Your permalink structure determines what your URLs will look like for each of your posts. This is one of the most important optimization settings because your permalink structure will directly impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Let me explain.
For the record:
- Domain = AmyLynnAndrews.com
- URL = https://amylynnandrews.com
What is a permalink?
A permalink is the unique URL attached to any page on the web. For example, the permalink for this post you are reading now is:
You can see it in your browser’s address bar at the top of your screen.
Here’s another example of a permalink on my site:
See how the main domain name is the same (amylynnandrews.com) but there are additional words at the end? Those words correspond to the individual post title or topic.
Permalinks make it easy to find specific & individual webpages.
It’s sort of like dialing a specific phone extension to get to a specific person when you’re calling a big company. It wouldn’t be so fun if you had to be routed through the main phone number every time!
Could you imagine having to scroll through an entire site to find the specific post you’re looking for? Good thing each one has its own address (URL), or permalink.
What is your permalink structure?
Your permalink structure is the basic format WordPress will use when naming your individual posts or pages.
For example, my permalink structure, as indicated in the examples above is: https://amylynnandrews.com/%postname%/
The “%postname%” bit is the holder WordPress uses to indicate what will get populated in that spot. So when you create a new post or page on your site, the default action of WordPress is to automatically create a permalink for you. It replaces the %postname% with the title you type into your new post / page.
WARNING: If you have already started publishing posts or pages on your blog, do not change the permalink structure now. It may result in broken links. If you want to change your permalink structure, I recommend you get professional help from a developer.
For those of you who have a brand new blog, let’s proceed.
How to choose a permalink structure
To find your permalink settings, go to Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks
I will say right off the bat, do not use the Plain (used to be called Default) structure like so:
It’s simply bad for SEO.
Search engines use words, not numbers, to understand what your site is about. Then they send people who are searching to your site when their search words match the content in your posts and pages.
The recommended permalink structure
The Post Name option is generally the best for SEO and a good choice if you aren’t too worried about inadvertently naming your posts the same thing.
There are some times when you might want to opt for one of the structures below instead:
- Day and name. Good for multi-author blog or single-author blogs with many posts per day or blogs that may have duplicate-titled posts
- Month and name. Good for single-author blogs who post daily or less, and may have duplicate-titled posts
Your post or page title does not have to be the same as your permalink
When you are creating a new post or page, note that your post title does not have to be the same as your permalink. Your post title should be human-friendly (“Tools I Use & Recommend“), whereas your permalink can be more bot-friendly (“tools”).
If you want to change the permalink structure of a post or page, simply click the “Edit” button next to the automatically generated permalink on your post or page directly underneath the title and change it to what you want. Read more about this (and similar tips) in How to Write a Post in WordPress.