What is a Permalink?
Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual blog posts, categories & various other lists of your blog postings. A permalink is used to link to your article or or how you might send a link to your article in an e-mail message. The URL to each post is permanent, & never change — hence permalink. e.g. “http://yourdomainname.com/category/post-name/”
Why to Use Proper Permalinks?
Using right structure for Permalinks can help a great deal in Search Engine Optimization(SEO). The proper way to set up Permalinks is to include the keywords in it which could help you in Google rankings and it would also be easier for people to read the Permalinks, thus increases the Click-through rate(CTR).
Types of Permalinks and How To Change Permalink Structure?
1) Ugly permalink – http://yourdomainname.com/?p=123
2) Pretty permalink – http://yourdomainname.com/category/post-name/ or http://yourdomainname.com/year/month/day/post-name or http://yourdomainname.com/post-name/
The default setting for Permalinks in WordPress is “http://yourdomainname.com/?p=ID Number”. But this default URL structure does not benefit the reader & blog owner at all.
To change the pretty permalinks for your WordPress blog, select ‘Permalinks’ from Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
The best SEO permalink structure includes ‘category’ and the ‘post title’ in the URL.
It looks like this: “http://yourdomainname.com/category/post-title”. But avoid using category in the URL structure if your domain name and slug is long as that might lead to a very long URL which is harder to share & will not benefit you much in Google.
Some bloggers including me also use URL structure with just the post name: “http://yourdomainname.com/post-title” which is also great for SEO, so you don’t need to worry if you are using this.
You can change the permalink structure anytime & WordPress will do a 301 redirect from the old URLs to the new ones but be careful as changing Permalinks will push your pages out of Google’s index for some time, thus decreasing your Traffic.
How To Safely Change Your WordPress Permalink Structure
1) Yoast: You can use Yoast’s redirect tool to safely change the WordPress Permalink Structure.
2) Advanced Permalinks: Use this plugin to keep the same URL for all your old posts & then create a new permalink structure for new ones.