What are Permalinks?
Permalinks are URL’s to your blog’s content. You can remember the association by looking at the word: perma = permanent links.
Let me explain a bit more: The URL to your website is your domain name. For instance, this website is www.Conversation2Sales.com. This link takes you to the front page of my website. And at the moment this post can be seen there.
But what if I want to send out a link that will take someone to this post even after I’ve published 5 or 10 more posts (and it’s no longer on the front page)? In that case, I’d need a URL that won’t change over time — I’d need the Permalink for that post..
When you publish a post, WordPress automatically assigns a Permalink to that post.
The default Permalink is: www.conversation2sales.com/?p=123. This works, but it is difficult to remember – for both you and your website visitor.
In your admin panel in WordPress, you can set the Permalinks to follow a different structure. Click Settings, then Permalinks. You’ll be shown a menu like this:
While any option that contains the name of your post – the sample-post in the examples – is better than the default, there is a better choice.
Use the Custom Structure to set your own format.
Click Custom Structure and set your own format. My preference is /%year%/%postname%/ You don’t need to put your site’s domain name in the field… WordPress fills it in for you.
You DO need some kind of number between your domain name and your postname (it doesn’t have to be the year, but that is my preference). WordPress assigns Permalinks to Pages with just the page name, so if your Posts have the same structure, they will be treated as Pages by search engines. In other words, they will not be indexed as often.. so it may take longer for your newly published content to appear in the searches.
Using the postname in your Permalink structure makes your URLs easier to remember for your website visitors. And it gives you more places to highlight your key words. Just don’t be guilty of stuffing your Permalink with keywords. The search engines pay more attention to the words at the front of your URL, so make sure you lead with the most valuable of your keywords. And to avoid stop words, install the SEO Slugs Plugin which will automatically remove them for you.
Now that I have convinced you to update your Permalinks, you may wonder what happens to the incoming links that are already out there pointing to your content? Well, with your Permalink structure changed, those links no longer work. But don’t despair, you can install another free plugin that will automatically redirect those clicks to the right place. Smart 404 guesses where your visitor was going and takes them there…. no more annoying 404 Errors.
Permalinks matter. Make yours count.