What is a Permalink?
A permalink is the unique URL associated with any page on the web. For example, the permalink for this post is:
You can see this in your browser’s address bar at the top of your screen.
Another example of a permalink on this site is:
See how the domain name is the same (bloggingonabudget.com) but there are additional words at the end? The ending of each page or post URL for my site is automatically generated by WordPress based on the permalink structure that I selected. For Blogging on a Budget, I selected the following permalink structure:
The %postname% piece is the syntax that WordPress follows to automatically create a permalink based on the title of each post or page on this site.
But this is not the only permalink structure that you can select for your WordPress site, so how do you know which one is the best?
What is the Best Permalink Structure
Choosing the right permalink structure for your site is one of the most important optimization settings because it will directly impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A common component I see in permalink structures are dates (Day and name or Month and name). For websites that have content that is related to current events, such as news sites, this makes perfect sense. However, for most blogs, the content is usually timeless as it tends to cover subjects that don’t relate to a specific date in time.
For this reason, the Post Name option is generally the best permalink structure for your site.
Using dates in your permalink structure also tends to have another side-effect, namely a lower CTR for older posts that may very well still be relevant. Whenever someone sees a result in Google with a date pointing back two years ago, they’ll be less likely to click that result. Seeing as Google uses this CTR for page rankings, it might be a very good idea to use a permalink structure that is more appealing to your visitors!
And 100% do not use the Plain or Numeric permalink structures. It’s simply bad for SEO. Search engines use words, not numbers, to understand what your site is about.
How to Update your Site’s Permalink Structure
To update your permalink settings, go to Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks on the left-hand side menu in your WordPress interface. Select the best option for your site and click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.
WARNING: If you have already started publishing posts or pages on your blog, do not update your permalink structure until you have read this post.