A consistent URL structure can make your site more SEO-friendly, allowing you to attract more visitors from search engines. If your page permalinks are logically structured, your visitors will have an easier time finding their way through your site.
Without a doubt, the permalink structure should be evaluated as part of your SEO strategy. However, WordPress’ capability to modify URLs is clearly limited. In general, you may modify their structure for posts and pages, but not for custom post types and taxonomies.
This article explains how to change permalink in WordPress and what a permalink is. You will also learn the basics of the Permalink Manager and how to leverage the URL system functionality that comes standard with this CMS.
Furthermore, we have given some SEO tips at the conclusion that you should keep in mind while creating new page permalinks. All of this information should help you understand what is a permalink and choose the best WordPress permalink structure for your website.
What is the definition of “permalink”?
The term “permalink” comes from the phrase “permanent link” and it refers to a full URL address that is given to a certain post, page, or category. As the foundation of effective SEO, the URL structure helps search engines understand and appropriately rank your website’s content.
You have surely noticed that your browser displays the URL of every page you visit. Every URL is made up of two elements (https://permalinkmanager.pro) and a path (docs/basics/wordpress-permalinks-guide). The idea behind them is to make it easy for people to share or link to a certain place on the website.
What is the difference between slugs and permalinks?
As we have already addressed the distinction between URL and permalink, we will now go over one more complimentary definition. Before we can go on to the following section of the article and show how to change permalinks, let us first define what is a WordPress slug.
Here, the answer is straightforward. Because a slug is sometimes confused with a permalink, it is useful to highlight that a slug is only a part of it, as indicated in the graphic below. The slug is usually placed at the end of post, page, custom post type, and term (e.g. category) permalinks.
The sections that follow will show you two distinct ways to change permalink in WordPress. The first option requires you to install the Permalink Manager plugin before making the adjustments. The second one is based on native settings and comes pre-installed, however it lacks versatility.
How to change permalink in WordPress using Permalink Manager?
Perhaps the most well-known issue with WordPress is the lack of ability to change permalinks freely. It is because, WordPress provides with a few basic URL structure choices. The guidelines below describe how to use the plugin to replace the URL rewriting system included into the WordPress core.
If you do not like what WordPress has to offer, you may use the plugin to rewrite your permalinks structure in minutes. It is worth noting that the plugin works with custom post types and taxonomies created with third-party plugins and custom code snippets. Pods, Custom Post Type UI, Toolset Types, and WooCommerce are just a few of the plugins supported by this plugin.
If you are just beginning started with the plugin, the section that follows should provide you with a general overview of how it works.
How can you change individual page permalinks?
If your site does not have a big number of pages it may also be a good idea to manually adjust each URL address individually. To use the URI Editor included in the plugin, click the “Permalink Manager” button shown next to the URL address. It is worth noting that the URI Editor may be used not only to change page permalink, but also to alter the URL addresses of individual posts, categories, custom post types, and taxonomies.
If you are a Gutenberg user, you can locate the URI Editor at the bottom of the sidebar, where you may change permalinks with Permalink Manager
You may both alter them either directly when you modify the text content or quickly review and adjust multiple URLs at once using the Bulk URI Editor.
How to edit page permalinks in bulk?
As illustrated below, you may change the permastructures for each post type and taxonomy separately. You have complete control over how they are modified.
How to change page permalinks in WordPress without a plugin?
For the record, we should also provide information on where and how to change permalink settings. WordPress has a few basic, out-of-the-box permalink structure formats. To adjust them, go to “Settings > Permalinks” in your admin dashboard.
As you can see in the attached image, the settings panel is self-explanatory and straightforward to use. In most circumstances, “Post name” will be the best option too choose from. If you are interested, the WordPress documentation contains further information on this feature.
How to find permalink in WordPress?
As a final piece of the puzzle, let us talk about how to locate the area where page permalinks are shown. If you are not sure where to look, follow the directions with screenshots below.
In short, the location of the permalink is determined by the version of WordPress editor you are using. Even if you are absolutely unfamiliar with the WordPress interface, you should have no problem locating it.For example, in Classic Editor, this field should be available as soon as the editing panel is turned on. The URL will appear just beneath the input area where you may change the title.
This may be a little more challenging in the case of Gutenberg, You should be able to review the URL address of your post or page using one of the sections listed in the sidebar.
How to create a permalink?
With all of the information shown above, you should be able to change permalink in WordPress, but knowing how this CMS creates and handles permalinks will provide you with a better perspective.
WordPress’s built-in permalinks are automatically generated from the slugs we mentioned before. As a result, after you have saved the post or term, you do not need to do anything else to get WordPress to create a permalink.
Permalink Manager’s custom permalinks, on the other hand, are handled differently. In general, unless you explicitly exclude a post type or taxonomy in the plugin settings, custom permalinks will be generated automatically.
