How To Change It Without Losing Links

How To Change It Without Losing Links


WordPress Permalinks are a fundamental part of your site as both search engines and visitors use these URLs to index and visit your website. The type of permalink you select affects the way these two entities see and understand your website. A URL with tons of incomprehensible gibberish at the end is a lot less shareable on social media than a short and simple SEO-friendly URL.

The permalink is the complete URL you see– and utilize– for any given post, page, or other pieces of content on your website. It’s a long-term URL link, hence the name permalink. It could include your domain name (theblogpress.com) plus what’s called a slug, the piece of the URL that follows the domain. The slug may consist of a date, a category, or other descriptors you wish to include. A simple permalink structure makes the URL easier to understand for the average person. 

https://theblogpress.com/category/post-name

It might likewise be something like:

https://theblogpress.com/10/10/2017/post-name

or

https://theblogpress.com/post-name

By default, WordPress uses a cryptic permalink structure that’s not SEO-friendly and difficult for an average person to understand. The default permalinks look something like this:

https://theblogpress.com/?p=101

The number at the end is the WordPress Post ID. It’s short article number 101 in the database of your website.

While Google may understand the content on that page, a URL like this does nothing for your SEO. It does not describe what sort of content the page uses, and it’s not something that users are inclined to share. And did we discuss that it’s not professional-looking?

If your URL includes relevant words, this supplies users and search engines with more information about the topic of your article than any ID or technical jargon does.

As we mentioned before, please cautious when changing your permalinks if your website has been around for a while. Altering your permalinks if you already have a lot of material can cause issues such as 404 errors.

Before you make any modifications to your site’s link structure, it’s essential to make a backup of your website just in case. It’s also wise to evaluate your changes on a staging website before you implement them on your live website, so you can troubleshoot any concerns that might develop.

Time required: 15 minutes.

Here are the EXACT steps I take to quickly and easily update WordPress permalinks without creating broken links:

  1. First, Decide On The New Permalink Structure.

    It is critical that you not make any modifications until you have made 100% positively sure of your decision. 
    WordPress has a great guide on utilizing permalinks. 

    In general, the “Post name” option is the best choice for most users, although news and event-related sites might want to stick with dates in the permalink. 

  2. Next, Log In To Your WordPress Website To Change The Permalink Structure In WordPress.

    This will take you to the WordPress Dashboard.

  3. Click on ‘Settings.’

    On the left-hand side of the WordPress Dashboard, you will see a menu. In that menu, click ‘Settings.’

  4. Click on ‘Permalinks.’

    The ‘Settings’ menu will expand, offering you extra options. Click on ‘Permalinks.’

  5. Select ‘Post name.’
  6. Click ‘Save modifications.’

    Your permalinks are now updated! This update will directly modify all of your internal URLs with the brand-new syntax.

  7. Click on ‘SEO.’

    I use and recommend Yoast SEO Premium for managing the SEO-related tasks on my websites. But you can also use one of the other plugins mentioned below.

  8. Click on ‘Redirects.’

    The ‘SEO’ menu will expand. Click on ‘Redirects.’

  9. Click on the ‘Regex Redirects’ tab at the top of the page.
  10. Create a new Regex Redirect

    The instructions below assume that you are moving from Day and name. (See below for how we came up with this structure.)

    Type: Select ‘301 Moved Permanently’ from the drop-down list.
    Regular Expression: Enter the following exactly: /(d*)/(d*)/(d*)/([A-Za-z0-9-]*)
    URL: Enter the following exactly: /$4
    Click ‘Add Redirect.’

  11. Go to https://yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml

    This will show a full list of the XML sitemaps for yoursite.com.

  12. Log in to https://search.google.com/

    If you have not verified your domain with Google, you will need to do that by following these instructions: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9008080

  13. In the Google Search Console, click on ‘Sitemaps.’
  14. Add your sitemaps.

    Using the ‘Add a new sitemap’ form at the top of the page, copy-paste the URL for your sitemap and click ‘submit.’ Repeat this until you’ve added all of your sitemaps.

  15. Congratulations!

You might think this is an obvious YES; however, if you’ve been blogging for a while, you may not want to jump to any fast conclusions. 

If you have already been utilizing dates in your permalink structure for the past few years, then it may not be such a good idea to move to a new Permalink structure without them. If you’re just getting started, switching will not cause too much damage and may even be a long-term win for you.

But, if you’re using the archaic “old-style” URLs (?p=345), then it will definitely be a good idea to change the permalink structure despite the length of time you’ve been blogging. This update will considerably enhance your blog’s potential to be discovered in Google’s search engine results.

Ensure you choose a permalink structure that fits your objectives. If you have a news website, it might still make good sense to add the post’s publication date to the URL. 

