Every webpage has a unique URL which allows visitors to easily identify and access it. In an ideal situation, what you want is for these URLs to be easy to type and read. From a technical point of view, these unique URLs are called permalinks. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, it would generate the URLs automatically for the pages according to the permalink structure of your choice. But, you should keep in mind that some options tend to be more suitable when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and readability.
What Are WordPress Permalinks?
In the simplest of words, WordPress permalinks are unique URLs which a CMS sets for each post or page. Depending on the unique permalink structures, the name of the blog post could be its slug which would be considered the URL. But, you will find creating slugs to offer a more user-friendly approach. Not only will you find the option easy to follow but also help make sure that visitors understand what the page is about.
The term pretty permalinks is used for this as opposed to ugly permalinks to refer to permalinks that do a great job when it comes to capturing the essence of the webpage. It is important that you use keywords in the URL to help search engines determine its purpose. This means that including the right keywords in your URLs would allow you to benefit from improved SEO. If you fail to use an optimized permalink structure, you would only leave plenty of organic traffic behind.
Types of WordPress Permalink Structures
Before jumping right in, it is crucial to mention here that running a new WordPress site requires you to set the best permalink structure early on. It is best practice to lock down the permalink structure within the first 6 months as your SEO game would be in its growth stage. If your website is not new and has been around for a while, you should still change the permalink structure. But, it is likely to affect your search engine rankings in case you fail to implement redirects to the new URLs. The following types of WordPress permalink structures are available.
One of the types of permalink structures that you need to know is plain. An example that will help you get an idea about it is examplewebsite.com/?ex121. It serves as the bare-bones. The slug mentioned would be considered to be taken from the database. You cannot count on it to provide you any information about the page you will visit. This is why it is important that you structure the URL to provide search engines and users with more information into the webpage.
- Day and Name
Another type of permalink structure is day and name. As you might have gotten an idea from the name, the permalink structures uses the day and name of your post or webpage as the URL. The main upside of the structure is that it allows users to instantly get an idea about how old a post is. In certain cases, it would allow you to determine if the post is relevant or not. Magazine and news sites tend to use this structure as they aim to create time-specific content. However, there is a flipside to dating your posts. For instance, if you have an amazing post that is over two years old and considered to be a definitive source of information, some readers might think that the post is no longer relevant after viewing its date.
- Month and Name
The next permalink structure that you need to know is month and name. Although it might seem identical to the above permalink structure, its main difference is that it includes the day of the publication in the URL. If we take a look at things from a functional perspective, it is clear that there are pros and cons to such a structure. For starters, it is always nice for people to know how old a post is at a glance. However, it would lead to some of your content being considered outdated.
When we look at the Numeric permalink structure, it becomes clear that it has some similarities with the Plain permalink structure. An example that will help you better understand it is examplewebsite.com/archives/232. This settings utilizes the ID of your post as the slug. Thus, it fails to provide any additional information to users. However, you can also opt for a short permalink.
- Post Name
A Post Name permalink structure is possibly one of the most popular WordPress permalink structures. It is the default permalink structure of many websites. The reason behind this is that it is easy to identify and allows for clean and memorable URLs to be made. The best thing about this type of permalink structure is that you get customize the slugs even if the titles are too long. Generally, you should be able to name your post anything you want. However, it is important that you keep the slug to around 3 to 5 words and not more. Otherwise, it would be harder for your visitors to remember it. Besides, search engines also appreciate short and relevant slugs.
- Custom Structure
Lastly, there is also custom structure that combines the above permalink structures. If you are not drawn to the structures mentioned so far, you can rest assured knowing that WordPress enables you to create your own custom post type permalinks. You can also instantly generate custom permalinks. For instance, if you have a blog, you can easily set up individual categories and include them in the links. WordPress normally offers ten structure tags which you can use for building custom permalinks.
After you have finished reading our post, you will know everything there is to know about WordPress permalinks. It is important that you choose a WordPress permalink that suits your objectives. Moreover, you can always use a custom permalink generator to save time and effort.