Remember sitting behind a huge computer monitor and switching between a piece of paper and the browser bar in Internet Explorer so that you wouldn’t mistype a URL like this: http://www.WordPress.com/239.asne.c80o_q3wjrbkxzc0-mn234ovkmr/qiwu4h?
This isn’t a real URL, but you get the point.
Those not-so-SEO-friendly URLs were a pain to type. Based on the web address alone, you had no way of knowing what you’d see once the page opened. Thankfully, that’s all changed.
Now, we have URLs like: www.WordPress.com/features. These are a lot easier to read and input, and they tell us exactly what to expect.
In WordPress, the set of letters and numbers that come after the “.com” (or whatever other domain ending you’ve chosen) is called a slug, and together they form a permalink (short for permanent link). It’s used to direct visitors to specific pages and posts.
Having good permalinks can impact your search engine rankings for different topics in your niche, and gives readers an idea of what a particular page is about. Here’s how to make the most of your permalinks.
1. Place primary keywords first
Your URL tells search engines what your content is about, but it also lets readers know what to expect.
While a computer algorithm might scan the characters of a URL, a human won’t. This is why it’s important to place your important keywords first. Coincidentally, search engines prioritize the words that come first in a URL.
If it makes sense, change your page URLs to match your target keyword phrases word-for-word. For example, if your target keyword is “copywriting for artists,” you could create a permalink like this: www.getcopypower.com/copywriting-for-artists.
If this doesn’t make sense for your situation, get as close as you can. Thankfully, search-engine intelligence has advanced enough to pick up on general topics, and it won’t punish you if things aren’t phrased word-for-word.
2. Make permalinks “human readable”
“Having short, sensible, and human-readable permalinks on your WordPress site isn’t just good for search engines,” says Caldera Labs founder Josh Pollock. “They help humans make sense of the URLs and make it easy to remember a URL,” says Pollock.
Just as it’s not a good idea to include keywords within your content for the sake of SEO (commonly known as “keyword stuffing”), it’s also not a good idea to keyword-stuff your URLs. Pick a permalink that makes sense, and go with it. Otherwise, you risk alienating your visitors.
Creating SEO-friendly URLs doesn’t have to be a difficult process. When you do begin editing, try to match the URL to your target keyword for that page.
Still not ranking as well as you want to be? Check out WordPress.com’s Search Engines FAQ.
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