What Is the Best Permalink Structure in WordPress?

A lot of people who are into search engine optimization vary on this. Personally I use /%postname%/ and set it up for my own clients. Why?

It is easy and contains the keywords necessary for the optimal search. I am not known as an expert, but I have built quite a few sites that have improved well through ranking. I believe this has been the best. I know there are people that like %postname%.html and /%category%/%postname%/.

Why is it not as great to put the date or category in the URL structure?

Well, you are telling the search engine that the day and the category are more important than the article itself. For those who write tutorials and helpful topics, it is not the date or category that people are looking for in the search engine.

The great thing about WordPress is that is is easy to choose a custom structure and while posting, you can have a page slug that sums up the article, while the actual post name is longer. A lot of times this is to focus on keywords.

By the way, I really think that if you have not, you should check out Matt Cutt’s article Straight from Google: What You Need to Know. If you noticed, Matt Cutts uses a post name structure, but he also utilizes custom slugs where his URL path contains keywords the sums up his post, and his title is different. The article contains a slide show and video too. Another person I recommend that has a lot of experience is Joost de Valk.

As a note, with WordPress 3.3, this ability to select the Post Name structure had been added, so you no longer have to manually type a custom structure.

What permalink structure do you use for your website and why? Any SEO tips for WordPress users?

Comments

  1. says

    using %postname%/ for our permalink is a good choice when we need our URL crawled by google and it will put our content as a priority than we put /%category%/%postname%/

  2. says

    Yes, that is true. %postname%/ is the best permalink structure. I have experimented with all those you have mentioned in your post & found this one to perform better in search engines.

  3. says

    I’ve taken up the /blog/%postname%”.html” on our blog because then if I decide to re categorise or move the post (or if it appears in 2 categories) then we won’t get a duplicate content penalty.

    You see with /category/postname.html you can run into problems later on and have to mess about with a load of 301′s or the like…

  4. says

    Both matt cutts and yoast follows postname permalink but it’s not like that you will get on first page by using this permalink. if you are using category then also you can use this for your advantage by making your category your focus keyword for ex: if you have a blog about SEO then you can have a category name SEO and it will be added to your URL giving you keyword advantage. Though using dates in your URL is not a good option it will only make the URL. How to Blog

    • says

      No, you will not automatically get on the first page, and I would never tell anyone that unless I wanted to ruin my reputation in the WordPress, Blogging and SEO communities….lol

      • says

        Actually your reply making me lol.. do you really think that this info is not available on other sites. Come on, it’s the info that best people in SEO share so are you saying that they are ruining their reputation in blogging and i would say that they are helping others by sharing their knoweldge and believe me if someone wants to learn this info it is available all over net. So i really don’t think what i said was so unique unless a newbie is reading this.
        and if were a newbie, the way you have replied i would definitely feel that you don’t want to share worth reading info. SEO experts can write a whole book on SEO and this is just a paragraph. Hope you will approve this comment for your readers.

        • says

          You misunderstand. I would not tell people false information…that is what I meant. English must not be your first language. I apologize if you did not understand.

          • says

            You guessed it right Nile. English ain’t my first language actually i wasn’t hoping that there is some wrong info in what i wrote so i took your reply in other way, I was wrong Matt cutts not using Postname permalink structure( recently read an article on SEO in which it was written Matt uses http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/remove-result/) So i took blog as his page name and remove-result as his Postname permalink structure didn’t checked Matt site, my bad. I would like to edit it but now i can’t and if anything except that is false then i would really like to know.

  5. says

    Nice tips, thanks a lot for sharing them. Permalinks are vital if you want your blog to be successful and having the right structure is very important.

  6. says

    When we want to get result in our favor then we should have knew about that all options like this one which will do lots of help for us.

  7. says

    Hi Nile,

    I faced an issue with using the date in the URL structure in one of my blogs, so I have moved to using only the %postname% in the permalinks for all blogs now..

    I have also noticed that WordPress now offers it as a Custom permalink structure by default.

  8. says

    Hi Nile,

    I do agree with you – Using the % and or with the – Sign works well; especially with guiding the user to a page that is readable in the URL by first glance. Having a good permalink structure is important not only for the users but for the Search Engines as well.

  9. says

    Hi Nile I want to changed my Permalink but the posts indexed in google responds in nothing found for…..so what should I do? I also want to change it…………….

