Have you ever considered how a URL affects a website’s SEO? It turns out in fact that a URL’s structure is important to SEO and many WordPress users want to know what the best types of SEO permalink structures are made of.
Typically the default WordPress URL structure hasn’t been designed well for SEO but now things have improved. In addition, you can customize your permalinks in WordPress to become more SEO-friendly. Take a look at what makes up an SEO-friendly URL so that you can make sure yours is customized to being more search engine-friendly.
What makes a URL SEO-friendly?
The first thing you need to understand is what search engines are looking for so that you can understand how a URL becomes SEO-friendly. A URL that is SEO-friendly is one that has keywords that best explain the article in order to be easy for a search engine, and person, to read. This will help your article rank higher in search engines.
Since many of the default URLs will have what looks like a code, one that perhaps contains question marks, a series of numbers, and an equal sign, this is not readable by the search engine or humans. One that has been customized to contain keywords that were mentioned in the article, such as how-to-sell-your-home, is easy to read by everybody.
Fortunately, WordPress has updated their operations and now includes the name of the post into the URL for you so that you may not have to spend any time customizing. WordPress is now replacing the generic code that isn’t readable to the name of the article as the URL, making your WordPress more SEO-friendly.
Beginners still may want to understand the best structures for permalinks for sites that don’t automatically update the URL or in case customization is still desired. This was a necessary thing to learn in the past since WordPress wasn’t already updating URLs but as of WordPress 4.2, URLs on the site have become SEO friendly.
Understanding the settings page of permalinks
Your link on WordPress is referred to as Permalinks or permanent links. Permalink structure and URL structure are the same thing explained in two different terms. You can go to your WordPress admin area under the Permalinks settings page by clicking on settings and clicking on Permalinks. You’ll have options to have the URL changed to reflect the day with the name, to be a numeric URL, or to customize to your preference.
Choose to keep it plain if you want WordPress to keep it on their default URL structure, an unfriendly-SEO option. Go with the day and name option if you want the URL to show the post name while displaying when it was posted, although this is not the most SEO-friendly since dates become lengthy and the content may seem more outdated after some time. News publications still often choose the option where the date will be in the URL so that users can understand how recent a post was and have a better user experience.
The very best option for SEO is the post name option because it’s short, SEO-friendly, and great for small operations. Choose customized structure if you are a larger publication or understand how to personalize it with the proper URL structure and special tags.
The basics of customizing your URL structure with tags
If you’re up for the challenge of customizing your URL structure with tags, there are some things to understand when you go about this. You can use certain combinations to create your URL with tags such as %year% which will put the year of the post into your URL, %minute% if you want to display the minute of the hour, or %day% if you want to display the day of the month in the URL.
You can also use codes like %postname% to have the name of your post as your URL with dashes between each word, %author% to have your author name included, and %category% if you want the category name included.
Once you’ve customized your URLs with codes like these, be sure to save your changes and WordPress should automatically update the site’s .htaccess file with the new URL structure. Keep in mind that if you’ve had a site running for over 6 months, your permalink structure should remain intact because established sites that change their permalink structure will end up losing their current SEO ranking along with all of their social media share counts. The only exception to this would be if your established site is using the plain URL in which it needs to be updated for better changes at SEO anyways.
That is a look at the overall picture behind an SEO-friendly URL and how to update yours using WordPress.