Why Your Permalinks Suck and How to Fix ‘Em

Your permalinks — the URLs that direct to your single-post pages — are a key aspect of your SEO success or failure. Get ’em right from the outset with one simple tweak to your blog’s setup.

Don’t fret – it requires absolutely zero tinkering with code or your source files. I promise.

Here’s what you do:

1. In your WordPress dashboard, click on Settings, and then on Permalinks. There, you’ll see something that looks a bit like this:

Image of the Permalinks part of WordPress dashboard

Your WordPress blog's Permalinks menu

2. If it’s a new blog setup, you’ll probably see that the default option is selected. This will result in your pages having URLs like “http://myawesomeblog.com/?p=123.” This? Is bad. You’re giving up some prime real estate that the search engines love to gaze at fondly. What you really want? Isn’t listed. So …

3. Click the “Custom Structure” option and type in /%postname%/.  What this does is render your blog post permalinks by reference to the blog post title. So, for example, this post’s default permalink is “http://pajamaproductivity.com/seo-saturday-get-your-permalinks-structure-right/.”

But wait! You’re not completely done with the whole permalink thing yet…

Optional 4. If you’ve got a killer headline but the resulting permalink is a bit unwieldy, too long, or not quite keyword-rich enough for you, you can (and should) change it.

How do you do that? Simple. Once you’ve started drafting the new post, you’ll note the Permalink under the box where you’ve input the title. There should be a small “Edit” button next to the URL. Simply click that “Edit” button and clean it up, retaining keywords, and losing any extraneous crap that isn’t conducive to better SEO efforts.

Voila! Better permalinks.

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