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A permalink, as technical as it may sound, is simply a fancy word for a web address (or URL). What is a permalink? read our guide to find out in detail.
It is a combination of the words “permanent” and “link,” as it is intended to be a static web address.
Permalinks are made up of two parts: the domain (for example, www.yoursitename.com) and the slug (for example, /contact/). When you create WordPress pages and posts, you will create unique permalinks for each page and post.
Permalinks have been used since the beginning of blogging. The idea is to provide a link that can be easily bookmarked, shared, and linked to.
You can send people directly to a permalink without first taking them to the site’s homepage. Permalinks are also simple to share on social media, where they are frequently used in conjunction with shortened URLs.
An example of a permalink on a WordPress blog post. When you edit the article, you can change the URL.
Characteristics of Permalink
Let’s begin with a brief overview of URLs.
Every page published on the internet has its own Uniform Resource Locator, also known as a URL.
The URL is the address of a page and is expected to remain constant as long as the page is published on the internet. As a result, it is also known as the permalink.
A website’s permalink structure is a term that describes how the permalinks of each and every page will appear.
Don’t worry if this is confusing you right now; keep reading and you’ll understand what the relationship between permalinks and permalink structure is and how it affects your SEO in a few minutes.
This is an example of a permalink: https://www.example.com/seo-strategy
A permalink consists of two parts:
- The website domain
- The page slug
The protocol, i.e.
HTTP:// and or
www, can also be included in the website domain.
The domain slash (/) is followed by the page slug.
A permalink can be up to 2083 characters long, but in general, the shorter the better.
So why do permalinks matter?
Permalinks help readers and search engines like Google understand what your page or post is about. As a result, your page or post is more likely to appear in relevant search results, and readers are more likely to click on it if it appears in search results.
That is, assuming it appears to be a good match for the type of information they seek.
A blog’s permalink style should be consistent across all posts. Different blog platforms use various permalink styles. Blog permalinks are usually made up of a few words separated by dashes.
As shown in the example above, some blog platforms generate permalinks that include a date followed by words from the post’s headline. Other platforms may employ a distinct number that appears before or after the dashed words. Some platforms allow you to change the style.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Tumblr permalinks contain a number as well as words from the headline.
- Permalinks on Blogger include the year (numeric), month (numeric), and words from the headline.
- Permalinks in Squarespace include the numeric year, month, and day, as well as words from the headline.
- Permalinks on Livejournal are in the NUMBER.html format.
A permalink’s words are sometimes referred to as a slug. Some blogging platforms use the slug to identify a unique entry. The words in the URL slug are typically descriptive keywords that make the URL easier for search engines and users to read.
The words in the permalink usually give away what the topic of a blog post will be. Most blogging platforms will generate a slug for you, but some will allow you to customize the slug for a specific post.
Permalink Best Practices
Use keywords that are relevant to your business website or article when creating your permalinks. “How to Make a Small Business Website in 5 Simple Steps” is a good example. FitsmallBusiness.com/small-business-website/ is a good permalink for this type of site.
First, your URL should be shorter than 80 characters, which is roughly Google’s limit for the maximum length of a search result. If the article is about a specific topic, the title should contain two to four keywords that are relevant.
This makes it easy to remember and tells potential visitors and search engines what the article is about, increasing your chances of ranking well in search results and attracting more visitors.
How to Make Permalinks That Are SEO Friendly
All of the qualities of an SEO-friendly URL should be present in a permalink. The following are the best practices:
It should begin with HTTPS – this indicates that the webpage is safe, implying that all data sent between the web browser and the webserver is encrypted.
It should be brief and descriptive – A permalink should be short and descriptive, containing no extraneous information while still describing what a page is about.
Because a permalink is frequently displayed on search engine result pages (SERPS), it is critical that it be significant.
It must include SEO keywords, which are search phrases entered into a search engine’s search box.
By putting such terms in your permalinks, you’re giving search engines a strong hint about a page’s content, increasing your chances of ranking well for those keywords.
It also gives users a good idea of what to expect when they visit a specific page.
Dashes should be used to separate words in permalinks – Any words that make up a permalink should be separated by ‘-‘ rather than any other characters.
Permalinks are lowercase – All letters in a permalink should be lowercase to avoid any difficulties. Because certain web servers treat uppercase characters differently, this is the situation.
Stop words should not be used – These are popular words that provide no value or aid in understanding the page’s actual content.
Words like “a,” “the,” “on,” “and,” “is,” “of,” “you,” and others fall into this category.
Permalinks in WordPress
In addition to being one of the most popular content management systems (CMS), WordPress was also the first platform to use the term “permalink”
‘Permalinks Settings’ can be found under SETTINGS.
If you want to set up the URL structure of your posts, WordPress gives you a number of choices. Post Name is the best setting.
Your permalinks will not contain any unnecessary information with ‘Post Name’. A page is published when you type the title of the page and separate it with a dash ‘-‘.
How to change the permalink without losing SEO?
Although the purpose of a permalink is to be permanent, there are some legitimate reasons why you might want to change it.
You may decide to shorten your URLs by removing date information during an SEO audit.
It’s important to notify search engines of URL changes so that they can update their indexes.
If you make the change without notifying them, they will treat it as if it were a new page. This means that any backlinks pointing to the page will be lost, and any users who bookmarked the page will receive a 404 error because the page’s address has changed.
To avoid these problems and keep your SEO rankings, add a 301 redirection to yours. htaccess file to notify search engine crawlers of the change.
Examples of Bad Permalinks
Every blog or website platform has a built-in method for configuring permalinks. If you don’t specifically change the permalink, it will look like this:
- Failure to adequately describe the page or post: https://yoursitename.com/?p=234
- It appears sloppy and can grow to be quite long: https://yoursitename.com/blog/2018/4/18/grocery-website/
- There are too many characters: https://yoursitename/how-to-make-a-grocery-store-online-in-5-steps/
None of these is particularly appropriate for professional use. The first is difficult to remember because it uses a page number as an identifier. It also lacks keywords, which will make it difficult to rank in search engines.
The publish date is included in the URL in the second example. This can become tedious and is also bad practice if you decide to update your articles at a later date. The URL will be incorrect, or you can change it and risk broken links.
Tip: Because search engines do not read generic words such as “is,” “to,” or “in,” they essentially waste permalink space. Instead, limit the permalink to three to four of the most descriptive keywords. You’ll save space while still reaping the benefits of SEO.
Last but not least, a word of caution.
Choose your permalink structure carefully. Don’t change this structure just for the sake of changing it. Incorrectly redirecting your old URLs to the new URLs may cause issues and cause you to be dropped from the rankings.
Before you launch your site, please consider your permalink structure. If you need to change your permalink structure, you can find more information on how to do so on Google’s page on moving your site.
You can safely alter the page’s permalink, but you’ll need to add a 301 redirection to keep your SEO rankings. This will allow search engines and people to navigate to the new address without getting a NOT FOUND (404) error message.