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how to blogI decided to take the big plunge and change my permalink structure to something that search engines such as Google see as a “pretty permalink.” Before I go into more technical issues, if you notice something that doesn’t work or redirects to a error page, please let me know so I can correct it. Thank you! :)

What is a permalink?
In the least technical sense possible, a permalink is the permanent URL of the blog post, page, category, etc, that will never change. And it makes it easy to link to a post.

Okay, then what is a “pretty” permalink?
Previously, my blog posts were formatted like this:

http://www.freebiespot.net/?p=12056

Not very descriptive, right? Now, the same post with a “pretty permalink” structure looks like this:

http://www.freebiespot.net/12056/monetize-your-blog-january-2011/

You’ll notice it still has the 12056 listed, which is fine (and how I wanted it) since it is the unique post identification number, but now you can actually see the post title within the URL. Not only is it “pretty” but it will also help with search engine rankings since the main keywords are in the URL itself. And just to prove a point, here is another example. Take a look at this:

http://www.freebiespot.net/?page_id=11209

Yeah. I have no idea what page ID 11209 is either. But now I do since it has changed to this:

http://www.freebiespot.net/contact-me/

Oooo I have a WordPress blog and I want to do this too!
Great! I was worried at first because I have over 10,000 posts so I decided to be the guinea pig. This is a foolproof way to get your links changed. First, visit this link to decide what permalink structure you want to use (in my case, I used /%post_id%/%postname%/). Next, I advise having the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin installed so you can correct the invalid links within any posts, if necessary. Finally, just follow these steps:

  1. Login to your hosting account to access the file directory
  2. In the root folder for your blog, find the .htaccess file and delete it
  3. Visit your WordPress admin then go to Settings -> Permalinks, change your permalink structure, and save
  4. There’s no need to create a new .htaccess file since WordPress creates one for you

Enjoy your pretty permalinks!

Jenny

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About The Author

Jenny

Hi there! I'm Jenny, a coffee-addicted, busy-body, work at home mom of two insane boys. I love football, cooking, Deadliest Catch, video games, Wordpress, and CSS (I'm kindof a geek). Feel free to say hi! We can be nerdy together.

4 Responses to Changed My Permalinks. Find a Problem? Do You Want Pretty Permalinks Too?

  1. LucyLastik says:

    Jenny
    Thanks for a super-helpful post.   It’s lovely to read an article about a technical subject that I can actually understand!
    I’ve just done the permalink change after taking advice from someone else online and have half scared myself to death.   My website is 640 pages long – see http://www.laybackandgetrich.com – and I just changed it from ?p=xxxx to %postname%.
    I’m not even a tiny bit technical but somehow (without deleting the htaccess file though I notice it was modified at the moment I changed the permalinks) all my redirects seem to work.    So I’m guessing WordPress has kind of done it for me.   For instance – typing in www.laybackandgetrich.com/?p=10091 now correctly redirects to http://www.laybackandgetrich.com/skewtraderpro/   (Please check this works at your end!)
    Anyway, what I was trying to get to was  - when you did this, did you notice any immediate impact on your search rankings?   i.e. did you fall down the rankings whilst Google got used to the new addresses?
    Specifically I did the change last night, and resubmitted my sitemap this morning.   What I have found is that 
    a) Google traffic appears to be a bit low today (possible coincidence?)
    b) Google webmaster tools tells me that only one of the pages in my sitemap is now indexed! 
    If you look at http://www.laybackandgetrich.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/google-index-pic.png you will see that the red line (indexed) drops from 638 pages previously to just 1!!!  (presumably just the home page as that would be the only URL unaffected).
    Frankly I’m scared that I’ve killed my site in Google, yet deep down I feel that meaningful permalinks are the way to go.
    Any info on your experiences or advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated!!!

    thanks Lucy

    • Mama-Jen says:

      LucyLastik Hi Lucy. Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found my post helpful. :)
       I honestly did not notice a difference in the search engine traffic with my site upon switching. It could be coincidence (or things may have changed since I made the post).
       I recommend using the SEO plugin by Yoast as it has a built-in sitemap generator. You can use it to create a new sitemap and submit it to Google. It sounds like the small sitemap could be one of your biggest issue so I’d fix that first. :)
      Good luck!

      • LucyLastik says:

        Mama-Jen LucyLastikHi Jen
        Thank you for replying.
        Yes your site’s excellent… I absolutely loved the encouragement to pitch cold!   I think this one is probably particularly relevant to women who may be put off by the whole idea.
        Re my current problems… It’s certainly been a sobering experience… it makes you realise how dependent we are on google when really we know so little (well I don’t) about how it really works.
        The sitemap isn’t small, it covers the whole site.   What I meant was that Google “webmaster tools” program shows 638 pages submitted (correct) but, for some reason, just one indexed!?.   Why hasn’t it indexed the others?  Is this just a temporary thing? etc
        Honestly, I’m tearing my hair out and just hoping it sorts itself out…
        thanks Lucy

        • Mama-Jen says:

          LucyLastik Aww thanks so much! :)
          What you might want to do is delete your old sitemap and submit your new one. That normally what I do when I have made a drastic change. Then I’d give it about 48 hours to see how many URLs have been indexed. Most of the stuff with Google just takes time. Stinks, but that’s the way it goes unfortunately.

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