SEO Permalinks: Why They're Important for Blogs
If you’re publishing new blog posts to your site without SEO permalinks, then you’re wasting your time writing the blog posts in the first place.
Because permalinks that are optimized for search engines are what keep your content indexed by Google and Bing, and what allow people to find your posts long after they’ve been written.
What is an SEO Permalink?
Permalink is short for “permanent link,” and it’s what appears in your browser’s location bar whenever you visit a page on the web.
An SEO permalink utilizes important keywords in an attempt to rank better in search engines. This type of URL will always point to a specific blog post, so that it can be found even after the post has passed from the front page to the archives.
As an added bonus, the URL is generally more readable for humans, so it helps them see that your post has the information they want and, therefore, increases the number of clickthroughs.
Let’s take a look at an example of an SEO permalink from the RSO blog:
As you can see, the permalink is clean, concise and clearly explains what kind of information the reader can expect to find in the blog post. Search engines will notice you and people will, too.
Writing an Effective SEO Permalink
There are several ways to construct a permalink, and a few different pieces of information that you can include. Some bloggers choose to put the date in their URL while others prefer to use the post number.
The problem with using a date is that over time it can signal to potential readers that your information is out-of-date, expired, stale…you get the picture. And, well, post numbers just don’t do much for encouraging clickthroughs either.
For the sake of ranking well in search engines and appealing to potential visitors, we recommend a simplified permalink structure that includes your blog post title and the most important keyword(s):
To see what this looks like, here is how the URL for the same RSO blog post appears in search engine results:
Not only does the SEO permalink contain keywords that Google could potentially rank for, but it also appears to human readers to have the information that they desire. (Click me! Click me!)
A Final Caveat
While using permalinks is a very smart way to promote new blog posts across the web, we do not recommend reassigning permalinks to posts that have already been published. Unless, of course, you consult an SEO professional that has a background and successful track record in handling such requests.
For one, it can affect your website performance, particularly if it’s already established or performing well in search engines.
Two, changing permalinks will reset all of your Facebook “likes”, Twitter retweets, and other social media markers.
For new blog posts, however, just apply the URL structure above and check your Google Analytics to see how you’re doing.