If you’re a WordPress user and you want to elevate your site’s visibility in search engines you should start with Permalinks. Changing the default setting for Permalinks for your hosted blog is probably the quickest and easiest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trick on the planet!
Out of the box a WordPress site* will identify your posts and pages using a simple URL that is not very pretty.
It’s basically saying the post we want to read is number 2169.
Memorable? Not so much.
Most importantly it doesn’t tell us diddly squat about the treasure trove of information we will discover when we explore ?p=2169. And that is where the SEO stuff falls into place. What if that URL actually related to the content. That would certainly make it easier for the humans to understand what they were going to read. It also makes it easier for the search robots to find our page and catalog it.
The URL is also a very important piece of the SEO puzzle. While none of us mere mortals know the secret sauce that makes Google tick, we do know that certain web page attributes carry more weight. A page’s web address is definitely an important one. So, going back to our ugly example above, we have a URL perfect for a page for mathematicians that discusses the beauty of the integer 2169. But if our page is about something else, well… it might need improvement.
The best part? This enhancement will take you all of 30 seconds to perform. Plus there’s no drawbacks! The old ugly URLs still work even after you change your site to start using the pretty ones.
The setting is called Permalinks, because these links are the permanent reference to any article post or category tag. If you look under Settings > Permalinks you’ll find the options available.
Notice the first option (default) is our cryptic question mark and number deal. If you’re keeping score at home, the blog you’re reading now uses the third option- month and name. This is the default for WordPress.com hosted blogs.
So instead of this article being referenced as:
We have this:
Either URL will resolve to the article you’re reading now. But the second one certainly relays a great deal more information to the reader or the ‘bot!
The best choice for your site will depend on the frequency and variety of your articles. Using the Post Name option is clean– but can get confusing if you often write posts with very similar titles. If you really want to get fancy use the Custom Structure option and refer to the Using Permalinks page for available structure tags.
This setting is not available for WordPress.com sites since they use the Month and Name format by default. If you’re a Blogger user you also have a date/title style of permalink, though you can customize the permalink for each post individually. Drupal users should refer to the PATHAUTO module.