What are permalinks and how do they help my SEO campaign?
A permalink – or permanent link – is a URL that is basically the address of a blog post, web page or website category page. They are often referred to as search engine friendly URLs as they are easier read by humans and search engines. The integrity of your linking structure plays an important part in how your site delivers the right ranking and search engine traffic results, so understanding permalinks and getting them right is an important element of your ranking strategy.
Permalinks should remain valid for a long period of time (hence: permanent) as this makes them less susceptible to breaking and ensures the integrity of your linking structure remains intact. Most blogging software systems nowadays, including WordPress, use a permalink structure which is a more SEO-friendly platform for getting the most from website. Good quality permalinks are sometimes referred to as human-readable URLs and include page or blog titles in the URLs eg. www.examplewebsite.com.au/exampleblog/permalink-url-for-this-example.
Why WordPress Works Well For Permalinks
WordPress is not the only way of ensuring that permalinks are correctly structured, but using WordPress offers a way of ensuring that all URLs follow the same structure throughout the site – lending towards the idea of permanency. Before rushing into creating permalinks, try to understand what is right and wrong from a SEO standpoint, and stay tuned to roi.com.au or use WordPress help for further details.
Even if you use a different CMS, or custom-build a website, the permalink structure should follow this format. The URLs can be categorised by blog category, website category, date, year or other relevant criteria depending on how frequently you make additions.
WordPress identifies permalinks as falling into three categories:
‘Pretty’ Permalinks, are essentially permalinks follow the desired format and are understandable to human readers. They have an identifiable format with the elements of URL easily identifiable. In our example above, the first part of the URL www.examplewebsite.com.au/ specifies the domain name; /exampleblog/ specifies that the relevant page is categorised in the Example Blog and the final part of the URL /permalink-url-for-this-example is the page title. All elements are human readable and when you remove the page title and just visit: www.examplewebsite.com.au/exampleblog/, you should be directed to the sites Example Blog page.
‘Ugly’permalinks are the traditional URLs that display numbers, letters and symbols in a unstructured format, indeterminable to anyone without coding expertise.
‘Almost’ Pretty permalinks are similar to pretty permalinks but contain index.php at the start, which enables them to perform in the same way as pretty permalinks.
SEO Slugs Plug-in Makes Permalinks Even More SEO-Friendly
The great thing about WordPress is the thousands of functional plug-ins available that help your SEO strategy. When it comes to permalinks, WordPress plug-in SEO Slugs is an excellent tool, which allows you to remove common words such as ‘a’ and ‘the’ from URLs which assists SEO. After WordPress automatically assigns a file name to a blog post (this is referred to as a slug). For the sake of this example we will continue with the example above: /permalink-url-for-this-example.
SEO Slugs removes ‘for’ and ‘this’ to leave /permalink-url-example, which is a more SEO-friendly URL. This new URL can be reviewed and changed prior to publishing. WordPress allows you to set your permalink structure in settings with options for the most commonly used structure or custom permalink structuring.
Joomla also offers SEO plug-ins including sh404SEF which allows for configuration of search engine friendly URLs.
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This article is aimed at giving blogging novices and amateur website builders an insight into what things to consider when building a website in order to get the best and most relevant traffic to the site. If you would like to learn more about WordPress and SEO, stay tuned to our Blog.
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