A permalink is any URL you see in the rectangular box at the top of any browser. It is used for linking any internet searcher to a post, page, or other types of content on a site; also, it is used for link building. There are some reasons why link building is important, most especially because it can optimize a site and tremendously improve its SEO.
URL means “Uniform Resource Locator”: it is an address to a particular resource or location on the Internet. So, URL is a “permanent link” which is popularly called “permalink”—the short name for “permanent link.” In essence, a permalink is a URL and does the work of a URL by linking internet searchers to specific web posts or articles, news stories, pages, or types of content.
It is important to know how to structure permalinks and change or edit them because research has proven that the structures of permalinks have an impact on internet users or site visitors who usually bookmark them or link to them from various websites.
The structure of permalinks can help a site on search engines; however, some site owners and bloggers don’t often realize this, and many of them don’t even know how to make/structure and or edit/change permalinks. The following are 7 important tips you can use to structure your permalinks for SEO:
1. Create your own shorter slug instead of using the typically longer slug created by WordPress
By default, whenever you want to publish a post, WordPress creates a “slug” which is the part of the permalink that is located immediately after your domain; the slug automatically created by WordPress is usually as long as WordPress can possibly make it.
In most cases, if the title of a post or article is not short or doesn’t contain a small number of characters, WordPress automatically makes permalinks longer than necessary. Longer permalinks usually affect clicks from visitors and most visitors are often click shorter permalinks which automatically contain shorter slugs.
For example, if your domain name is https://domain.com/, and the title of your article is about “5 of the best ways you can use to purify water”, the slug that WordPress would create is “5-of-the-best-ways-you-can-use-to-purify-water” and the permalink would be https://domain.com/5-of-the-best-ways-you-can-use-to-purify-water. Note that, generally, WordPress uses all the words in a title and creates the longest permalinks possible, rather than shorter permalinks that are more preferable for SEO.
Because of SEO, you could neglect WordPress’s usually longer slug (“5-of-the-best-ways-you-can-use-to-purify-water”) and permalink (https://domain.com/5-of-the-best-ways-you-can-use-to-purify-water) and use a shorter slug (“5-best-ways-to-purify-water”) and permalink “https://domain.com/5-best-ways-purify-water”; better still, you could make your permalink shorter by using “https://domain.com/5-ways-purify-water”.
Make your permalinks to be as short as possible because shorter permalinks are known to perform better in search engine results— The shorter, the better. If possible, keep your permalink below 100 characters, or make it to be far less than 100 characters; between 40 and 60 would be great.
2. Use dates for news content, but don’t use dates for evergreen content
When you want to publish a post, it is advisable to use dates for news stories because they occur on a particular date or around a particular period of time, and it is important to give an actual indication of when stories were actually published.
On the other hand, evergreen content like educational content doesn’t require dates because they would likely remain “fresh” or unchanged, and therefore don’t need to be “time-stamped”.
Note that if your permalink has a date that is years away from the current date, fewer people would click on it if it appears on search engine results pages. Why? Because people tend to be more attracted to recently published content.
3. Include keywords in your permalinks
Always remember to use keywords in your permalinks because they help signal to search engines (Google, Yahoo, Baidu, Bing, etc.) what your articles or posts are about; this will in turn help to boost your ranking on search engine results pages.
For example, if the title of your article is “5 of the best ways you can use to purify water”, your permalink could be https://domain.com/5-best-ways-to-purify-water or https://domain.com/best-ways-to-purify-water which is shorter. Note that the keyword is centered on “ways to purify water”; it’s advisable that the “keywords”—“ways”, “purify”, and “water”—be included in the slug, and eventually the permalink as well.
4. Include hyphens in your permalinks to distinguish words from each other—especially keywords
Use hyphens to distinguish or separate the words in the slug part of the permalink. If you don’t use hyphens, it would be difficult for visitors and even search engines to easily understand the words in the permalink.
For example, if hyphens are not used in the slug (“5bestwaystopurifywater”) part of a permalink, the permalink would look like this https://domain.com/5bestwaystopurifywater, and confuse search engines, and especially humans whom search engines were designed for.
It would be preferable to use https://domain.com/5-best-ways-to-purify-water or https://domain.com/best-ways-to-purify-water, instead of https://domain.com/5bestwaystopurifywater which doesn’t have hyphens; doing so would make it easy for people to distinguish the words or keywords in the slug.
5. Ensure that “stop” words are not in your permalinks
Because certain words called “stop words” don’t really add any advantage to permalinks and SEO, and also don’t help search engines comprehend what your content is about, ensure that they are not included in permalinks, especially in the slug part of your permalink.
Examples of stop words include, “which”, “before”, “at”, “any”, “or”, etc. Using such words in your permalink is not important because they are simply a waste of space and would only make your permalink unnecessarily longer than usual, and affect your SEO.
6. Use “https” in Your Permalink
For SEO purposes, it’s important to have “https” in your permalink because it usually helps indicate to internet users or web visitors that your domain is “secure” or has an “SSL certificate”.
Most people know that secure domains usually have SSL certificates, and domains that don’t have SSL certificates are usually not secured. Any domain that doesn’t have an SSL certificate can be hacked and the information being transferred between the domain and visitors can be intercepted by hackers.
It’s important to note because one of Google’s targets is to make the internet user-friendly and secure for visitors, it considers SSL certificates as an important factor in ranking a domain or website. Therefore, if a site doesn’t have “https”, it would likely not rank as high as it should on search engine results pages.
7. Avoid using the names of categories in your permalink
Categories are highly valuable and many site owners use them to distinguish various types of content on their sites, Categories are additional sections in a domain, and some site owners add them to their permalinks; however, although categories are important, they make permalinks to be unnecessarily longer.
Your permalinks would be as short as possible and look “neater” and “sharper” if you don’t include categories. For example, if you remove the category “physical education” or “/physical-education/” from the permalink https://domain.com/physical-education/how-to-run-without-getting-tired/, the permalink would become https://domain.com/ how-to-run-without-getting-tired/, and be much better for SEO.
In addition, along with avoiding categories, also avoid using any permalink structure (like custom structure) which allows site owners to use “tags”, “author”, etc., in a permalink; applying these items makes it possible for WordPress to create longer permalinks which internet searchers don’t generally like to click. Keep your permalinks simple by making them as short as possible.
By following the tips given above on how to structure your permalink for SEO, you will be able to have a greater SEO advantage over many other domains. Remember to use “https” in your permalink, use shorter slugs instead of using the generally longer slugs that are automatically created by WordPress, use dates for news content and avoid using dates for evergreen content, use keywords and hyphens in your permalinks, don’t use “stop” words in your permalinks, and lastly, don’t include categories in your permalinks.