What Are Permalinks?

While working on your site, you’ve probably encountered the term “permalinks.” But what are permalinks, and why do they matter?

Permalinks can greatly influence how people discover content on your site. Here’s what you need to know about permalinks, including how to create them in WordPress.com.

What are permalinks?

Simply put, a permalink is a permanent link that is usually associated with a blog post or page on your WordPress.com site. From the string of words contained in a permalink, people should be able to tell what it’s about without viewing the content in that page or post. And with the right permalink in place, they can do just that.

As Yoast notes, permalinks play a key role in your site’s SEO visibility. Google uses the permalinks you’ve created when indexing content on your site. Other people use them to link back to your site, which helps it rank higher in search engine results. You might also use permalinks to share content from your site on social media channels.

A permalink usually has two components: your domain name and what’s called a slug — the part of the URL that comes after the domain name. (Blog posts typically also contain a publication date in their permalink.) If you make yours easy for others to understand and share, you can help boost your site’s SEO. This way, potential visitors will be more likely to discover your site.

How to create a permalink in WordPress.com

Here’s some good news: you don’t need to create permalinks in WordPress.com, as the platforms generates them for you automatically. However, if you wish to change your permalink structure, you can explore other options with WordPress plugins that offer that functionality (note: to enable plugins on your WordPress.com site, you’ll need a Business or eCommerce plan). Changing your permalink settings can affect your site’s SEO performance, so if you choose to customize them, it’s best to pick your WordPress.com permalink structure carefully and deliberately. When possible, it’s also preferable to configure your settings before launching your site — that way, you can reap the greatest SEO benefits.

Creating custom permalinks for individual posts and pages

Even after you’ve changed your permalink structure, you can still optimize the slug of a particular page or post to make it more SEO-friendly based on keyword research that you’ve performed. Custom permalinks generally have the added benefit of informing visitors of what’s in that page or post before they visit it.

While you have the page or post open for editing, look under the right sidebar where it says Post Settings. From there, scroll down to More Options and edit the URL Slug field:

WordPress.com URL slug

Once you’ve finished making the desired changes, click the Update button at the top right-hand corner of your screen.

Enhance your SEO

Permalinks may seem like a small detail at first glance, but they actually affect how search engines rank your site and how well visitors can understand the content of your site’s posts and pages. By taking a moment to think about your WordPress.com permalinks and slugs, you can increase the likelihood that visitors will discover and engage with it.

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