Permalink structure is an important SEO factor. Good permalinks help search engine crawlers better understand your content. But if you forget to change permalink structure after launching your website, then you can also change it later. Just, you have to set 301 redirects on your website properly.
Do you want to change the permalink structure of your WordPress website? But afraid to change? Obviously, the owner of any WordPress website will afraid to change it. The reason, Google will reduce your website ranking and your site traffic will be ZERO overnight.
But do not worry, you can change your WordPress Permalink without losing traffic. You just have to handle it correctly.
This article will tell you how to change WordPress permalink structure without losing traffic and Google Ranking.
Permalinks are the permanent URL of your posts and pages that do not change over time. But WordPress’s Permalinks option allows you to choose your default permalink structure.
When you create a website on WordPress, choosing SEO friendly URL structure is very important and this is the first step. But there are many new bloggers who ignore it or they do not know about it.
When their site becomes old and they change it, they have to face a lot of problems like internal link break, external link starts showing 404 not found error. Even Google removes those pages from the index that permalink changes.
But thankfully, there are several ways to fix this, which I am going to share with you.
Permalink plays an important role in website optimization. This is your post and page URL, which never changes.
When you create a website on WordPress for the first time, its default permalink structure is not SEO friendly and it looks like this,
This type of permalink is not SEO friendly. Since WordPress comes with 6 different permalink structures. You just have to login in your WordPress site. Then click on Settings >> Permalink. A new page will open like this,
Here I will recommend you to select Post Name permalink structure. This is my favourite URL structure and most bloggers recommend it. The reason, it is small, readable, and nothing is extra in it.
There are many bloggers who recommend using Category in permalink which is good. But your category should be small, meaningful and you are not using multiple categories.
Apart from this, the Date permalink structure is good for the news website. But if you are running a simple blog, then I will recommend you to choose Post Name permalink structure.
There are several reasons for changing permalink structure. If you are using WordPress’s default Permalink Structure, then you need to change it. Default structure adds a Post ID to your URLs. This structure does not provide any useful information about your content and is useless for SEO.
As I said before, its default URL Structure is not SEO friendly. And when you publish content with this URL Structure, it is very difficult to find out what your content is about by looking at the page URL.
Even when Google crawls your content, it crawls your post URL, to find out what your content is about?
Apart from this, there are many new bloggers who are unaware of the permalink structure and after launching their site, they start publishing articles without changing the permalink structure and later they need to change it.
Before changing your WordPress permalink structure, make a list of your current post URLs so that when you create 301 redirects for them, you can be sure no URLs have been missed.
For this, you can use the List URLs plugin. However, this plugin has not been updated for 3 years but works perfect.
After installing the plugin, click on Tools >> List URLs. This will take you to the settings page of the plugin. Here you have to click on the Download CSV button. Your post URLs will start downloading in CSV format.
You can manually create a list of all the URLs on your site. But I found the List Urls plugin quite good and it works perfect so I mentioned it here.
Now you have a list of all the URLs from your site, so let’s start to change the permalink structure without breaking links…
First, go to your WordPress dashboard. Then click on Settings >> Permalinks and select your permalink structure here.
After selecting, click on the Save button. Your permalinks are now updated.
Fix Broken Links with 301 Redirects
Permalinks structure of your WordPress website has changed. Now, you have to deal with the fallout. All your links (internal and external links) have been broken and the index URL in search engine is also incorrect. Therefore, search engines will de-index them.
A simple solution to this problem – you have to set 301 redirects for all URLs on your website. It tells search engines that the old URLs have been redirected to the new URL permanently.
There are many different ways to create 301 redirects. You can use any method that you find easy. Here I will use the Redirection plugin to create redirects easily.
After activating the redirection plugin, click on Tools >> Redirection.
Next, enter your old URL in the Source URL box and enter your new URL in the Target URL box. Then click the Add Redirect button. You can see in the screenshot below.
Updating Internal Links in Blog Post
If you have interlinking your blog post, you can easily update your old URL to a new URL with the help of Broken link checker plugin.
First, install and activate the Broken Link Checker plugin in your site. After activating the plugin, click on Tools >> Broken links. This will take you to the settings page of the plugin. Here, click the Redirect tab. You can now see a list of your redirect URLs.
Redirect URL can take 1 or 2 hours to appear and it depends on your site how large your site is.
After the URLs appear, choose your URL then select Fix Redirects option from the drop-down menu and click on the Apply button. You can see in the screenshot below,
Congratulation! You have changed the permalink structure without affecting your website’s Google ranking.
Asking Search Engine to Crawl Website again
When you change the permalink structure of your site, it may be a good idea to generate a Sitemap again and submit it to the Search Console. It helps to index your new permalinks faster in search engines.
Have you ever changed the permalink structure of your website? What challenges did you face, and how did you solve them? What plugins and tools did you use to make it easier?
We’re done, and it’s now your turn! Find this article helpful? Don’t forget to share!