If you’re asking that question, you’re a step ahead of most! That means that you’ve already heard of Permalinks and understand that you ought to change them from the default configuration.
What are Permalinks?
Permalinks are just the permanent URLs to your website’s pages, posts, and content. If you receive an email from a friend with a link to an article, that link is the Permalink. The link won’t change; it’s a permanent link to that specific content – which is why they’re called Permalinks.
Why Should I Change Them?
Permalinks matter for both user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. From a usability standpoint, would you rather follow a link that looks like this: http://guavabox.com/services/hosting or one that looks like this: http://guavabox.com/?p=147/1234808241/atalskhem?
The answer is obvious, users are more likely to follow links when they have can see clues about the content on the next page. It’s not usually a deal breaker, but it builds trust and makes for a cleaner experience.
For SEO purposes, Permalinks settings are an even bigger deal. Search engines like Google and Bing learn nothing about a link by reading a string of random characters. The URL structure is weighted into the rankings, so having Permalinks that use your content’s keywords in a strategic, natural way is critical for your search engine results.
You can be punished for keyword stuffing or creating spammy URLs, but you want to make sure that your Permalinks settings dynamically create URLs that reflect the content and include relevant information. The best way to clean up your website links across the board is by changing your Permalinks settings via your WordPress Dashboard.
How Do I Change My WordPress Permalinks Settings?
- Log into your WordPress Dashboard at http://yoursitename.com/wp-admin.
- Navigate to Settings >> Permalinks on the left hand side of your screen.
- Choose a structure like Post name, something that will dynamically use your page titles, dates, or other relevant information to create Permalinks that tell users and search engines about the content on the page.
- Shorter is often helpful, so don’t use a long string of variables in creating a custom Permalinks structure.
- For 90% of the work I do, I simply use the Post name structure and manually adjust where necessary.
- Select Save Changes once you’ve selected your structure.
Once you’ve updated your settings, your WordPress pages and posts will dynamically update and that URL structure will be used for all future posts. Please be aware that you may be changing the Permalinks to content that you’ve already shared – if that’s the case, you may have to update your audience to let them know that the link has changed.
Let me know if you have any questions on Permalink configuration or any complications from changing your Permalinks.