How Permalinks Affect SEO
So, what’s a permalink? The short and simple answer: A permalink is the direct url to a specific post on your website or blog. This is different from your main url (http://www.chantillypatino.com/).
- Post Numeral Order (WP default): http://www.chantillypatino.com/?p=187
- Post Name: http://www.chantillypatino.com/whats-a-permalink
- Date/Post Title: http://www.chantillypatino.com/2011/08/16/whats-a-permalink
- Category/Post Title: http://www.chantillypatino.com/blogging/whats-a-permalink
So the question is, which format will drive more search engine traffic to my blog?
The obvious answer is, the one contains more relevant keywords or phrases, and less filler or stop words.
When Google and other search engines crawl content on the web, they also crawl your urls to search for keywords. Because of this practice, having “pretty” or keyword rich urls without stop words is essential. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for individuals to add categories, tags or popular keywords to their urls, instead of options that include dates or excessive stop words.
If you’re interested in doing the same, you can do a bit of research while your online by paying attention to the urls at the sites that you visit and how they structure their permalinks.
Best permalink structure for SEO
If you want the quick and easy answer though, most experts will tell you that the post name structure, using your keyword phrase, is the most successful.
Post Name structure, using target keywords or keyphrase: http://www.chantillypatino.com/how-permalinks-affect-seo
Since we want our urls to be optimized, it helps to remove any stop words from our urls. Words like “and”, “the”, “is” and “it” only serve to slow the crawling process and could be removed unless they’re a part of the search terms, with the exception of stop words that are included in your keyword phrase.
For example, if you’ve done some research with Google’s Keyword Planner and you’ve discovered that people are searching the phrase, “How to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey”, you’d more than likely want to use this phrase as the title for your post and for your url. Leaving the stop words in can actually help in a case like this, because the phrase as a whole is a popular search term.
Tens of thousands of people are searching for these specific terms and you have the exact wording, which helps your post to get a higher rank in that particular search…so why not take advantage?
Getting specific with your post titles and urls by researching popular searches on Google can bring you a lot of extra traffic too.
How to change your permalink settings in WordPress
To change your permalinks in WordPress: Go to > Settings > Permalinks
If you’re concerned about breaking links in to your site or lowering your Google page rank, this plugin is a must: “Dean’s Permalinks Migration“. Otherwise, you’ll find that when you change your links manually, you’ll lose your social share counts and maybe some of your traffic.
Do you use affiliate links? Add pretty urls to your website with the Pretty Link Lite plugin.
I hope this brief tutorial sheds some light on the topic and if you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or bring them to our Blogging Forum. :)