If you own a website, you most definitely want your page to sit at the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If reaching there is your goal, you need to get many things moving, including keywords, post titles, and much more. However, in nailing down all these factors, it’s easy to let something slip through the cracks, such as your ‘permalinks.’
A strong, search optimized and friendly URL format not only makes it easier for the users to share them, but it also assists search engines in finding, scanning, and ranking your pages in a better way. This, in turn, leads to higher rankings on search engines and increased traffic to your site.
Read along if you are looking for ways to get your site’s permalinks spruced up for the search. Let’s get started!
Introduction to Permalinks
A permalink — another name for the URL of a page on your website, is the string of text you type into the address bar to navigate the web. These links remain unchanged unless you deliberately plan to change them.
Usually, a permalink will include the site’s Top-Level Domain and a description of the specific page it points to. Let’s look at the reasons why the format and contents of your permalinks are essential.
- They act as the address for your site
- Permalinks help search engines find and index your pages
Maximize Your SEO With Permalinks
The default format of permalink structure on many sites, including WordPress, includes a page ID number, which isn’t useful to search engines or visitors. The numbers imitate the link as spam and tell the user nothing about the page’s content. Following this format will surely leave your SEO strategy undermined. There are Content Management Systems (CMS) that will offer you better options for the permalinks to eliminate the issue.
Some standard permalink formats include:
- Post name
- Day and post name
- Month and post name
The best format to follow is the post name or custom format, which is suitable for readability and SEO purposes.
5 Tips for Highly-Optimized Permalinks
Now let us take a look at five specific tips you can implement on your site to improve SEO.
Include Relevant Keywords
Your permalink is an additional opportunity to boost your SEO. If you are unsure about the significant keywords, you can take help from several SEO tools. If you’re using a structure-based permalink on the post name, make sure that it includes your most important keywords.
This will ensure the permalink is relevant to the page topic and gives you extra keyword density for search engines.
Use Hyphens in Your Links
This is precisely what the heading implies. Useful permalinks rely in part on readability, and one including multiple words should be easy to read.
Separate the words in your permalink with a hyphen instead of letting them run together. This will make the permalink easier to understand and read for the users and the search engines.
Keep Your Links Short
The links that rank most highly on SERPs average about 60 characters. As such, this also a good target for your permalinks.
Even if you can’t hit that target specifically, shorter links are likely to have less fluff and more robust keywords. What’s more, they’re also more comfortable for users to read, remember, and share.
Avoid Dates in Your Permalinks
You may have seen many permalinks with a year mentioned. However, dates in permalinks have relatively little SEO value, and in fact, can hurt your organic traffic quite a bit.
Here is why:
- They lengthen the permalink, which is terrible.
- They add an ‘expiration date’ to otherwise evergreen content. Readers may see the date and think the page contains outdated information, even if it’s still entirely relevant.
To avoid these reasons, stick to a simple post name format, or build your custom format without dates.
Stick to a Consistent Structure
Finally, a tip that will generally not significantly impact SEO, but it dramatically enhances the UX of your site. Simply put, keep your permalink structure consistent on a site-wide basis.
This gives readers something to expect and lets them easily understand where they are on your site at any given time. This will make it easier for returning users to navigate your site and boost organic traffic to your pages.
In context, regardless of what format you settle on for your site’s permalinks, make sure it’s consistent across the entire site. Defining permalinks will ensure consistency, and it’ll pay off in the end.
Permalinks are a crucial aspect of proper SEO. However, many site owners don’t give these the due attention they deserve. If optimized accurately, permalinks can be a powerful tool in your SEO arsenal and help propel your pages to the top of SERPs.