post-name. This structure allows for the ability to add in the keywords associated with your blog post or page, and cuts out all of the other clutter. Giving humans a better idea of what your page is about, and search engines a better way to index your page in their directories and of course, entices users more to click on a simple and straightforward link.
Social media and your permalink structure
Think about this for a minute. Which link would you rather click on in a social media post or Google search result:
Number two sure does give you an exact understanding of what the content on that page is all about! Not only for search engines, but for your end users.
More tips for creating your best permalink structure
For SEO purposes, keep your URL short, under 100 characters. Use keywords in the URL that speak to the content, use hyphens as separators and avoid using words like and, the, but, of…
Creating your custom permalink
Creating your custom best permalink structure involves going into your “Settings > Permalinks” panel. You can choose one of the common permalink structures or or you can enter in your custom structure using the custom structure field. Making sure you are doing your best when it comes to your SEO and social media, I recommend you use the “Post name” option – /%postname%/. This will enable you to change the url to match your keywords or a specific title as mentioned above, when you are writing your posts or page content.