How To Really Take Advantage of SEO Friendly URLs

I take it most bloggers using WordPress turn on SEO friendly URLs. If you haven’t, then you should do it right away. By default, the WordPress URL uses a numerical system (http://YourBlog.com/?p=123). By switching to a SEO friendly structure, the URL becomes http://YourBlog.com/Title-Of-Post. This helps Google to index the post a lot better and as a result could rank you higher in the index.

Normally, the SEO title just fills in the title of your post as the permalink. For example, if your post title is “This Is My First Post,” then the URL would be http://YourBlog.com/this-is-my-first-post. However, WordPress gives you the power to control what is displayed in the permalink. The permalink doesn’t have to be the post title.

How to set a custom permalink

The above screen shot was taken from my HostGator coupon post. You can see that the title of the post is Start Your Blog Today – Save 25% with JohnChow25. However, the URL for the post is http://www.johnchow.com/best-hostgator-promo-discount-coupon-code. By using a custom permalink, I’m able to add in keywords into the URL that I didn’t use the blog title. Let’s face it, a blog title of Best Hostgator Promo Discount Coupon Code wouldn’t make as much sense to my readers as Start Your Blog Today – Save 25% with JohnChow25.

How To Set a Custom Permalink

Setting a custom permalink with WordPress is really easy. Simply click the Edit button next to the permalink and you can change the URL to say whatever you want.

How to edit WordPress permalinks

Having your URL repeat your blog post title is good SEO. However, going through the extra step to tweak the URL to include the keywords you’re targeting will put you over the top. To see another SEO trick, check out my video on how to SEO a blog post.


48 thoughts on “How To Really Take Advantage of SEO Friendly URLs”

  1. SEO is really playing a limited factor in rankings these days… Ever since the algorithm change up SEO was pretty much nuked. Social ranked search results is whats powering rankings these days. PageRank will be gone soon enough now that +1 is live.

    1. Abhik says:

      Agree!!
      As long as I understand, PageRank has nothing to do with +1.

    2. Hey John,

      Regardless of what some people have to say about SEO, what you write about in your post makes a lot of sense. It is amazing that some big marketers hate SEO and pay no attention to it. While Google is getting smarter and may not give the same value to good keyword URLs it certainly can*t hurt to use them the way you suggest..

    3. Hi Benjamin, I agree that many of the old factors of plain link building are having a dying effect on SEO. I don’t think that they will completely vanish because Google believes that those who give authoritative links (bloggers in posts, links within forum posts and various others) will always have premium value. It is true that SEO is changing.

      SEO is always changing.

      SEO isn’t a particular strategy. It is the skills and knowledge to know how to rank well on Google and other Search Engines. As long as Google or even Facebook will be around, there will always be SEO for those who want to rank on the top results. Particular strategies might die.

      +1 is a great tool but will only enhance the overall Google PageRank. In addition, you must have a Google account to use it. Not everyone has a Google account and therefore it is still limiting. It will be a growing factor but not the nail in the coffin for traditional SEO methods.

      In addition, what John is talking about here is On-Page SEO and not off page. On page stuff like URL tells Google what the page is about while off-page stuff like social media and backlinks tell Google how good the content is. You should have a friendly url to help Google understand the content of your page.

    4. I don’t think google will ever get rid of PageRank.

  2. Kevin Kimes says:

    I’ve used SEO friendly URLs with the permalink structure for as long as I’ve used wordpress. Sometimes I change the permalink, but hadn’t actually thought of making it significantly different for SEO purposes.

    Now, I wonder what sorts of changes are most beneficial. The same kind of changes as made to the SEO version of the post title?

  3. With clean URLs, the search engines can distinguish folder names and can establish real links to keywords.

  4. Samantha says:

    This is a good reminder of how to make the most of SEO friendly URL’s I’ve been using the same principle as Kevin with the permalinks but will certainly make an effort to make URL’s a lot more SEO friendly for the future, thanks.

  5. The other strong reason for URL rewriting would be the increase in usability for web users, and in maintainability for webmasters.
    Well John thanks for the awesome sharing.

  6. Mate Hegedus says:

    As a 16 year old, I haven’t tried SEO that much as I was more of a facebook, grey hat CPA guy. But now I am becoming a more serious affiliate marketer which means SEO is a must πŸ™‚

    I created one sniper site and it is already ranking #5 on my keyword I wanted with 75,000,000 competing web pages! I read a lot about but used my own methods, and looks like it is working!

  7. Even if it’s not for SEO purposes I honestly think that having that format makes it easier for readers to see what they are reading.

    1. That is what I am supposed to say. And giving the readers the ease will definitely give them the comfortable feeling.

  8. That’s it for blogs. Article directories and others will have to do some minor work to get this applied to their sites. My site easyretweet.com is not a blog script. I’ll have to consider that shortly.

  9. Ivan says:

    …and use 3 keywords max.

    Keywords such as For, The, To etc add little and should be culled.

