The permalinks are addresses used by WordPress to distinct the content pages. The correct permalink structure is important for a number of reasons. First of all, search engines will use your website URLs for search results. Secondly, they should attract the potential visitors to click on your links.
In the last post I described what the WordPress permalinks are and how to edit them. Today, I would like to extend it and provide you with a list of 6 tips that you should consider before you start adjusting your permalinks.
Make your permalinks short and user-friendly
In the first place, you should keep your permalinks readable and short. It will not only boost your SEO score. The good URL address should also describe what is inside the content. Furthermore, the full permalink should not be longer than 100 characters. The shorter the URL is, the easier it should be to climb higher in Google.
Avoid “stop words”
Improve the permalink base and make it readable
Keep logical URL structure
As I have said before, you should make your permalinks as short as possible. Above all, as suggested by MOZ it is also good to insert the keywords to the URLs. You can do so, by tweaking the single permalinks or inserting the custom fields.
Add custom taxonomy terms slugs
https://example.com/genres/80s/heavy-metal/ (Custom taxonomy archive)
https://example.com/bands/ozzy-osbourne/ (Custom post type item)
https://example.com/bands/80s/heavy-metal/ (Custom taxonomy archive)
https://example.com/bands/80s/heavy-metal/ozzy-osbourne/ (Custom post type item)
Do not duplicate the keywords in WordPress URLs
There is no need to repeat the single keyword more than once. If your permalinks uses multi-level categories, you should also consider make their structure flatter.
Use hyphens rather than underscores and avoid special characters
Google in one of the articles published on their websites straightforwardly recommends to use hyphens instead of underscores. In other words, the hyphens are prefered over the underscores.
You should not only avoid the underscores, but also remember to use the hyphens to separate the words.
Although Google will be able to index your URL even if it contains spaces, commas, underscores & special characters. I would recommend to either remove them or replace with dashes or latin characters.
Avoid updating the URLs frequently
A few months ago, John Mueller, one of Google analysts answered on Twitter to a very interesting question. According to him it is better to keep the old URLs intact as long as it is possible rather than to change them & redirect to new address. It takes some time for Google to index all the URL changes.
Translate your permalinks
If your website is multilingual, you should translate the permalink bases. For instance, you can make your WooCommerce URLs use different format per language. It is not possible in “vanilla” version of WordPress.
Do not add .html extension to the end of URL
It is a common practice to add the .html, .html, .php or another suffix to the end of URL. Nevertheless, you do not need to add the extension endings to your new permalinks. It really does not matter for Google whether you use them or not.