Every year it’s getting more and more challenging to rank high on the first page of search engines, especially Google. It happens because the platform keeps on updating new requirements or getting stricter on current elements. Thus, there are more and more competitors every day, so the battle is hard, and the best time to start building your SEO is now. Among packs of SEO elements, there are some that you can always rely on. And by putting some more effort into those, you could change the result drastically. One of those is a permalink or URL.
No matter what your goal is, do not underestimate the impact of the permalink. By digging a little deeper into how to use them, you’ll figure out another way to boost your website SEO, which will support your site for years long. Now let’s not wait any longer, here is why you should optimize the permalink instantly.
What is a permalink?
The name probably tells it all. Permalink is short for permanent link, which is a URL address that always stays the same. Those are clean URLs that are short, easy to remember, and easy for search engines to understand.
To create an SEO-friendly URL, it must contain 2 sections: domain name and slug.
While reading this, you can hover over the top of your web browser to see the clearest sample. The part right after “www” is the domain name that points to a site IP address. Meanwhile, the slug (which is also called URL path), is the text that comes right after the domain, to navigate the exact spot you want to go.
To make it become an SEO-friendly URL, it should be short and rich in keywords.
Permalinks and dynamic links: what’s the difference?
Now you’ve met the permalinks, let’s get you to see another type of URL: dynamic links.
As you’ve already known, the permalink is hard coded into a site HTML and won’t change. In contrast, the dynamic link is a temporary URL for a query that happens on-site. Once you search for anything, on Amazon, for example, the database will generate a result page. This only appears when you search for that exact keyword, and the content on-site may appear different every time you search (like on eCommerce pages), or remain the same (on normal websites). Once you know the difference between the two, you can see clearly that to make an SEO-friendly URL, the permalink shall be your main focus.
How do permalinks impact your SEO?
There is a strong connection between URLs and your webpage SEO, as it’s the ranking factor according to Google. The platform uses permalinks to take information from your content and rank it. SEO-friendly URLs always provide some piece of information about a site's content, thus helping build trust for your audiences (and Google, too). So if your permalinks aren’t related to the page’s content, Google will read it as irrelevant, and won’t let it rank high on a search page. Moreover, sketchy URLs might push your users away. We won’t ever click on a confusing and unclear link, and neither do our online customers.
How to make SEO-friendly URLs
If you’ve ever posted a blog on your website, it’s clear that permalinks are customizable. Most website builders and CMS platforms will offer samples according to your content, but having your hands on this part a little bit more will help you a long way.
Setting URL slug when posting
Most CMS platforms will automatically generate a full URL for each page. But the ability to control the slug is still in your hand. You can leave the slug as the title of a page or blog, each word is separated by hyphens. However, you can always cut off unnecessary parts to create a short and keyword-rich URL. The only thing to keep in mind is your slug must be 100% relevant to your post’s content.
How many words should an SEO-friendly URL have?
Normally we would always recommend keeping it short and highly focused. 2-6 words are a comforting length to use, both to satisfy the SEO requirements while keeping it relevant. The permalink shall always have the primary keywords, and should only have vital pieces of information.
But how short it is, your URLs must let users know what they’re reading (and let Google knows, too). Be short and specific, and Google will take care of the rest.
Putting keywords to SEO-friendly URL
If there are any specific keywords you’re using in content, then don’t forget to add them to your slug. We recommend applying this practice to both your permalink and your meta description so that it will appear unified on search engines. Thus, as you only have 2-6 words in this tiny space, having more than 2 keywords seem a bit hard to achieve. So try using your main keyword only, then add the following keyphrase in the meta description. That way you won’t end up with a messy and lengthy slug.
Categories and tags: add them in for SEO-friendly URL
To achieve this, you’ll need to have a good look at your sitemap and content structure. Adding categories and tags to your URL is a good idea to boost SEO for pages that carry a lot of content and blog in multiple categories. This will help you avoid confusion in managing content and when reading.
However, we still have to remind you that adding tags and categories to your permalink is not simple. You have to stay short as much as you can since both SEO and users love short URLs that let them know what they’re reading. Or if you don’t map out your tags and content precisely, you could end up with mess-up URLs to fix later on.
Let’s round up
When visiting a website, users often pay attention to the page URLs. While most like it short, they also ask for it to be descriptive and packed with information. Hope that our suggestion shall be helpful for you when it comes to creating, or managing someone else’s work for SEO. A little more effort goes a long journey, and in the SEO battle, small things matter a lot.