    Ivan

  10. Graham Lutz says:

    Is it worth it to go into your existing posts to change them or are you better off leaving the old ones the way they are and starting with this strategy on new posts?

    1. I think Graham that leaving the old post be and using the strategy wit new posts will be a better choice.

      Vance

  11. Health Blog says:

    Yes SEO friendly URLs (as the name suggest), can have a positive effect for a blog in terms of traffic and viewers can also easily remember the URL. I am using it in my WordPress blog.

  12. DrDarko says:

    I’ve never thought about actually editing the permalink in order to sneak in some keywords not already in title. I knew that there must be some reason for that edit button but now I know!
    Thanks for this great tip…

  13. Tom says:

    Thx for explaining this. I never took the time to understand the difference. This is a BIG help for SEO ranking.

  14. fas says:

    But is that manipulating?

  15. Gotta change your permalink structure on WordPress, that’s the first thing I do with a new install.

  16. Nail Yener says:

    John, sometimes I come across numerical URLs even on websites that give SEO advice. I use your different title/different URL tip from time to time and it just works nice. And the good thing is that it is really easy with WordPress.

  17. SEO Friendly URLs are great for SEO and they look nicer on the blog and in the browser. I use the link/date/title structure and it does help your traffic and optimization.

  18. fazal mayar says:

    thats excellent john, ive been making the mistake of try to do seo titles but without editing the permalink. I should just edit the title.

    1. Yeah, it’s should be changed.

  19. Tomaz says:

    I always change the permalink structure on WordPress from numerical system to the SEO friendly /%postname%/

    Any ideas why WordPress doesn’t use the SEO friendly structure by default?

  20. Yep, I always do this. It’s always best to use a URL that will catch people’s eyes all while relating to your actual post.

  21. Francisca says:

    I was browsing in the internet and came across your website. I really need to get into WordPress. I have a blog in blogger. Thanks for the advice.

    I wonder how I can change my blog from blogger to WordPress. I will look into it.

  22. Mike Hara says:

    Always use the human read able permalink structure. Its very simple to do in WP and never have them in the numerical fashion.

  23. I think most new bloggers don’t know to change their permalink format. It is a shame that the default hasn’t been changed to something better.

  24. I was searching about this in internet after a long time found this information. Thanks for this it is really useful

  25. Another SEO trick that I find works very well for SEO titles is to have three different versions.
    For example… I just did a post with the title:
    We are all connected by love every moment
    I still kept the original title, but I edited the URL and shortened it to be more specific to my keywords.
    I shortened the URL to: we-are-all-connected-by-love/
    I find that with Shorter URL each words has more power.
    Then I added a couple words to the All in one SEO title tag:
    We are all connected by love every moment by Ellen McMahill

    I hope that makes sense to everyone. Ultimately it ends up that I have three titles in one post.

    Example:
    The title is on my blog reads: We are all connected by love every moment
    The URL is: we-are-all-connected-by-love
    The SEO title tag is: We are all connected by love every moment by Ellen McMahill

    By shortening the URL I find that I get three word combos more easily in my Analytics.

    Peace

    Jonathan

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      Thanks for that tip Jonathan. It’s an answer I was looking for in my earlier comment.

  26. Edwin says:

    Yes. Good advice. I use /%postname%/ for my permalinks. For some niches, I use /%category%/%postname%/ , to add another keyword to the URL.

    In addition to that, you can also add the keyword and a vertical slash, | to the beginning of the blog post title.

  27. I use for my blog /%postname%/

    and it boost my SEO well. You can try this too.

  28. Hi John,
    Quite right, it is equally important with the URL address as it is with the title H1 with the right keywords in it. Google sees the two as very strong in a combination

  29. Hello does anybody use my short code that i mention it on my last post? You can use it and it is great thing to achieve the seo friendly url for blog.

  30. 2mashaa says:

    Seo involves a well planned strategy. This is not a thing that you just wake up one day and do without a proper plan.
    The key words must be done well and carefully

  31. Jeff Blay says:

    Jr bike is the best

  32. Jeff Blay says:

    sr needs his crew do the work that Jr show how to do the work

  33. Yes, it’s totally worth it to change the permalink structure. It’s amazing to find sites that still haven’t done this…All-In-One SEO is a great, well-known plugin that will do this all for you…totally worth it.

  34. Kevin Kimes says:

    Wow! There are even comments about the choppers in THIS thread! HAHA!

  35. we should have an unique url

    1. your domain is not same with others, that’s why url will be unique.

  36. great tip, didn’t realize there was an option for that. Thanks a bunch!

  37. very good tip, never thought of manually changing the url before.

  38. Ardegas says:

    I was installing my first WordPress blog just today, and this is what I found:

    Starting Permalinks with %postname% is strongly not recommended for performance reasons.

    Source: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks

    It’s confusing. What is the option for SEO then?

  39. Forex News says:

    Even if it’s not for SEO purposes I honestly think that having that format makes it easier for readers to see what they are reading.

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