Before moving to the explanation of HOW-TO, I would like to share the importance of changing your website’s permalink structure. In this article, we will change the entire permalinks of your WordPress website without breaking the links. I will try my best to make this article short yet more comprehensive like always.
What is a Custom WordPress Permalink?
A Permalink in simple words can be well described by breaking the word itself. Perma (meaning Permanent) and link (a relationship between something). So a Permalink can be defined as something which is permanent in nature and is static to a particular page or entry of a blog. WordPress provides its users, the flexibility to change the link of the article/content before publishing it. This is known as the custom permalink structure, and it is used by search engines to identify that particular article for indexing it accordingly.
Why change WordPress permalink structure?
Changing link structure of the entire blog can improve the SEO of your website by over 50%. Lots of bloggers optimize many aspects of their blog’s content in order to increase the SEO score but this important factor gets left unnoticed. Let’s discuss by taking an example.
There are websites on WordPress following the default permalink structures like:
This particular year/month permalink structure indicates search engines to index the articles on the basis of date. But some of the evergreen article you have written which clearly is not a news or a particular trend category stops showing up on the first page itself. So dumping the following structure will definitely boost the SEO for sure. Trust me changing the structure increased the overall SEO score of my websites by over 60%.
How to change WordPress Permalink Structure?
There are lots of methods to achieve this task beginning from changing the permalink settings to setting up 301 redirects. But the main motive of this article is to make changes in the permalink structure conserving the SEO juice. Changing the link structure just like that can account for the rise of 404 errors (of your already indexed content).
So finally, let’s travel through the path to our objective. First of all open 3 tabs in the browser. 1 for your hosting cpanel, 1 for the WordPress dashboard and the last for the redirection tool. We will make use of Yoast’s Redirection tool to stack everything up in the .htaccess file on your server.
STEP 1: Open WordPress dashboard and head over to Settings>>Permalinks and check your current permalink structure.
STEP 2: Open the Yoast redirection plugin in a new tab. Put your blog’s URL in the first field and select your old permalink structure which we checked in STEP 1. Click Generate Redirect. It will generate a single line of redirect code (as shown in image). Just copy It!!
STEP 3: Head over and log in to your hosting’s Cpanel. There you will find File Manager option. Just open it and search for the .htaccess file, onto which we will click the edit option. There on the top of the .htaccess file paste your copied redirect codes in the first line. Save the file!!
STEP 4: Now simply change the permalink structure to Post name and hit Save Changes option.
You have now successfully changed the permalink structure of your WordPress website without breaking any existing indexed links. Each of the articles will automatically 301 redirected to the original website.
Note: For websites centered on topics like news or trending fashion etc. Sticking to year/month permalink structure will be an apt decision. Happy Blogging.