If, however, you are preparing to write killer foundation material that has to stand the test of time, it’s not advised to use a date in the URL as this might make the content appearance ‘old.’ This can dramatically reduce the clicks to your site from search results.

Utilizing dates in your URL never had many advantages. When you include dates to your permalink structure, you automatically ‘date’ your posts. People will naturally search for posts with a more recent date, assuming that they include the best details. Sometimes older posts can contain a lot of valuable information, but they won’t get the same amount of clicks and traffic because of the date in the URL.

Should I Include The Post Category In The Permalink Structure?

Suppose your domain is nice and short, and you utilize short yet descriptive classification names. In that case, you can easily include a classification in your permalink structure that can benefit your site but beware. If you wind up with a long slug and category name, sharing the URL will be more complicated and will not have much-added worth in Google.

If you choose to utilize categories in your permalink structure, ensure that you only select one classification per post. For some more information relating to using Categories in your permalink structure, I recommend you to see the following video by Matt Cutts.

We advise using a simple and straightforward permalink structure. In 90% of the cases, this will be the “post name” option.

Ending your post URL with the “post name” is the favored approach, and optionally, if you choose to do so, you can also include the Category in the URL, which results in one of the two following permalink structures:

  1. /% postname%/
  2. /% category%/% postname%/

Another bonus is to include your primary post topic (keyword) in the title of your blog post.

Is It Better To Have Keywords In The URL Path Or Filename?

Does The Position Of Keywords In The URL Affect Ranking?

More On 301 Redirects

As we mentioned before, altering the structure of your permalinks is the easy part. Now, however, you need to deal with the fallout. All references to your previous links are broken and need to be updated. 

Another adverse effect is that any content previously indexed by online search engines is also incorrect.

You can correct any potentially broken links by setting up 301 redirects on your website. 

A 301 redirect essentially tells any web browser that concerns your website utilizing an old permalink structured URL where the appropriate material is. It also lets online search engines understand that this is an irreversible modification. You’ll most likely likewise want to personalize your 404 pages too to catch any broken internal or manual links that you may have neglected.

Previously, you would have to add these redirects manually to your .htaccess file on your web server. Thankfully, with WordPress, there are a few plugin options to make things much more straightforward for you.

Is There A Limit To How Many 301 (Permanent) Redirects I Can Do On A Site?

Processing 301 Redirects

Option 1: The Simple 301 Redirects Plugin

To quickly produce the redirects on your WordPress, one option is the Simple 301 Redirects plugin. When you have installed and activated the plugin, it includes a new menu to the Settings area of your control panel.

Fortunately, there isn’t a lot to set up or configure with the 301 Redirects plugin. In the 301 Redirects settings window, you get two primary fields. One is ‘Request’ and the other ‘Destination.’ 

As shown in the image above, the ‘Request’ field is the WordPress setup for the Month and Name permalink structure. The ‘Destination’ field is the WordPress configuration for the new Post name permalink structure. When you have added these two fields, then save your changes. This update will now redirect any traffic to the old link over to the new location.

Option 2: The Redirection Plugin

Another plugin we recommend for adding and handling all of your redirects is the Redirection plugin.

To use the Redirection plugin, first install it on your WordPress control panel. Then, navigate to Tools > Redirection to point the pages and posts on your site to their brand-new links. Merely go into the old permalink into the Source URL field and the new permalink structure into the ‘Target URL’ field, and then save your changes.

This update is “reindexing,” and it’s only a suggestion to the Search Engines. Regrettably, this is beyond your control as a site owner. Online search engines routinely crawl sites and update when they discover changes so that this issue will fix itself over time.

You can, nevertheless, assist the procedure along by developing an XML Sitemap, and after that, resubmit your website for reindexing with an online search engine.

Here’s how to ask Google to recrawl your site: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/ask-google-to-recrawl

How Long Does It Take For Googlebot To Recrawl A Page?

If you use Yoast SEO Premium as we do, then steps 3 and 4 are much simpler because the plugin has a built-in redirect manager and well and site map generator.

Conclusion

It is always best to address details like permalinks and domain names before launching a new site, but hey, no one is perfect. You may still need to change your permalink structure after your site has launched. If you end up in this uncomfortable scenario, you require a cautious strategy to prevent disturbance to your site (both internally and externally).

Altering your site’s permalink structure is something that must be thought about and planned before you do anything.

While making the modification and restricting the problems has never been simpler, you might still take an SEO hit to your site. Even though that may be OK in the short-term, if you are changing to a more SEO-friendly permalink structure, but it isn’t something you want to need to update continuously. Choose your brand-new permalink structure and stick with it.



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