A permalink is a URL for a website page or blog article. It’s a combination of the words “permanent” and “link” because it’s intended to do exactly that: Provide a simple and unchanging URL to ensure your page remains accessible and avoid issues with broken links.
Permalink Best Practices
Permalinks should be made as short as possible and contain keywords that are relevant to your website/article. For example, our article above is titled “How to Make a Small Business Website in 5 Simple Steps.” An ideal permalink for this is fitsmallbusiness.com/small-business-website/.
For one, the URL should be shorter than 80 characters, roughly the maximum length Google can display in search results. Secondly, it should contain two to four keywords that are relevant to the article’s topic. This makes it easy to remember and tells potential visitors and search engines what the article is about, improving your chances of ranking in search results.
Permalink Bad Examples
Every blog or website platform has a default method for setting permalinks. If you don’t specifically edit the permalink, it will look something like this:
None of these are particularly ideal for professional purposes. The first one, which uses a page number as an identifier, is difficult to remember. It also lacks any keywords, which won’t help it rank in search engines.
The second example includes the publish date in the URL. This can get lengthy, and is also bad practice should you ever update your articles at a later date. The URL will either be inaccurate, or you can change it and risk having broken links.
The third example simply uses the title of the web page as the URL. While this is better than the other examples, it’s still a bit long, and contains stop words. Search engines do not bother reading generic words like “is,” “to,” or “in,” so they’re essentially wasted space in your URL. Instead, shorten the permalink to the three to four most descriptive keywords. You’ll save space while keeping the SEO benefits.
How to Edit a Permalink on WordPress
Permalinks are typically set on the same menu you use to edit a web page. To change a permalink on WordPress, click on the page/post and find the permalink at the top, directly below the article title. Click “edit” to the right and type in a new permalink.
How to Edit a Permalink on a Different Website Builder
The Bottom Line
Permalinks are one of several good practices to help keep your site healthy, organized, and optimized for search engines. Now that we’ve answered what a permalink is, be sure to check our full guide to SEO for small businesses for the additional steps, and our online marketing section for more free tips on how to draw traffic to your website.