A permalink is the full address of a post or page on your website. They are the “permanent address” of where a specific piece of content is available. Think of permalinks as you would physical addresses and road signs. Your website is divided into different areas and permalinks serve as the maps that distinctly denote these areas.
Your website is divided into different areas and permalinks serve as the maps that distinctly denote these areas.
What to Include in a Permalink
Usually, permalinks include your domain name (www.exampledomainname.com) followed by a slug. A slug is the part of the web address that comes after the domain name and describes a more specific location within your website. So, for instance, www.sportsgoodsexample.com/tennis/rackets leads to a page on tennis rackets under the tennis category of a sporting goods site.
Other than categories, permalinks can include dates, numbers or even random strings of characters that serve to provide your page or post a unique address. They can also have anchors, which are specific places within a page that the reader can skip to by clicking on a link.
Using the previous example, a URL like www.sportsgoodsexample.com/tennis/rackets#stringing will give the reader the option to skip to the section of the page on racket stringing by clicking on the link. Anchors can be used for creating a table of contents at the beginning of your page or post.
Ultimately, the choice of what the permalinks on your website will include is up to you. Deciding how to structure your permalinks ultimately depends on your understanding of how they benefit your website.
Why Use Permalinks?
It may be better to ask why you should spend time optimizing your permalinks. By virtue of creating a piece of content and uploading it to your website, you are creating permalinks regardless. So, the focus should be on implementing a strategy that will allow you to enjoy the greatest benefits.
Maximizing Your Online Presence
Making sure your website is properly structured can go a long way when trying to get new clients. When you are a freelancer or a consultant, getting measurable results for your clients is important. Permalinks play an important role in how your site is organized and provide a host of other potential benefits that can help you climb your way to the top.
As you post content, other websites will link back to your site. These incoming links are called backlinks. As your list of backlinks grows, more and more users will be coming across your content on other people’s pages. Permalinks can be visual cues that attract your audience to your content.
When a visitor is reading through a post on another site that happens to link to an article of yours, the address of that post is visible to the reader when they hover their cursor over the link. If you employ proper permalink strategy, you can encourage the user to click through to your post then and there.
Permalinks Affect Your SEO
In your effort to grow your website, reaching the top of the search engine rankings should be a high priority. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the set of best practices you need to follow in order to get your website ranked in the top search engine results.
With the first page of Google results getting over 70 percent of search traffic, it’s no surprise that getting on the first page is a matter of sustainability. Users don’t spend much time scouring any deeper than the first page of search results. Therefore, you need to take all the necessary steps to rank highly.
As mentioned above, your website will start to gain backlinks as more people become aware of it. If you post valuable content, others will want to reference it in their own work. Each one of these backlinks is a sign to Google and other search engines that people find your content helpful.
Best Practices for Creating Permalinks
Not all permalinks are created equal. While a content management system like WordPress offers several options to choose from, it behooves you to learn what the best practices are so that you can choose the best strategy.
1. Using Keywords in Your Permalinks
Keywords are an important part of SEO. Getting ranked for specific keywords is also a sure-fire way to get more clients for your business. Rather than choosing to have random strings of characters in your permalinks, it is preferable to include keywords that are relevant to your content.
Include your main keyword and, where possible, try to incorporate as many words and phrases related to your products and services as possible. You will need to do some basic keyword research in order to find the most effective ones to use.
Use Google’s Tools to Your Advantage
Start your keyword research by taking a look at your Google Analytics. You will find a list of the keywords that bring users to your website. This is a good starting point as it will give you an idea of what kinds of keywords your users find useful.
Google Ads, formerly known as Adwords, is another tool way of getting keyword ideas. Although Google Ads is an advertising platform, you don’t have to spend money in order to gain valuable insight from it.
By using the keyword tool, you can search for your main keyword and get suggestions for other words and phrases related to your brand. The keyword tool also gives you average monthly searches for these keywords, a metric that can help you decide on whether it’s worth focusing on each keyword or not.
Furthermore, you can use the Google search engine as a research tool. Run a query on a keyword related to your brand. When the search results appear, scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see a list of other recommended searches that Google offers. These are keywords that other users are commonly using in order to find information on niche-related topics.
Finally, click on some of the top results for the searches you conduct. Look at the permalinks of some of the biggest players in your space. What kinds of keywords do they include in their URLs? Try to spot common trends in your competition’s permalinks and see if you can adopt some of their methods. If they are ranking at the top, they must be doing something right.
