WordPress has provided millions of people an easier way of managing websites without having to worry about using HTML codes. With WordPress, you can customize your website according to your heart’s desire with little to nothing to worry about.

While using WordPress, you might come across the term “permalink”, for which the blogging platform offers lots of customization options. If you want to know more about WordPress permalinks, here at Templatetoaster WordPress website builder has a guide on what it is and how to maximize its potential.

What is a permalink?

Any webpage has a unique Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that online users enter in the browser address bar. The URL may appear in varying formats, although most of them contain the domain name and extension (say, somedomain.com), then a slash symbol, and then an optional slug that points to a specific webpage. In a nutshell, the URL is also called permalink.

A permalink, as the word implies, is a permanent link that refers to a specific page. Some permalinks by default may not be as attractive and so some better-looking permalinks are also called “pretty URLs”. This means that the website owner has the option to create a permalink for a particular page on his website to make it more SEO-friendly. In that way, search engines like Google or Bing may be able to instantly detect the page.

In the case of WordPress, permalinks may contain the post, page title or category of a particular page. You have the option to change your permalinks however you wish, but changing it may cause a decrease in traffic to your website at the start because your visitors may come across 404 errors.

Example, by default, a WordPress permalink would look like:

http://somedomain.com/?p=N (where N is a number)

Obviously, this isn’t attractive enough to get noticed. Visitors would rather readily see what the page is all about, through the URL. You can change your permalink into:

http://somedomain.com/2016/08/best-wordpress-plugins

You would notice that the default permalink shows a number assigned to the particular webpage. By changing the permalink structure, you may change it and replace it with the date or year plus the title page or post name.

How to choose a permalink structure

On your WordPress dashboard, search for Settings > Permalinks page. From there, you will be able to see several options of WordPress permalink structures on how you would want your permalink to look like.

Here are some examples of permalink structures available on WordPress:

http://somedomain.com/2016/10/28/post-title/ – This denotes the day and title name, wherein posts are organized in a subfolder.

http://somedomain.com/2016/10/post-title/ – This is similar to the permalink above, but does not include the day when the post was published. This is ideal for blogs that do not have many posts in a month.

http://somedomain.com/author/authorname/ – In this structure, an author’s name is included in the permalink to determine who wrote the blog post. This is useful when there are others who contribute to a single blog site.

Here are some basic tips on how to choose the correct permalink structure for your site:

  • Make it simple as possible. Prefer using your domain name and your post name.
    Example: http://somedomain.com/inspirational
  • There is no need to include verbs or prepositions in the permalink of your website such as “is”, “are”, “the”, “that”, “of”, and the like.
  • If you change how your permalink appears, do not forget to use 301 redirects. This means that you have to redirect your permalink to another website. Fortunately, this comes bundled with WordPress.
  • Make use of keywords that can help optimize your permalinks.

Can one use permalink option to improve site’s SEO score?

Search engines make use of an algorithm to detect the quality and frequency of keywords that may be included in a permalink. This can help improve your page rankings.
The title, description, date and permalink are what online users see when they seek for something through search engines. By using the right permalink structure, you can reach out to people who are looking for specific keywords online.

Websites with good permalink structures have better chances of being found by online users looking for relevant information. Using permalinks properly can help decrease bounce rates, which are harmful for a site’s SEO.

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Using structure tags

Structure tags are used to specifically point to a particular page or post. In setting up a permalink structure, you may manually configure your desired permalink structure.
The general format for WordPress is domain name + structure tag. Here are some good structure tags that you can use (items in parentheses are examples):

  • %year% – to denote year (2016)
  • %monthnum% – to denote month (October)
  • %day% – to denote day (Friday)
  • %hour% – to denote hour of the day (12)
  • %minute% -to denote minute of the hour (25)
  • %second% – to denote second of the minute (35)
  • %post_id% – to denote unique ID number of the post (120)
  • %postname% – to denote the title of the post (“The Elements of Success of an Entrepreneur” becomes “elements-of-success-of-an-entrepreneur”)
  • %category% – denotes the category name
  • %author% – denotes the name of the author

How to fix common permalink issues

Here are some popular errors and issues related to permalink structures, and some quick solutions to address them.

Erroneous File Permission: Change the .htaccess file to 666. This allows you to edit using the WordPress template editor. Be warned, though: if you share a particular website with others, they may be able to edit the template on their end as well.

Permalinks on pages that do not work: New rules should be generated and updated in .htaccess.

404 errors: The permalink structure should be switched to a “date and time based”

Conclusion

The increase in online visibility is greatly affected by the permalink used for the website. Correct keyword usage incorporated in the permalink is an important factor in helping search engines rank your site better.

You can never go wrong in making your site improve its online presence when everything is carefully thought of, and one effective way of doing it is by structuring your permalinks properly. All standard WordPress Themes including the ones designed using TemplateToaster support WordPress permalinks feature.

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