Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in driving traffic to your website. One important aspect of SEO that is often overlooked is the optimization of permalinks. Permalinks are the permanent URLs that point to your website's content. By optimizing your permalinks, you can make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website, improving your overall SEO performance.
In this article, we will explore the steps you can take to optimize your WordPress permalinks for SEO, helping your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
WordPress permalinks are essentially the URLs that WordPress uses to identify and point to your website's content. They are often made up of a combination of your website's domain name, page or post title, and other variables.
By default, WordPress permalinks are set up like this:
This can be confusing for both search engines and human visitors. It doesn't provide any indication of what the content is about and doesn't follow any naming conventions that search engines use to index and rank pages.
Fortunately, WordPress comes with several options for customizing your permalinks. To access these options, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Settings → Permalinks.
The first thing you should do is choose a permalink structure that is both user-friendly and optimized for SEO. WordPress offers several options for permalink structures, including:
The most common and recommended permalink structure for SEO is the post name option. This is because it provides a clear and concise indication of what the content is about, making it easier for search engines and human visitors to understand what the page is about. To choose this option, select "Post name" and click "Save Changes."
In addition to choosing a user-friendly permalink structure, it's important to include keywords in your permalinks. Keywords are the words or phrases that people use to search for information online. By including them in your permalinks, you're telling search engines that your page is relevant to those keywords.
When creating permalinks for your WordPress pages and posts, try to include the primary keyword or key phrase in the URL. If possible, include it towards the beginning of the URL for maximum impact.
For example, if you're writing an article about "how to fly a plane," a good permalink structure would be:
This URL structure clearly and concisely communicates to both search engines and human visitors what the page is about.
Stop words are common words like "a," "an," "the," "in," "on," etc., that are used to connect other words in a sentence. These are often ignored by search engines and including them in your permalinks can make them longer and less optimized for SEO.
It's generally best to avoid including stop words in your permalinks, but if you must include them, try to keep them to a minimum and avoid using them at the beginning of the URL.
If you've already created content on your WordPress website, you may be wondering how you can update your permalinks to optimize them for SEO. Fortunately, WordPress makes it easy to update permalinks for existing pages and posts.
To update the permalink for an existing page or post, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Pages or Posts. Hover over the page or post you'd like to update and click "Edit."
In the editor, you'll see the permalink URL listed at the top of the page. Click the edit button to the right of the permalink to modify it.
You can then edit the URL to follow the guidelines we discussed earlier, including including keywords and avoiding stop words. Once you've updated the URL, click "Save" or "Update" to save the changes to the page or post.
Optimizing your WordPress permalinks for SEO is an important step in ensuring that your website is easily crawled and indexed by search engines. By choosing a user-friendly permalink structure, including keywords, and avoiding stop words, you can improve your website's overall SEO performance and help it rank higher in search engine results pages.