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How to Set Up Custom Permalinks in WordPress

by Ben Larweh
custom permalinks in wordpress

Start by learning How to Set up Custom Permalinks in WordPress

Creating a well-optimized site URL is the best thing you can do to increase or improve your site SEO.

This post will guide you on how to create well-optimized custom permalinks for your WordPress site, let’s get started by learning a few things about permalinks.

What are permalinks and how to set up custom permalinks in WordPress?

Permalinks in browser

Permalinks in browser

Permalinks stand as an online address for your website content. It is said that permalinks decide how search engines see and locate your website content,

It also decides how easy it would be for your site visitors to see and feel the content of your site (web pages.

Permalink shouldn’t change anyhow unless you have a strong reason to,

that’s why it is easier to set up permalinks on a newly created website than an existing site.

WordPress is easy to use, it gives you the option to edit and control how your permalink looks,

so as to create perfect permalinks that will suit your site Search Engine Optimization techniques or marketing strategies.

 Things to note before you set up custom permalinks WordPress

One thing to note about permalink is that once you create a post that has a certain permalink,

it retains the link forever even though you modify or make changes to the content of the post.

It will only change if you manually edit the permalink, once you change the permalink to a new one, the old link becomes useless and it will bring about a 404-page error.

You can solve that by using 301 redirection codes to make the old link redirect to the new one. The new link will be regarded as a new post entirely.

As I said earlier it is better for you to change your site permalink early while it is still new in order to avoid lots of broken internal links and loss in traffic.

I have many reasons why you might want to change your site permalink, by default permalinks are set to work without having SEO in mind.

You need to change that yourself to make sure your site permalink speaks about your site.

List of the reasons for you to set up custom permalinks in WordPress

Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategies might give you a reason to change your site permalinks,

if you are going for a site that makes use of recommendations or affiliates, you might need to adjust your site link to look professional and simple as possible.

SEO Improvement (Search Engine Optimization)

I have seen SEO as one of the reasons why people change their site permalink,


for a good site ranking scheme, your site permalink is recommended to be well optimized, readable, and simple.

By default we all have WordPress creating site permalink by adding /?p=123, your site content might be index but you will experience lots of troubles ranking or indexing your site posts most of the time.

Google made it known that their bots work in a simple way to quickly index site as soon as it is updated, but the /?p=123 permalink might affect how Google bots handle your site content.

It makes the bots crawl your site slowly as they need to identify the original post and also your site users will find it difficult to understand your site content URL.

Assuming you created a post and the link is “https://mysitename.com/?p=456” and you want the post to rank for keyword fresh green vegetables,


Google will crawl and index the content but it might appear at the top when users search for the keyword.

Even though it ranks for the keyword the click-through rate will be low, once users see the permalink they won’t be convinced that the post might answer their question.

A better way to make things smooth and easier is to add your keyword as the permalink of the content “https://mysitename.com/fresh-green-vegetables”,

this will keep the content URL easy to read, it might rank higher than a site with no keyword and also the click-through rate will increase and users will find it appealing.

Need for Simplicity

There is always a need for simplicity, to keep your site permalinks easier and smooth too read it is essential you make it simple,

this benefits both users and search engine bots. This also brings about easy navigation between your site pages.

Avoiding Duplicate Contents

You can avoid duplicate contents using permalinks, this method is most used by News based sites to avoid consistent duplicate contents as news tends to happen more than once.

Adding dates is almost mandatory for the News site in order to separate the old contents URL from newly created contents.

As I already said above WordPress makes it easier for site owners to edit and customize their site permalink.

Unlike most settings you don’t need any plugin to change your site permalink, all you need to do is follow the below procedure

Step 1

Go to the Settings section available at your WordPress dashboard

Wordpress Settings

Wordpress Settings

Step 2

Click on the Permalinks button righty under the Settings Menu

Step 3



Now you will see a list of permalink structures to choose from, all I recommend you to use is the /postname.

It is quite effective and easier for most blogs online, only news site go for permalink structure that has the date tag

If you own a blog that its content is evergreen then you shouldn’t go for the date structure permalink only go for the /postname structure,

the reason why is because users might not click your post in the search engine if the date is old cause they want something new.

To use Tags in site Custom Structure

Custom Structure option allows you to use a more extensive permalink structure if you have the need to do so.

Let’s take it for an example if your blog needs to showcase author for each post,

then the author tag will be helpful or if you need to show date in site permalink then the day tag will work.

See the list of the tags available for use:
  • %postname%
  • %author%
  • %%post_id%
  • %second%
  • %minute%
  • %hour%
  • %day%
  • %monthnum%
  • %year%
  • %category%
Tags permalinks

Tags permalinks

To be able to use these tag you need to select the Custom Structure button.

To include each tag you need a “/” at the end of each tag then all you add will appear after the domain name for each post you publish.



Now you have the result showing the year, category, and the name of the post. A preview will appear like this:


Once you make the save and make changes, your site will get new permalinks in place.

What are Slugs


We can define slug as SEO-friendly post name, category, page, or even tag. Whenever you create a new piece of content a slug is automatically created for it.

Most of the time, WordPress uses the name of post, page, or category to create each slug,

then the space in the name used in the slug is replaced by dashes.

Making it more smooth and accessible by search engines bots in order to find each page and identify them accordingly.

You can change each slug created and replace them with your content keywords,

but be careful not to stuff keywords so your site won’t get penalized for it on search engines.

As we might say permalinks are an important aspect of SEO as it can boost your site presence, you never know until you try.

Apart from the ranking factor, it can help make your site link friendly and readable to get more click-through rates.

Now that you’ve learned how to change your site permalink, you should follow up to see changes in site ranking.

If you find this post helpful, kindly like, share, and comment if you have issues with the above process.

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