  10. says

    First of all , being a newbie blogger , I was much biased about appropriate permalink structure! Now I got to know about the perfect permalink structure and I have to change my permalinks for my past posts of my personal blogs! Thanks Nile

  11. says

    I personally like the post name structure. It looks way cleaner and should have your keywords in it. I like to make the post name my keyword but like 1 or two other words not the whole post name.

  12. says

    I always used the %postname% structure for permalinks as I believe it works best for SEO. However I have read from some other bloggers that using %postname% causes your site to load slower than using a permalink with year and date in front of the post name. Not sure how true this is, but this might affect how big authority sites choose their permalink structure.

  13. Jeffrey T. Sooey says

    Thanks for sharing this information. I am not familiar with permalinks for SEO and this post has helped me understand its use and importance more clearly. Thanks!

  14. says

    Yeah, I have been using /%postname%/ since the beginnig.
    I can’t believe WP has only added this option (without needing to click on ‘custom type’ and copying it) a couple months ago.

  15. says

    I agree postname is the best permalink structure in terms of SEO but it is actually the slowest URL structure. Therefore if you use it make sure you use a caching plugin.

  16. says

    Hello Nile

    I also you the /%postname%/ permalink structure. I have seen so many site were people still have the default permalink structure in place and it is awful. I do often wonder why the default is set as it is and not to something more readily user friendly like /%postname%/. I know some people like to include the category on their permalink structure too just as you mentioned but I have never felt the need to do so …. Great share :)

  17. says

    Hi Nile I use this permalink structure /%category%/%postname%/ but probably it would be better if I used /%postname%/ from the beginning, Anyway since I cannot change it now without losing backlinks I think that it’s the second best choise…

    • says

      The wordpress plugin, Advanced Permalinks will allow you to change the structure of all future posts while creating redirects for existing posts so that all backlinks can be retained. Although it has not been recently updated, it works perfectly with the latest release of wordpress.

      • says

        PS: The fact that my commentluv link below still works is proof of this – the post was originally produced using a structure that included the date but having read the post above, I have now changed it to /%postname%/

  18. says

    Nile,

    Your reasoning is sound. However, I have over 100 blog posts now and I started with the old stupid date/%postname structure because I started by myself and no one told me any better.

    If you were me, would you change your permalink structure now? Should I do 301 redirects for all 100 posts?

    What would you do if you were me?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

    ~ Jupiter JIm

  19. says

    hey nile,
    i was using a custom structure like sitename-date-category-postname but after reading this article i have changed it. and the reason you wrote here has some meaning. no one is going to read your date and category
    thanks for this post

  20. says

    Sometimes have categories in the URL is good. If I want to improve ranking for searches containing “web design” if all my pages under “web design” category will have structure like /web design/toronto as URL, it’s definitely a good thing and it lets me not to repeat keywords needlessly in page titles. I use custom CMS engine, but I believe it’s the same in WordPress.

  21. says

    I use /%postname%/. It is much better for long tail key word searches as well. For example, Shoes-Mens Shoes-Nike-Lowcut-blue. My post would appear in many search results as opposed to just shoes or men’s shoes. The more specific the better.

  22. says

    I have a Question regarding this that “I have seen many using post name and .html at the end so which is good simple closing or by using simple post name?

  23. says

    Sometimes have categories in the URL is good. If I want to improve ranking for searches containing “web design” if all my pages under “web design” category will have structure like /web design/toronto as URL, it’s definitely a good thing and it lets me not to repeat keywords needlessly in page titles. I use custom CMS engine, but I believe it’s the same in WordPress

  24. says

    I also use %postname%/

    My advice would be to use Yoast as it has some really key features for SEO that wordpress lacks. Also the ‘page menu editor’ plugin is handy if you want the name of the page to be different to the link in your sidebar to it.

  25. says

    I think /%postname%/ is better but, better to stick with your existing permalink structure. Changing your permalink structure will effect your traffic and seo.

  26. says

    Another advantage to keeping the category name out of the permalink is that it gives you the freedom to put posts in a different category, or rename / delete a category without changing the post url.

  27. says

    Yes, that is true. %postname%/ is the best permalink structure. I have experimented with all those you have mentioned in your post & found this one to perform better in search engines.