2. Choose Concise Permalinks Over Lengthy Ones
While a URL can contain 2,048 characters, it is not advised that you exhaust this limit. Specifically, the average URL of pages that are ranked number one in Google’s search results is 59 characters long. Therefore, it is a good idea to try and keep your permalinks within that limit while including a good mix of short and long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are phrases consisting of 3 or 4 keywords and are very specific to the products and services you are selling. The more of these you include in your permalinks, the more pages on your website you will find rising through the rankings.
3. Keeping a Consistent Structure
WordPress offers a few options to choose from. You can include the date of your post as part of your permalinks or the name of the post. Another option is to have a unique string of characters for each post, an option that you’ll want to shoot down from the start as it doesn’t allow you to use keywords in your URL.
The best way to structure your website is to create a diagram where you branch out your categories according to your content. Being consistent with our example from earlier, let’s assume the sporting goods website sells equipment for basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. These will be your main categories.
Under basketball, you may have subcategories like shoes, shorts and jerseys and basketballs. Therefore, specific permalinks may look something like www.sportsgoodsexample.com/basketball/shorts/ or www.sportsgoodsexample.com/basketball/chicagobulls/scottypipenawayjerseys.
4. Tailor Permalinks to Content Titles
Google rewards websites that offer users the content they are searching for. That’s why it is important that your page and post titles are descriptive of what users will find within your content. Your permalinks need to be a direct reflection of your post and should be very close to the post title.
5. Reconsider the use of www. or .com
Business owners try to obtain a .com domain for their website. It is believed that this will give them a leg up on the competition. However, you may be surprised to find that other extensions are just as effective, if not more effective in some cases.
In WordPress, you have the option of whether or not you will choose to have the www. as part of your domain name. You can toggle this under the ‘Settings’ option in WordPress. While this is mostly a visual improvement, it reduces the number of characters that are a part of your permalink. This gives you the flexibility to try and keep your URLs around the 59 character mark.
6. Don’t Bog Your Content Down With the Use of Dates
Studies have shown that including dates in your permalinks can be counterproductive. While it is good to keep your content current and to let your users know when it was created, you don’t have to do this in your URL. Include the date your posts were published within the actual content. The search engine algorithms will pick up the information and communicate it to their users.
7. Use SSL to Enhance Your Permalink Effectiveness
Securing your website through the use of SSL is something you should do regardless of any other factor. The difference between http: and https: may only be one character but makes all the difference to search engines.
What Are Your Options for Creating Permalinks?
By going to ‘Settings’ in WordPress and clicking on ‘Permalinks,’ you will be taken to a list of options to choose from. As you will see, you can select between ‘Plain,’ which just adds a string of numbers as a slug, ‘Day and name,’ which adds the date and name of the post, ‘Month and name,’ which is the same the previous option except without the day of the month, ‘Numeric,’ ‘Post name,’ and ‘Custom Structure.’
For the average user, these options may be enough. However, you’re not the average user and your goal is to get more clients for your business. So, let’s look at an option for maximizing the effectiveness of your permalinks.
Permalinks Customizer is an open-source WordPress plugin. This means that it is free to install and use.
The plugin helps you assign different permalink structures for different types of content. This gives you the flexibility to vary your permalinks according to different PostTypes. Without getting too technical, this means that you can assign different structures to permalinks for your blog, events, news or other types of content.
If you have a website that has content-driven posts as well as products for sale, you can use appropriate keywords in your permalinks. You may choose to include dates in event posts while your product pages have more sales-related permalinks.
The skills that will allow you to optimize the structure of your permalinks will carry over to the work you do for your clients. Effective keyword research and website structuring can only benefit your SEO efforts. Learning to apply SSL will make you more security-conscious. To make a pop culture reference, learning SEO through proper permalink implementation is like learning karate by waxing a car or painting fences.
Maximize Your Client Acquisition Game Today
For those offering consulting services, taking a result-driven approach will yield the greatest dividends. When you offer quality services to your clientele, the windfall of clients this will bring for you cannot be understated. That is why you need to work on implementing holistic strategies for your patrons.
Those that use WordPress to implement client solutions can greatly expand their
Recurring Revenue Summit is a great way of reducing the learning curve associated with growing your business.
The time saved from learning to optimize your consultant-client relationship will bring measurable results to your business. The more you hone your freelancing and consulting skillset, the more you will be able to boost your business and position yourself as an authority in the space.