WordPress by default is very SEO friendly. Its only Bloggers who make it difficult for Search engine Spiders or Crawlers to understand the blog by loading in more and more stuff in the name of features and add-on value items. In this post we will look at the most simple and the very first change you should make in your WordPress Blog to make it geared towards Search Engines.
Permalinks (short for Permanent Links) are permanent URLs for your individual Blog Post, Category Pages, Tag Pages, Archives and typically any page in a WordPress CMS. It is the string called URL you see in your Address Bar of the Web Browser while visiting the page.
Types of Permalinks
WordPress classify Permalinks into 4 Types. Let’s take a look into each of them:
1. Ugly Permalinks: These are the ones where the Permalinks use PostID in the structure. The advantage is you can refer to it by just remembering the PostID. The main disadvantage is, the Permalink itself does not tell anything about the Post or its content.
Ex: www.smartblogtips.com/?p=4125 or www.smartblogtips.com/2008/?p=4125
2. Pretty Permalinks: Here mod_rewrite is used to make your Permalinks eligible for humans, by redirecting it to the corresponding PostID. The good thing about this one is that now you can actually have a Permalink that speaks what the Blog Post is about.
Here you can choose from the few given structures, make your own or return to default structure. Here comes the fun part. You can use the Custom Option to define your won Permalink Structure. For this you need to use what is called as Structure Tags. Let’s take a look.
As you can see Pretty Permalinks and Almost Pretty Permalinks can be modified to produce customized Permalinks. You have many options to choose from, and then mix and match to create your own customized structure.
%year% – Year of the post, 4 digits, Ex: 2009
%monthnum% – Month of the year, 2 digits Ex: 02
%day% – Day of the month, Ex: 29
%hour% – Hour of the day, Ex: 10
%minute% – Minute of the hour, Ex: 48
%second% – Second of the minute, Ex: 25
%postname% – Post Slug (editable lower case hyphened field. By default “Permalink Post by TJ” will become “permalink-post-by-tj”)
%post_id% – The unique ID # of the post, Ex: 1243
%category% – Category Slug field. Nested sub-categories appear as nested directories in the URL.
%tag% – Tag Slug Field.
%author% – Author Name.
Best Permalink Structure for Users and Search Engine
There are few Permalink Structure which qualify as useful from Search Engine’s point of view and also are easy on the eyes for Humans. They are as follows
This is the one I like the most and use on all my blogs. It results in short URL, is straight to the point and good for Search Engine Spiders/Crawlers by displaying keywords in the link structure. It is not Hackable, meaning you cannot navigate to any other portion of the site. Also it may interfere with accessing some of site’s links.
Ex: If I have a TinyURL Script located at www.smartblogtips.com/TinyURL and have already written a post with slug “tinyurl”, both location would have a common URL and hence the conflict.
2. /%year%/%postname% OR /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%
This is the most widely acknowledge structure. It is Pretty, Informative and Hackable. By removing the post details you can actually land to yearly or monthly archives. Also it tells Search Engine about the year of the post in addition to the keywords in title.
4. /%category%/%postname% OR /%tag%/%postname%
This is the best match from Search Engine point of view. It is the best you can get. However it has two serious defects. First, if you change your Category Slug or Tag Slug, it will directly affect your Search Engine Rankings. Second, it would become pretty useless where you have more than one category or tag. In case you are wondering, it will show the lowest ID category/tag among the selected ones.
Note: You can copy these Permalink Structure and paste into your WordPress Settings -> Permalinks -> Custom field.
As you can see I am using the first structure. Which one are you using? Let us know via comments.