When you're browsing through a website, you must've noticed the URL in your browser’s address bar. This link that directs you to a particular page is the permalink for that page.
For a business website owner, it is crucial to understand permalinks and the ways they work. A permalink is a permanent link that you use to direct internet users to your website.
A permalink improves user experience, organizes your website, and helps for better SEO rankings. It can cause changes in web traffic.
This article gives you deep insight into permalinks and guides you through changing permalinks, setting them, and more for your website.
Table of Contents
- What is a Permalink?
- Why are Permalinks important?
- Why Should You Change Your Site's Permalink Structure?
- How to Change Permalinks in WordPress?
- How Can You Change the Existing URL Structure?
- Things to Remember
Permalink derives from the term ‘permanent' and ‘hyperlink.' You can understand it simply as a link that guides you to a specific website. It is permanent, as breaking it would break any existing link to the page.
Permalinks are descriptive. They tell you more about the specific page and what it contains. For example:
Permalinks bring changes to three major aspects, like Organizing website, Search Engine Optimization, and User experience.
Permalinks are excellent for organizing your content. Well-structured content can, in turn, result in better user experience as users can easily navigate through the website.
Organizing a website is also vital to provide high-quality UX for your site's visitors. Permalinks help users understand the structure of how content is organized in a website.
Let's get back to the example we used before:
This permalink helps users understand the title of the content. It also shows users that they will be navigating through the blog category to the content page.
Permalinks also manage the links that are placed throughout the headers and footers. Thus, it is necessary for managing interlinks within a website. It improves user experience, but it also helps search engine bots crawl through your content and rank them accordingly.
Search Engine Optimization
The URL structure of your website, each page and post can have a major impact on your search engine rankings. Using appropriate keywords in your links can give users an idea of what they’re about to read.
Here, the URL includes the title of your post. However, it does not target the audience as effectively as it should. Instead, you can use :
Emphasize keywords in your permalink and ways of increasing its effectiveness. Make sure to use hyphens between words in the URL; this is a standard practice helpful for search engines and humans.
Permalinks are influential. They influence users' experience of your website, just like a brand name, permalink influences how a user perceives your site.
A well researched, targeted, and clean URL structure reflects professionalism rather than a random string of letters, symbols, and numbers. Likewise, consistency across all your links through the website reflects positively on your brand. It gives users assurance of being on the site and protects them from cybersecurity threats.
Changing the site's permalink structure is usually the initial step in setting up a website. As permanent, it is a tedious process to change permalinks for an existing website.
By default, the WordPress website comes with a URL that looks something like:
Here, the first part of the URL includes the domain name, second consists of the date of the post, and the last section consists of the title of the content. There might be many instances where this particular format might not be very effective. For such cases, WordPress offers other format options for arranging your permalink.
In the WordPress dashboard, go to settings and permalink. Here, you'll see other options for permalink formats. You can choose any of the formats and start creating a permalink. However, your choice of format may or may not be available.
Fortunately, there is an added option for creating custom permalinks. Here's how you can do that.
You can create custom permalinks in two ways in WordPress. One allows you to change the URL structure of your website, while the other makes changes on post or page URLs.
To make changes to your website's URL structure, head on to Settings from your WordPress dashboard. Select Permalinks. Select the radio button next to Custom Structure. You will find Available Tags there, which you can select as per your need and create your URL structure.
If you want to change the URL slugs of a page or a post, that's very easy.
For Classic Editor, open the page or post editor in the WordPress dashboard. There you will see its Permalink below the Title field. Click on Edit, and you can change it to whatever you like.
In case you're using the Block Editor, you will find the Permalink section in the document tab.
Though you can change the URL structure of a page or a post, it is suggested not to do so, once the content is published. Changing URL structure can harm the existing SEO ranking and create a hassle.
How Can You Change the Existing URL Structure?
There are cases when you have to change the existing URL of a website for some reason. It can be either for branding, technical error, or some other reasons.
In such cases, it is not the best choice to change the existing URL structure, but you can surely use the URL redirection technique.
As the name suggests, URL redirection helps users by redirecting any attempts to locate an old URL to the new page address. There are various WordPress plugins available for URL redirection. These plugins ensure that no traffic is lost due to broken links.
Things to Remember
Parent/child pages can also impact the URL structure. These pages follow a particular hierarchy, in which child pages have an additional element to the URL structure, which looks like:
This type of structure, known as breadcrumbs, is beneficial for users. It helps users understand their position on the website. Not just users, it helps search engine bots navigate through the site quickly too.
Whether you're just starting or having a website already, you will come to a point where you need to deal with permalinks for your WordPress website. We hope this article can come to your rescue during that time.
It includes everything about permalinks from its definition to its use, purpose, how-to guides, and things to remember. Finish the article and try if it works for you. Let us know about your experience.