  28. says

    I absolutely agree that %postname% is undoubtedly the best permalink structure. Permalink is a URL that names a particular blog or forum entry after it has passed from the front page to the archives. For the reason that a permalink remains untouched for an indefinite period, it is less vulnerable to link rot. The majority modern web blogging and content-syndication software systems support such links. Permanence in links is sought-after when content items are likely to be linked to, from, or cited by a source outside the originating organization. Amplified number of content and intricacy of management led to the increase of database-driven systems, and the resulting unmanageable and often-changing URLs necessitated premeditated policies with regard to URL design and link permanence.

  29. says

    Hi Nile,

    I use the %postname% structure, but I usually use the permalink “edit” feature under the post title to make it shorter. So for example, if I was targeting the keyword “blue widgets” and if my blog post was titled, “3 Tips For Getting More Out Of Blue Widgets”, then I might edit my permalink so that the link to the post would just be domain.com/blue-widgets instead of domain.com/3-tips-for-getting-more-out-of-blue-widgets . That’s mostly done for SEO purposes, but I’ve found it doesn’t make much of a difference as long as your keyword gets in there somewhere.

  30. says

    am using the %postname& structure and i think it serves right as it helps in reducing the long url to a shorter one and i also think it helps in terms of seo.

  31. says

    I’d say it completely depends on the type of page and its depth in the site. Standard pages should reflect where they “live” within the context of the site, should include keywords (separated by hyphens) and remain relatively short. Blog posts should include some iteration of the date as well as the blog post title (slightly edited to remove useless words and keep length under control).

    Avoid parameters, useless numbers and so on. Just with these basics you should have a 90% optimized URL.

  32. says

    I am doing blogging from a while but I was on blogger but now I moved to wordpress for professional blogging, but as I am new with it I wasn’t knowing that permalinks also affect SEO.

  33. says

    Considering my Google webmaster and S.E.O. audit software both same first thing on every site “clean up URL structure” i have always opted for the simple %postname%. I don’t think a URL could get much cleaner although I have seen other variations used more commonly for word stuffing techniques.

  34. says

    I think post id and then post name is the best permalink structure. All of my sites have the same structure and it’s doing great.

    • says

      If you use the Post ID, you are telling Google and other search engines that your Post ID is more important. That would not help you, nor be a logical move for SEO. Now, you could do a custom structure where if it is a certain category, like videos… you could have your domain/watches/postname or your domain/video/postname would work great. Post ID really is something these days only necessary for designing a different post or page template in WordPress, or when dealing with MySQL.

  35. says

    I’ve always used %postname% for my permalinks. I think keeping it short and clean is the way to go. Stuffing keywords in there is just asking for a new Google update to ruin you. IMO

  36. says

    I’m using the stupid year month postname, but if i change now it will affect all posts which s….
    I was told that it was faster to access…

  37. says

    I remember listening to the wisdom of using ‘post date/postname’ so that one could use the same post title more than once.

    It seemed good advice at the time, but now I see the appeal of just ‘postname’ – because even if the slug is short and catchy, the date certainly is never going to be short and catchy.

    That is on top of the fact that a good post that is a couple of years old can seem ‘old’ just because there is a date attached to it.

    So nowadays I am of the same mind as you – just the postname (and don’t worry about maybe just maybe wanting to used the same post title in the future).

  38. says

    I think the safest bet is to use /%postname%/ structure if you’re unsure what to use. At least there’s no huge downside for it. I’m not entirely sure but I have a strong feeling that in some occasions Google favors pages with dates in urls though…

  39. says

    But I have seen many “big” websites with hundreds of pages and post still rank well for the homepage yet the permalink is only date-month-year. So how much does this permalink do make differences?

  40. says

    When I first set up my WordPress Blog I chose %postname% permalink structure right off the bat because it seemed to me the most logical. I didn’t see any need in using the one that adds the date because if it is older people may not feel the information is relevant for what they are looking for.

  41. says

    i think %postname% is the best permalink structure. because it just contains website name and post name not day time or year or category.

  42. says

    I too think using post name is better, this is because it helps improve clickthrough rates; people are more likely to click on your listing in the search engine if your pages url contains keywords from their search term. On the flip side, putting the date in your url, lets people immediately know the age of your article, which I think is a bad thing unless what you’ve written is time dependent, like a news article on a specific event. Any other circumstance and having the date in the url serves no real benefit.

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