Permalinks Explained

March 16, 2016
Katharine Shindoll

If you’ve read my article about image optimization, you already know that taking advantage of file titles can make a huge difference when auditing your site’s SEO performance; the same principle applies to site URLs, product downloads, portfolio listings, news articles, etc. In fact, every clickable element on your site has its own distinct and unique Permalink. How you choose to archive your website has a significant impact on keyword counts and how your pages are being processed by search engine crawlers. I must preface the remainder of this article by saying this: permalinks are some of the most misunderstood elements on the web and there is a lot of misinformation regarding URLs out there, so tread carefully.

Slugs

The first element of note in a permalink is the permalink slug, or a hyphenated group of words assigned to individual clickable elements of a site. To properly identify what a permalink slug is, the slug for this page is “permalinks-explained.”

Note: Before you publish a page, you must understand that once a permalink has been assigned, it cannot be changed without risking broken links and a website full of 404 errors. As a best practice, I always recommend using the targeted keyword as the slug.

Titles

While the title of your page or article may be the same as your slug or target keyword, it isn’t required or necessary. In some cases, the title of an article will be completely different, and that is ok as long as the title aligns with your overall SEO goals.

Dates

Including dates in your slug does not impact the overall SEO of a website, however if you ever plan on posting content with frequency, I’d recommend including dates to keep articles sorted and eliminate the chance of broken links in the future.

Wording

Make sure your website’s slugs are written in plain English. Pages archived as examplesite.com/12345 or examplesite.com/pg-mrtge-calc don’t help your overall SEO; however, pages archived as examplesite.com/how-to-use-mortgage-calculator or examplesite.com/best-hotels-chicago-2016 contain potential keywords that increase a site’s odds of being ranked well on search engines.

Making sure your categories and article tags are SEO compliant is the next step in search engine favorability. Furthermore, applying this logic to all archiving methods on your website, including author filters and search queries, and can only increase your chances of being ranked well on search engines. For more advanced insight into how permalinks are affecting your SEO performance, contact us!

Was this article helpful? Do you have questions about site permalinks? Let us know! Helping clients better understand their websites is what we live for at Geezeo Interactive!

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