Join Tyler as he demonstrates how to simplify your website’s current URLs to increase SEO and traffic. See how he tests to see if the changes are working and then how he uses redirects to make the changes.
For most aspects of digital publishing, keeping things simple is a sound philosophy. Easy navigation, uniform layout, and clear-cut content structure are all likely to improve experiences for readers and help with SEO. The same is true for your WordPress URLs: generally, shorter URLs perform better in search engines.
However, many publishers weren’t thinking about how their URLs were structured when they first started their WordPress website, and now they may have hundreds (thousands?) of posts that they want to redirect and change URLs for so that they can improve SEO. What’s more, it’s not always guaranteed the changes will actually improve SEO or traffic that much, if at all.
So is it worth the effort to go through each and every URL to change it from something like, /2019/05/08/post-name/ to just /post-name/, if we don’t know if it is even worth it long-term?
Maybe. Rolling out major changes site-wide without testing is a bad idea in general. We’re all about testing to prove things work. You can do the same with a small number of your URLs easily, then monitor them for 2-3 weeks to see if traffic is better or worse. In many cases, traffic may be 10-15% better. In that case, you’ll know it’s worth making the site-wide change.
There are a handful of small steps that go into testing and changing your posts’ URL slugs, but altogether, the process should be simple once you know what you’re doing. The most important items on the list are to redirect any URL changes and test if those changes would even benefit your site before rolling it out for all of your posts. Here is a quick, short summary of each step:
1. Simple and concise URLs tend to help with SEO
2. You can easily change the permalink settings for WordPress under ‘Settings’
3. Test this first on a handful of high-traffic posts’
3. Make sure to 301 redirect the old permalink to the new one
4. Monitor the changes using Google Analytics and a spreadsheet
5. If SEO and traffic improve, make the permalink change sitewide by setting a rule
6. Make sure and change your permalink settings to only include the post name for all future posts
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Ezoic is an innovative platform for intelligent websites. Ezoic Explains is a weekly video series that provides information, tools, trends, and know-how to those who write content, own a website, or operate in the digital media world.