If you’ve just setup WordPress, one of the first things you should do before your first post is to change the WordPress settings so that each new post has its own optimized and SEO friendly URL. For example:
- default URL for blog post: nickroshon.com/?p=8
- optimized URL blog post: nickroshon.com/categoryname/postname
It’s pretty simple to setup, just go to Settings – Permalinks in the WordPress Admin. I chose to have a custom structure with %category%/%postname% but you can do anything you want. WordPress recommends you keep the date or year (or some number) in it for performance reasons, but from what I’ve read the performance gains don’t seem worth the cost of having a bunch of numbers in the post URL that no one will ever remember…
The reasons why you want custom, logical URLs instead of the standard ones with just the post number are:
- It’s more user-friendly
- It gives you a chance to put some keywords in the URL which the Search Engines will see and consider you more relevant for
- Searchers are more likely to click on a easier-to-remember URL than some weird one with a bunch of dynamic jargon
- Other webmasters will find it easier to link back to your post saying, hey, here’s a great post on this topic. Even if they don’t give you a custom anchor text (like this: SEO Tips by Nick Roshon) and just spell out your URL like this: http://nickroshon.com/tag/seo, the search engines will still associate your webpage with the words “nick” “roshon”, and “seo” all found in the URL.
It’s important to do this before your first post – once you post something, you don’t want its URL to change. This will confuse the search engines because the may have already seen it at the old URL and give you credit for it at that address. When a new page comes along with the same content but at a different URL, the search engine may think that page is a duplicate and choose to ignore it for the older version it’s already familiar with. So get started with this tip right away and don’t change the URL once the post is live unless you absolutely have to!
There you have it! Some servers and some WordPress installs may require some additional configuration in order to get optimized permalink URLs like this, but mine didn’t require this and I think that’s less common these days if your blog is hosted through a major hosting company. If you do run into issues, Google it, there are lots of detailed how-to articles that I won’t attempt to recreate here because it really depends on your exact server & WordPress installation.