Lessons: 6Length: 28 minutes

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3.1 How to Optimize Permalink Settings for SEO and UX

In this lesson, I'll show you how to use the Permalink Settings screen to make your permalinks "pretty", both for individual posts and pages and for archives.

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:51


2.Introduction to Permalinks
2 lessons, 09:01

Permalinks, Slugs, and Links

Why Optimize Your Permalinks?

3.Optimizing Permalinks in Your Site
2 lessons, 15:42

How to Optimize Permalink Settings for SEO and UX

How to Optimize Slugs for SEO and UX

1 lesson, 02:44


3.1 How to Optimize Permalink Settings for SEO and UX

Hello, and welcome back to this Tuts+ course on WordPress permalinks. In this part of the course, I'm gonna show you how to configure the permalink settings in your WordPress site so that you get pretty permalinks that are good for SEO and user experience. So to configure the permanent settings in WordPress, you go to Settings and then Permalinks in your admin screens. And depending on how your WordPress site has been set up and installed, you might find that the default is Plain, which looks like this. And this ?p =123 at the end is actually a query string. This is exactly the code that's run when the database is queried to get a post with this ID of 123. So if I save that as the setting for my permalinks and then I view a post, you can see that we've got p=4654 for this post. And don't forget that demo is part of the domain name for this particular demo site. So I don't know about you, but I don't think that's very SEO or user friendly. Users aren't gonna remember that, especially with that question mark and the equals in there. And search engines are gonna have nothing useful they can do with that. Nobody in the world is gonna be searching for 4654 when they're looking for something about social media. So let's try a different setting, Day and name. So I'll go back into my post screen, view that post. So now you can see we've got the slug at the end, which is the name of the post. And then before it, we've got the year, the month, and the date that it was posted on. Which might be useful if you think people are searching on your site or searching for content on your site where the date is important. So if this information is very specific to the year on which you posted it, you might wanna include the date. But to be honest, I think it's very unlikely they're going to need the actual date. In which case, you're probably better off with month and name. And if I change that, you can see the second 09 has gone. So this just tells me the year and the month in which it was posted. So if your content is very time specific, you might find there are SEO benefits to this. But there's not a lot of benefit in terms of user experience because you're creating a longer URL that's going to be harder for people to use. So let's try another option. Here's the Numeric option. Save that, and then I'll go back into my post list and view the post. The reason I can't refresh it every time is because that URL is changing, I get a 404 error. So here we've got archives/post ID. Might be okay for user experience, it's short, you could use it for short links for Twitter and so forth. But to be honest, you can do that with URL shorteners. And again, this gives you nothing for SEO. There's nothing in this URL that tells you anything about what's in the post or helps the search engine to find you. And it's added another section archives which is not very good for user experience. So let's move on to another option, Post name. And again, I'll go back to my post listing screen, and I'll view it. So now we just got the domain of the site, you remember includes that demo bit, and then the slug. So it's not strictly the post name, it's actually the slug and we can edit that. If I edit the post, we can edit that which we will do later on in the settings for this specific post. So that's a much prettier option and a much better option. Let me go back and view the post. A much better option for both SEO and to some extent user experience. So for SEO, we've got the words that I've used in this title, which might not be keywords, but social media, working, and marketing are in there. And they might be keywords that I'm targeting with this specific post. So a search engine is going to have more of a clue of what this post is about by its URL. However, for user experience purposes, it's very, very long and not all that user friendly. So we'll need to edit that later on in the course. Going back to the permalink settings, if you wanted to, you could add an additional element to the custom structure. So I'm gonna add blog and then I'll save that. Go back to my post listing screen, Keep going, keep going, and then I'll view it. So here we've got the domain name and then /blog, and then social-media-time-suck-when-you-should-be- -working-or-invaluable-tool-for-marketing. Now I don't think that blog adds a huge amount. But if you had a news site and you want to make it crystal clear that this is a news site, you might add news in there. So if you have a term that is very important for SEO or user experience purposes on your site, you could add that to your permalinks using this setting here. I'm gonna go back to just using Post name and save that. I'll go back and view my post and you can see that I've got this slug here. So that's how you configure the permalinks settings for individual posts. The other thing you can do is you can change the base for your categories. So if I go into the Categories screen in my site, you can see I've got a number of categories here. Some of which, but not all of which have got blog posts added to them. So let's take a look at what I could do with the permalinks for category archives. So if I then go into my Categories screen and I view an archive for one of these categories, let's take Productivity. You can see it's got category/productivity. Again, that might be important if for example you also have static pages with similar names to your categories in order to avoid any confusion. Or if maybe you want to use a word other than category that might be optimized for your SEO. So if I come down to Categories here, so maybe Learn if you've got a learning site. So now it says /learn/productivity. Now, that could be important for you if you want to differentiate between your different categories. But I would warn against using it if you've got long category names because it will make your URLs very long in total, which is not so good for user experience. For user experience, we need short memorable URLs that use real words that make sense. So that's an option for your categories and you can do the same for your tags if you want, so you could add the word tag for your tag basis. So if I leave this blank, it'll still say category. So it's changed back from learn to category because that's the default. So I might want to use topic instead and there you are, we can see topic/productivity. So that's another way that you can optimize the way that the whole permalink, the whole URL works. You can add this section here, topic, if you think that's going to be particularly important for SEO in particular. Not so much user experience, but you might find that the word topic is something that you're targeting more squarely than the word category. So that's how you configure the permalink settings in your site. In the next part of the course, I'll show you how to configure and edit the slug for an individual post to show you how you can make that more user friendly and optimize it for search engines. See you next time, and thanks for watching.

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