WordPress SEO – Permalinks Options and Structure

A great way to increase your blog’s search engine friendliness is to customize your permalink structure. This is extremely simple to do and ideally should be done as soon as you set up your blog, before people start linking to it. However, the good news is that the old “ugly” links will still work (and they are shorter, which can be better for emailing).

In your WP Admin, click Settings > Permalinks

Click the “Custom Structure” radio button

Copy & paste this code into the box to the right to show the year, category name, and post name in the Permalink (this is probably the most popular link structure):

/%year%/%category%/%postname%/

Note that it is a good idea to START your permalink structure with a numeric value to avoid database problems, and END it with the post name (or I.D.) to make sure that it points to a unique post. The WordPress documentation on this topic can be found here.

The full list of “tokens” that can be used is:

%year% – The year of the post, four digits, for example 2004

%monthnum% – Month of the year, for example 05

%day% – Day of the month, for example 28

%hour% – Hour of the day, for example 15

%minute% – Minute of the hour, for example 43

%second% – Second of the minute, for example 33

%postname% – A sanitized version of the title of the post (post slug field on Edit Post/Page panel). So “This Is A Great Post!” becomes this-is-a-great-post in the permalink URL

%post_id% – The unique ID # of the post, for example 423

%category% – A sanitized version of the category name (category slug field on New/Edit Category panel). Nested sub-categories appear as nested directories in the URI.

%tag% – A sanitized version of the tag name (tag slug field on New/Edit Tag panel).

%author% – A sanitized version of the author name.

In the category base box, enter a simple word like categories or topics. This will alter your category links to include the word you entered as well as the category name.

Likewise, enter a simple word like tags into the tag base box.

Click “Save Changes”

You’re done!

A couple of nice side effects of doing this are that your page links will also be modified to include the page name, and when editing your posts you will now have a button that will allow you to enter any words you like into your permalink for that post. Note that if you change a post’s title, the permalink will continue to show the old title unless you edit it as well.

Amazing, and amazingly simple!

This article copyright © John Nasta 2009 – All Rights Reserved
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