Wodpress Permalinks

Girl wearing Permalinks T-Shirt

Permalinks stands for permanent links. These are unique URL’s of any pages and posts there in your website or blog. We know that WordPress is the most used platform for websites and blogs worldwide. We’ll learn here how to configure permalinks structure of your website or blog.
First of all, it should be noted with utmost importance that when you are installing WordPress in your host then before creating any post or anything, you must first of all configure your permalinks structure in your WordPress settings.

WordPress Version 3.3 permalinks settings has 6 Common settings :

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

By default, it takes the first setting.

Default : http://www.yourwordpressblog.com/?p=123

This is the best structure from performance point of view but the worst structure from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) point of view. As most of us want our websites or blogs to be included in search engines like Google, Yahoo etc., it is recommended not to use default permalink structure of WordPress. The simple reason to not use default setting is that, it does not contain any keyword relevant to your post.

While choosing permalinks structure the following points must be kept in mind :

  1. After installing WordPress, the very first thing to do should be to configure permalinks setting. This must be done on the earliest before creating anything (menu, plugin, widget, post, page or whatever) on WordPress. It’s very important.
  2. Permalinks must be chosen wisely and should not be changed after that unless necessary. Read all the instructions below to have an in-depth insight of permalinks.
  3. The dates should not be included in permalinks because it increases loading time and makes your posts look outdated after sometime. There is no need to show dates in permalinks structure because they are already shown in individual posts. Showing dates in permalinks is only relevant for large news websites which post frequently per day.
  4. The permalinks structure must contain a unique number (of at least 3 digits which must not look like date or year) for each post. This is a requirement as put by Google News to put any website or blog to be indexed under Google News. This requirement is fulfilled by having post_id in permalinks structure. So post_id must be included in permalinks.
  5. The structure should contain keywords related to your post. The best source of keywords is the title of the post itself. So, postname must be included in permalinks.
  6. You might be thinking to include category or tag also in permalinks structure to get more keywords, but there are genuine loading issues in WordPress if you use category or tag based permalinks. So, never use category or tag in permalinks.
  7. The postname should come at last. It is observed from watching performance of best blogs on the internet. So –
    /%post_id%/%postname%/ is better than /%postname%/%post_id%/
  8. The permalinks structure should be very short.
  9. The structure should not contain too many slashes, because it always requires WordPress to do many queries, hence making page loading slower.
  10. The last slash (/) should not be removed, as it motivates search engines to crawl better. The last slash may be looking ugly to you, but it is better to keep it from SEO point of view.
  11. Words in URL should be separated by hyphens (-) and not by underscores (_) from SEO point of view.
  12. Every post should have only one unique URL through which it can be reached. Creating a post with two or more URLs is not a SEO friendly action. All search engines treat this as creating duplicate content and hence they usually reject such content.
  13. Search Engines do not like redirection of a URL. So, redirection should be avoided unless necessary.
  14. If you have a blog with very bad permalinks structure, then you can change it anytime with WordPress permalinks settings and by using plugins – to redirect old URLs to new URLs (through 301 gateway), but then you might get out of Google index for sometime, some risk is always there.
  15. So, once again the best idea is to configure permalinks settings at the earliest before creating anything, just after installing WordPress.

Now the million dollar question is :

What is the best permalinks setting for my WordPress blog?
Keeping everything in mind as discussed in this article, the answer is :

In Common Settings :
Use Custom Structure : /%post_id%/%postname%/

In Optional Settings :
Category base, Tag base : Leave both fields blank