One of the great things about using WordPress is the built-in SEO advantages that this software gives you over building static pages or other blogging software. You have an advantage from the start over others not using WordPress! With that said, there are a lot of SEO techniques that need to be set up or applied by the user. The permalink structure is one of these that you can easily set up when creating your blog and then forget about it.
By default, your WordPress Dashboard gives you a 3 choices to choose from. The default permalink structure is a terrible option from an SEO standpoint and the other two aren’t bad, but they aren’t your best option. According to Matt Cutts at WordCamp 2007 (Matt is the lead guy for the Google Search team), the best permalink structure you can use is just the post title with hyphens. According to Matt:
- Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain.
- Name your directory “blog” instead of “WordPress”.
- In URLs, no spaces are worst, underscore are better, dashes or hyphens are best.
- Use alt tags on images: not only is it good accessibility, it is good SEO.
- Include keywords naturally in your posts.
- Make your post dates easy to find.
- Check your blog on a cell phone and/or iPhone.
- Use partial-text feeds if you want more page views; use full-text feeds if you want more loyal readers.
- Blogs should do standard pings.
- Standardize backlinks (don’t mix and match www with non-www).
- Use a permanent redirect (301) when moving to a new host.
- Don’t include the post date in your URL.
For WordPress users, this is easy to set up. Go into your blog’s Options panel and click on the Permalinks tab. You should see the following:
Click the custom radio button and type /%postname%/ into the field. This is the most ideal setup for your WordPress blog.
If you already have an established blog using another structure, you can easily use the Permalink Redirect WordPress plugin to redirect your posts to the new structure.