WordPress SEO Tips Part VI – Proper Permalink Structure

wordpress-seo-tips-6WordPress SEO Tips Part VI

This is part of our continue WordPress SEO Tips Series.  You can follow along by visiting our WordPress SEO Tips category to see all of the previous articles.

WordPress SEO Tips Part VI – Proper Permalink Structure

Matt Cutts, a Google Engineer, has been quoted as saying that WordPress takes care of 90% of SEO issues for you automatically.  Which is why WordPress is the number one choice for most bloggers.

But that leaves 10% of SEO work left to be done by you – the user.  And properly structuring your permalinks certainly falls under that 10% area.

What Are Permalinks

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a permalink is “… a URL that points to a specific blog or forum entry after it has passed from the front page to the archives.

Here’s a permalink to my previous post here at Social Media SEO:

http://socialmediaseo.net/2009/11/02/twitter-lists-2-rss-google-reader/

There are a few parts to this permalink worth noting:

1) the main URL (http://socialmediaseo.net),

2) date structure (2009/11/02),

3) post specific keywords (twitter-lists-2-rss-google-reader)

My permalink is structure so that each post is date specific (2009/11/02), which means that will part will change on a daily basis.

I strongly recommend you use the data structure as a permalink because if you are writing a lot about a certain topic, then the post specific keywords might be same as some of your older posts.

And to avoid a duplicate content issue, or more importantly to ensure that your posts are indexed in Google as individual posts, the date structure ensures that your posts will always be unique.

How To Structure WordPress Permalinks

The way you optimize your WordPress permalinks is as follows:

1) go to your wordpress dashboard > settings > permalinks

2) for the method I described above, click the “Day and name” option

3) click “save changes”

*** WARNING ***

The one permalink structure to avoid is the “default” permalink.  The default permalink option sets all of your post URL’s to a page number and they would look something like this (http://socialmediaseo.net/?p=123)

SEO Strategies For Permalinks

Here’s where the real magic of permalinks comes in – the ability to utilize keywords in the URL.

Remember – the permalinks define the URL of each individual blog post.  And in WordPress, you can actually specific (customize) these URL’s.

Login to your WordPress blog and open up one of your existing blog postings (click to edit it).

Right underneath your TITLE, you notice a section called “Permalink:

The very last part of the Permalink: section is the portion of your URL that is editable.  And since you can customize the URL in this fashion, this is a great opportunity to target additional keyword phrases for your post.

The more keyword phrases your posts are optimized for, the more likely you’ll be found in Google for a wider range of keyword phrases – which is a good thing!

Using Keyword Variations in Permalinks

First, you should be using keyword phrases in the titles of your WordPress blog posts (read WordPress SEO Tips Part III – Be Keyword Concious).

Since you are using your best keywords in your title, there may be some other keyword variations that are relevant to your article, but not realistic for your title.

This is where the power of the permalink comes in!

In the “editable” section of the permalink, use keywords that are variations of your main keywords in your title, or even completely different (but relevant and related) keywords.

The “permalink” is a very powerful place to get your WordPress blog posts optimized for keyword phrases.  It is almost (but not quite) as effective as the title tag (your blog post titles).

How To Structure Keywords in Permalinks

You’ll find a million different ways that people structure the “editable” portion of the URL’s in WordPress blogs.  But I’m going to tell you the absolute best way to do this so that you get maximum exposure in Google, and to ensure your blog postings are optimized for crawling and indexing in search engines.

Use the “keyword-dash-keyword-dash-method”

Ok – this is something I just made up, but I’m trying to make a point here.

Use dashes between your keywords!

Here are 2 great reasons to use dashes in between your keywords:

1) Because Matt Cutts – the Google Engineer – says so.  In  a video about WordPress blogs, Matt Cutts recommended that everyone structure their permalinks with dashes between their keywords.

2) The dashes between keywords allows Google to see each word individually, thus allowing your blog postings to have maximum exposure for a wider range of keywords.

Here are a couple of examples of this method at work here at my Social Media SEO blog and I will use the WordPress SEO Tips series of postings as my example:

Example 1: http://socialmediaseo.net/2009/10/27/wordpress-seo-tips-part-v-use-keyword-rich-categories-tags/

Here’s the title to this post:  “WordPress SEO Tips Part V – Use Keyword Rich Categories & Tags”

Notice how I’ve used dashes in between each of the keywords.  There weren’t really any other keyword prhases I wanted to use, so it’s the same keyword phrases.

Example 2: http://socialmediaseo.net/2009/10/12/wordpress-seo-tips-part-4-url-seo/

Here’s the title to this post:  WordPress SEO Tips Part IV – Optimize Your URL’s

Here you will notice that I’ve used different keywords in the permalink than what were used in the title.

The Take A Way

The bottom line is that permalinks are a great way for you to maximize the traffic, exposure, and SEO of each and every blog posting within your WordPress blog.

Utilizing the “Date and time” permalink option ensures that all of your blog posts will be unique, even if in the future you have some overlap of keyword prhases.  This is because the “Date and time” permalink option gives each of your blog posts today’s date in the URL.

Utilize the editable portion of the “Permalink:” section (directly under the title of blog posts) to optimize your blog postings for more keyword phrases that are relevant to your article.

Place a dash between each of the keywords that you use in your editable permalink section.  This ensures that Google sees each keyword individually, and you’re maximizing the SEO elements of the URL.

  • Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

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    • Hi Tom – thanks for the comment – looking forward to you visiting more often!

  • Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

    • Hi Tom – thanks for the comment – looking forward to you visiting more often!

  • @SocialMedia_SEO

    Hi SEO Wann Be – thanks for visiting our blog and for your comments!

  • @SocialMedia_SEO

    Hi SEO Wann Be – thanks for visiting our blog and for your comments!

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  • Question. If I make the change from "month and name" to "day and name" do I run the risk of hurting SEO from my past articles?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Patrick – thanks for posting your question. As long as you keep the "name" element in your permalink (URL), then it won't matter if you change it. The reason you want to maintain the name element is because of the keyword presence in your URL – which in turn, helps with the natural SEO exposure of your site.

      Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more questions… Thanks again!

  • Question. If I make the change from "month and name" to "day and name" do I run the risk of hurting SEO from my past articles?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Patrick – thanks for posting your question. As long as you keep the "name" element in your permalink (URL), then it won't matter if you change it. The reason you want to maintain the name element is because of the keyword presence in your URL – which in turn, helps with the natural SEO exposure of your site.

      Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more questions… Thanks again!

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