A permalink is a “permanent hyperlink” to a specific page. It is a URL that is intended to remain valid or unchanged for a long time. When set correctly it allows both search engines and visitors to get an understanding of the topic of a post or page without looking at the content.
A permalink consists of the following parts:
- Data transfer protocol (for example, https://)
- Website domain
- Page slug – the path from the website domain to the page, which includes a chain of directories and subdirectories
Permalinks have a predetermined structure. By default, WordPress uses URLs that have date and post name in them. However, with dates, the URL can become too lengthy and after some time your content can look outdated, even if you regularly update it (this, of course, doesn’t apply if you have a news site).
By setting the right permalink structure you can improve your website ranking in search engines and gain more visitors. An SEO friendly permalink should:
- be short and descriptive (describe what the page is about without unnecessary information)
- include SEO keywords (search phrases users type in the search engine)
- be lowercase (some webservers interpret uppercase characters differently)
- be separated by dashes (will improve readability and prevent word merging)
- SEO friendly permalink: https://www.open4tech.com/change-wordpress-permalinks
- SEO non-friendly permalink: https://www.open4tech.com/2019/12/a/d/WP_PS.html
To change permalinks you need to go the Permalinks settings page in your WordPress admin area. There you can choose from the common settings provided or you can apply a custom URL structure by using combination of various tags like: %year%, %monthnum%, %day%, %hour%, %minute%, %second%, %post_id%, %postname%, %category%, %author% .
It is important to use URL redirection when changing permalinks to avoid losing website traffic due to a broken link, which can cause issues with search rankings. By adding a 301 redirection, the search engines and visitors can navigate to the new link without getting a “404 Not found” error message. You can do it by editing the .htaccess file found in the ROOT folder of your website. Add the following line to the end of the file and save it to your webserver:
Redirect 301 /this-permalink-should-be-changed https://www.open4tech.com/new-permalink
Note: It is not necessary to include the domain name for the “source” URL but you need to include the full permalink for the “target” URL.