Using WordPress Permalinks without Breaking the Site?

Permalinks are basically link structures created by you to replace the default URLs that appear on the address bar.

Why are permalinks important?

Now, you would ask what this little link change can do for your website. Well, it can do a lot. This component plays an extremely crucial role in improving your site’s SEO. How do they do that?

• They help search engines in crawling your website as search engines include the link content when they produce answers for link queries.
• They tell users what the page is about so users feel more confident with surfing the content
• They become a unique identifier for a topic that you have covered and essentially make it easier for users to spot you in the maze of the World Wide Web.
The ideal step to creating permalinks is when you have just created your website.

However, if you haven’t created them yet, you don’t need to worry. You can still create more relevant permalink structures and replace your old default URLs with them.

Creating Permalinks:

Now creating permalinks is pretty easy. Here is how you can change your permalinks on your WordPress website:

Step 1: Go on your WordPress Dashboard and in the Settings section Select “Permalinks”

permalinks settings

You will be taken to a Permalinks Settings Page that looks like this:

permalinks setting options

Now the easy bit is to change the permalinks to what you want:

The options on this list for you are:

1. Default
2. Day and Name
3. Month and Name
4. Numeric
5. Post Name
6. Custom Structure

Now by default WordPress uses the location where the content can be found in your site’s database. When it comes to optimizing the SEO of your site, this information is useless. Which is why, you need to change it the moment you create your website? And if you haven’t done it yet you need to do it now.
You can choose any of the options shown above. Usually for bloggers, the Post Name and Category options are ideal.

However, for websites that publish numerous articles on a daily basis you might consider adding in the date.

There is also an option called Custom Structure in which you can create the structure as you see fit.

For example, I want to add the post name and the category together in my URL, then all I need to do to that is to fill in this entry in the Custom Structure Tab.

“/%category% /%postname%/”

And your permalink structure will now officially be changed.

Using 301 Redirects
Once you changed that you need to take care of all your external links because these links will now be broken. You need to use 301 Redirects to get your visitors to the right page.
There are two important reasons why you need to use 301 Redirects:
1. It gives any visitor that accesses your old permalink your new link.
2. And it tells the search engines that this change is a permanent one.

To create 301 Redirect, you need to download Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

simple 301 redirecta

It works in a very simple way. Open “Simple 301 Redirects” from your settings tab in the WordPress Dashboard. You will be led to a page that looks like this:

simple 301 redirects working

There are two fields in this plugin. The Request field is for the old permalink and the Destination field is for the new permalink.

Simply add the permalinks after the domain name and save the changes. You have now successfully created a 301 redirect for the specific permalink.

Using WordPress permalinks plays a very important part in developing a websites SEO, therefore you need to take your time to create the right kind of permalink for your website and once you have come up with a format for your permalinks, you need to stick to them.