Permalinks are an important concept to understand as you begin to build your blog and establish internal links to your many entries. Along with helping you understand what a permalink is, this article will help you understand how you can use them to make your blog easier to navigate for your readers.
What are Permalinks?
You may be unfamiliar with the term and question, what are permalinks, anyway? The truth is you’re probably already more familiar with them than you think.
A permalink is a link to an individual post on your blog or a particular page, rather than the link to your blog home page. For example, your main URL may look like this:
A permalink may look like this:
Permalinks are important because you will need them when you want to link to a precise blog entry and build up internal links on your blog to keep readers on your site. If you do not use permalinks at all, you’ll just end up linking to your main page. This means that readers will be directed to view the most recent entries instead of an entry that’s relevant to what you’re discussing.
As we discuss how to find and edit your permalinks and use them to your advantage, remember these important reasons why they matter to your blog:
- Improve the navigation of your blog
- Improve your blog’s user experience
- Direct readers to other relevant or new blog posts
- Keep readers on your site longer to improve conversions or meet your goals
- Improve your blog’s SEO and ability to rank on search engines
How to Find a Permalink
You can find your permalink under each blog entry, although every blogging platform handles it a bit differently. Here’s how to find the permalink on the most popular platforms.
Typepad: You will see a link that says “Permalink” under each entry.
Blogger: You will need to click on the time stamp for the post or the post title.
Other blogs: The permalink may be the post title, or you may have a different link to click on. Try placing your cursor over each link next to the post title.
Using Permalinks: Make Your URLs SEO-Friendly
It’s important to pay attention to your permalinks because they may be, by default, rather ugly. WordPress, by default, sets permalinks that look something like this:
Unless you change the default settings or manually edit the permalink for each post, the permanent link to every blog post will look like this.
WordPress and most blogging platforms let you choose your permalink style to suit your blog. You can easily go into settings and choose the style you prefer. With WordPress, options include default, day/month and name (which inserts the publish date as well as the post name), numeric, or the post name. Post name is the best option because it makes your permalinks human readable as well as SEO-friendly.
Permalinks do more than allow you to direct readers to past blog posts or other areas of your blog; they can also improve your search engine optimization because your links will contain keywords that help your blog post rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing.
Because you definitely want your blog to rank well, it’s important to pay attention to your post titles, and thus your permalinks. Here are a few important points to keep in mind.
Give every post a great title
Keep your permalink short. Google has already revealed that it’s best to stick with 3-5 words in the slug (or ending) of your permalink. This means that even if your permalink is set to automatically include the post title, it may make sense to pair it down even shorter.
Always use hyphens, not underscores, in permalinks to separate words. Most platforms do this automatically.
Avoid too many folders to organize your blog posts as it leads to longer permalinks.
Using Permalinks: The Power of Internal Linking
Not everyone who reads your blog will enter your site through your most recent blog post. Internal linking is a great practice that improves your blog by:
- Improving navigation for your readers,
- Directing readers to other posts relevant to what they’re reading,
- Defining the hierarchy or structure of your blog, and
- Distributing your page authority throughout your website. This means if one of your blog posts starts to pick up a great readership and ranking, you can spread its power to your other blog posts.
Internal links are merely links that go from one page of your blog to another. You’ll need to use the permalinks for each blog post to direct readers. For example, if you’re writing a post about the importance of education, you may want to use a permalink to direct readers to a previous post you wrote about a favorite teacher.
Now you know not only what permalinks are but also how to find and change them, and just how important they are to your blog. Now it’s time to use permalinks to make your visitors happier, get new readers, and improve the overall performance of your blog.