To clarify, the plugin generates the custom permalink for posts, pages, and custom post type items only after the post is published, using the format provided in your current “Permastructure” settings. However, you may allow the plugin to save custom permalinks for drafts by configuring it in the plugin settings.
Permalinks SEO Tips
Finally, we have prepared a few permalink SEO tips based on information given by Google on their websites and social media channels. Always keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you should carefully consider what is the best WordPress permalink structure for your website.
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. The best permalink is one that allows readers to understand what the content is about. In addition, it indicates the reliability of your website.
Listed below are some basic SEO tips and ideas to get you started. Please keep in mind that the following are only suggestions. It is up to you to determine whether or not to adopt them. Changing the URL structure of content that are yet to be published seems like a safe bet. However, existing permalinks are in a different condition. As a rule of thumb, you should do a thorough SEO analysis before changing them.
Avoid frequent or careless permalink changes
If you must change permalink for whatever reason, make sure to provide a 301 redirect as a fallback. This will signal the search engines that your content has been relocated to a new URL address. Otherwise, some traffic may still be sent to pages that are no longer relevant. As a consequence, visitors will abandon your website if they discover the link is broken, resulting in a high bounce rate. In other words, your website’s organic traffic might be slashed if a large number of visitors from search engines arrive at an error page or a blank page.
To summarize, ignoring the broken permalinks will result in a loss of both visitors and revenue from the website. It is also possible that if you have an excessive number of broken links, Google may penalize your site. When it comes to SEO, failing to consider the aforementioned is a typical error.
According to John Mueller, one of Google analysts, 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.
Keep your WordPress permalinks short and straightforward
First and foremost, keep your permalinks understandable and short. Having a solid URL address that describes what is inside the content will improve your search engine ranking. In general, the complete URL address should be no more than 100 characters long. In theory, the shorter the URL address, the simpler it should be to rank higher in Google search results.
Custom post types like “portfolio” are often registered by WordPress plugins that create permalinks that contain hard-coded generic bases. Unfortunately, these do not appear to be understandable or beneficial from an SEO standpoint. Replace them with new bases (for example, “our-work” “products” and “team“) that clearly reflect the structure of your website.
Organizing your permalinks into a logical structure is a great way to improve their readability. The structure of your website should have a naturally flowing page hierarchy to make it easier for users to navigate and for search engines to crawl.
However, keep in mind that while an ordered structure is good, keeping your permalink as short as possible should also be your priority. So, in your permalinks, avoid using any redundant folders or other long naming structures.
For custom post types and taxonomies, WordPress offers very few permalink customization options. Permalink Manager can be useful in this regard since it allows you to use the same URL structure for multiple content types.
As seen in the example below, the plugin allows you to use the same URL structure for custom post type (“Band“) items while also adding custom taxonomy slugs (“Genre“) to their permalinks.
https://example.com/genres/80s/heavy-metal/ (Custom taxonomy: “Genre”)
https://example.com/bands/ozzy-osbourne/ (Custom post type: “Band”)
https://example.com/bands/80s/heavy-metal/ (Custom taxonomy: “Genre”)
https://example.com/bands/80s/heavy-metal/ozzy-osbourne/ (Custom post type: “Band”)
Do not repeat keywords and avoid “stop words”
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.
Getting rid of so-called “stop words” is a good way of making your permalink shorter. Examples of “stop words” include “the“, “a“, and “an“”. There is little question that using them in your URLs is a waste of valuable space, since they do not help search engines grasp what your content is about.
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 preferred 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. Remove them or replace them with dashes or Latin letters for improved reading.
Translate your WordPress permalink format to match the language of the content
Google is able to translate URLs on its own, so it can figure out what a page is about. However, URL translation may somewhat increase your user metrics and experience, both of which are ranking criteria.
Given that you are already localizing the content, why not translate the URLs as well? The disparity between content and URL language is not only inconvenient for users, but it also impacts SEO because keywords are dependent on the language of translated page. One of the videos on Youtube’s official Google Search Central channel discusses multilingual URLs.
To sum it up, if your website is multilingual, you should translate the permalink bases. This might be extremely beneficial if your target market consists of customers from all around the world. Making your WooCommerce URL addresses have a distinct structure for each language will also aid your clients in navigating around your store.
Do not add .html extension to the end of URL
The last permalink SEO tip is one that is sometimes misinterpreted yet refers to a fairly common mistake made by some website owners. It is a common practice to add the .htm, .html, .php or another suffix to the end of URL.
So, what precisely is the issue, and why do people still do this with new websites? This appears to be the result of obsolete blog posts advising adding .htm, .html, and .php to the end of URLs.
Although many people still follow this advise, the fact is that you do not need to include extension in your new permalinks because it makes no difference to Google whether you do or not. If you are still not persuaded, Google Search Central provides a helpful video that discusses this SEO advice in further depth.
Permalink Manager can help you if you switched from a different CMS to WordPress and wish to add .html to your new URLs to reconstruct the previous permalink structure.