How to Create SEO Friendly URLs in WordPress

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When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), one of the first things you should do is optimize your permalink structure so its SEO friendly for any content you publish. What is a permalink? A permalink is essentially the URL or link to a webpage.

For this post my permalink is “”. Some posts could look like this:

I’m sure you quickly noticed the difference between the two. The first one gives you an idea of what the post is about. The second leaves you scratching your head. This is what the Google bots do as well…or at least that’s what I tell myself!

What is the best WordPress SEO URL structure?

Honestly, the answer is easy. Like my example above, the best permalink structure is your URL plus clearly defining your post or page name. The other option to consider is to have the category included after the URL and before the post name.

Two examples of SEO permalinks you should setup;


In the examples above, I prefer the first one as it is easy and clean. But, I could see some use in having the category included if your site has a lot of categories with topics that are interrelated to each other.

I’ve seen examples where people use the date of the post. This actually does more harm than good. Google doesn’t favor older content and neither do most audiences. Your click through rate (CTR) tends to decrease as posts age.

How to Create SEO Friendly URLs in WordPress

By default, WordPress now sets the permalink settings to include the postname. This is a relatively new improvement that WordPress rolled out as part of their version 4.2 release.

It’s always good to double check to ensure you are using SEO friendly URLs.

In order to check, log into your WordPress dashboard. Hover over “Settings” and click “Permalinks”.

You’ll be directed to the following screen.

Check to see if the custom structure is defaulted to include the post name only. The last two options are the same, WordPress just uses the Post name instead of the Custom Structure.

As we previously mentioned, adding the category works too. Adding a category benefits those sites who have many topics (i.e. online newspaper or e-commerce site) and need to organize or identify their content better. In this case, you would want to add in /%category%/%postname%/ to the Custom Structure.

In all cases the percent (%) sign is found before and after the tag. Also, the trailing slashes (/) are found before and after each tag.

You now have SEO Friendly URLs

From this point forward, the URL of your WordPress posts and pages will look very favorable to Google.  There are countless other SEO initiatives that I will cover on this site but setting up your permalink structure properly is a good first step in optimizing your site for search engines.

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