How to Change Permanent Link Structure for WordPress Blog

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Permalink Settings
Permalink Settings

There can be times when you may want to change permanent link structure on your blog but are worried about the loosing your ranking in SERPs. There is a process which you need to follow in case you want to change the permanent links.

Earlier people use to follow many link structures because having a numeric in the link was good. It helped in speeding up the blog loading by finding the articles faster. If you had many articles than having just postname for your link structure can slow down the blog.

WordPress 3.3 update has changed this thing and now it does not affect the blog loading speed any more. So there is no reason that you can change it back to postname structure if you are not using it already.

I have just changed it for this blog and now using postname for my posts. Here is a process how you can do it for your blog.

Change Permanent Link Structure

Step 1:

You need to change the setting on your blog. You can go to Settings —> Permalinks Structure and select the structure of your choice. I would highly recommend to use %postname% as your permanent link structure.

Permalink Settings
Permalink Settings

Once you are done, you need to make sure that all of your old links pointing to new links. So you can get your rankings back.

Step 2:

There are two ways you can change them to point it back. You can change your .htaaccess file to redirect them to new link structure or you can use redirection plugin to the work for you.

You need to get the redirect rule for your link structure. Good thing is that Yoast has created a neat tool to get the redirection rule if you have changed the link structure to %postname%. You can get this rule from this page.

Click on generate redirects and enter your old link structure to get the redirect rule. Once you have that, you can paste it on top of .htaccess file.

If you are not comfortable in editing your .htaccess file that you can use redirection plugin to do the work for you. Redirection is one of the must have plugin for the SEO purpose.

You need to take the rule from Yoast tool and create a new rule in redirection plugin. I have got the following rule from Yoast’s tool:

[box] Add the following redirect to the the top of your .htaccess file:

RedirectMatch 301 ^/([0-9]{4})/([0-9]{2})/([^/]+)/([^/]+)/$ http://makewebworld.com/$4[/box]

You can take this rule and create a similar rule in redirection plugin. Here is a screenshot for my rule:

Redirection Rule
Redirection Rule

You need to take the regular expression after 301 in the source url and enter the last parameter in the target url. Make sure the regular expression is checked and click on add redirection button.

Once you have the rule setup, you can try to enter your old url and see if it redirects correctly. If you are able to redirect to new url than you are all setup to use the new structure.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Redirection can also help you shorten affiliate & referral links on your site. It will also log broken links and you can review the log regularly to correct them.

  2. It’s nice to know that changing permanent link structure won’t affect my blogs on my WordPress account or even my account itself in any possible way. Thanks, Sanjeev. This is such a reassuring blog.

  3. @Sanjeev: I like the way you have described things here with screenshots. I would like to add a couple of points:

    1. %postname% is probably the most used URL structure nowadays but I still recommend using year in URLs for some of my clients where I think that information and tips posted on the blog may get outdated with time (SEO blogs, news sites etc. should probably keep this in mind).

    2. From your example, I understand that your URL structure was year/month/category/post. For others, the same example may not work.

    3. I think the redirection part is redundant because after you change permalink structure, WordPress should start showing the correct canonical path for the URLs irrespective of the way they were being accessed earlier. It does make sense for URLs that completely break after changing permalinks.

  4. Sanjeev I had a question. My perma link always has contained post title but it also has date involved. However I am not changing the permalink structure but I wanted to know if I just edit the link while writing the post for my future posts will it work? Also will it affect the other existing permalinks?

    • Hi Balaji, You can only edit the slug while writing the post, so date will still be there in your link structure. To only use post name, you need to change the permanent structure of your blog.

  5. I honestly think that changing permanent links for your WordPress blog can be a bit of a difficult task, but thanks to you, it seems a bit easier.

  6. Well thank you so much for bringing this up! It’s actually really nice and sensible of you to put up something that will help us bloggers work more easily on changing permalinks. A million thanks to you!

Comments are closed.