You’ve freshly installed WordPress on your website and very new to it’s settings. The present version at the writing of this post is 3.3.1. There are so many settings for your WordPress installation and you can learn about each setting every day through google. Today, you’re going to learn about the permalink structure setting in WordPress. You can also know about the best seo permalink structure for your blog or website and how to redirect to it.
According to this Wikipedia link on permalink, permalink structure is nothing, but how your URL structure will be for every post on your WordPress. The following are some examples of permalink structure.
Before you learn, where to set or redefine your permalinks in WordPress, you need to know what is the default permalink structure. The default permalink is
?p=<postid>. This simply means that all your posts in your WordPress blog will have the following URL structure. http://www.domainname.com/?p=123 which is very ugly. But the best SEO permalink structure are below.
Now where to change the default permalink to the best custom seo permalink structure.
Go to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress Dashboard.
In WordPress 3.3.1 you’ll find some common settings to which you can change. The post name permalink structure is newly added in 3.3.1. The other permalink settings are related to date and numerals. Only if you’re using a news site, it makes sense to use time based permalink structure otherwise, it’s best to follow the above seo permalink structure.
In the above screen, you might have also noticed there is a custom structure to which you can change your permalinks. This is very useful if you want to set your permalink structure to a desired one. You can set to a category based or post based using this field. There are some custom tags or code for each custom permalink. For eg. simply placing /%postid%/%postname%/ in the custom structure will make all your blog URLs as http://www.domainname.com/123/yourpostname/ . You can search google or WordPress documentation guide for custom codes. By the way, /%postid%/%postname%/ is best for SEO as it is the fastest to load URLs. Previously, /%category%/%postname%/ were having performance problems in previous versions of WordPress, but were now resolved in 3.3.1
How to re-direct your permalinks to custom structure?
Now, the main problem arises. Once you’ve mentioned a new permalink structure, all the old URLs will fail. This is important if you’ve good Google rankings and your blog URLs may produce 404 errors. You can even check your WebMastertools for these errors.
So, now the solution is to re-direct the old urls to the new permalink structure. This can be done in two ways. Basically you can use the following two plugins.
This plugin is helpful for automatic redirection of your old URLs to the new permalink structure. If you remember your old permalink structure, just insert into the above box and click on Update options. This will automatically redirect all your old permalinks to the new ones.
This one is useful, if you’ve changed your permalink structure so many times and you’ve different URLs scattered all around the web or on google. Just paste the source url in the source URL box and give the latest url in Target URL box. This is a manual process and will redirect each post on a 301 redirect basis and save your 404 errors.
- Don’t try to change your permalinks too many times. It’s bad for SEO and also will effect your Google rankings. You may also have duplicate issues on Google.
- Also don’t use “LinkJuiceKeeper” type wordpress plugins which automatically redirect all 404 error pages to your homepage. This will conflict with the above 2 redirect plugins.
You can also use your .htaccess file and setup regular expressions to do the redirect which is more difficult. To attain the best seo permalink the above two plugins are helpful and are self-explanatory in their use.