What Are Permalinks? Why They Matter

Permalinks (“permanent links”), are the urls of your blog posts and pages on your WordPress site. The permalink of this post is sites.uark.edu/blog/why-permalinks-matter. Permalinks are identifiers for content on your site. 

For example, permalinks are used if

  • another blogger wants to share your content
  • you want to share content via email, text, or social media
  • search engines want to index your content
  • etc.

Ideally, your permalinks should be brief and easy to understand. They are “road signs” for the information that you want to share. Therefore, try to eliminate unnecessary words and make thoughtful use of keywords (though don’t over pack it with keywords!).


Network Wide Settings

By default, WordPress sets a permalink structure of http://www.sitename.com/?p=123, where “123” is the numerical id of any given post or page. This is not ideal because it gives the user no clues as to what your post is about. That’s why our WordPress network uses page and post names within the permalink structure. Another option, content publication dates, seem like they might be helpful to users, however, we do not recommend using them. This is because they can make your content seem out of date quickly, even if the page/post is still perfectly valid.


Page and Post Settings

Because of the structure of the network wide settings, whatever you title a page or post is what will appear in the permalink. This link can be viewed just below the page title in the back end view of your site. Sometimes, you may choose to use a lengthy, descriptive title for your page or post. In that case, it is beneficial to “clean up” your permalink. Try to use the minimum amount of words while still giving readers a clear idea about what your post is about. For example, instead of allowing the permalink structure of this page to be “sites.uark.edu/blog/what-are-permalinks-and-why-do-they-matter, I have shortened it to “sites.uark.edu/blog/why-permalinks-matter.” To edit your permalinks, simply click the “edit” button to the right of the permalink on the back end view of any page or post.


That’s it! For the most part, WordPress is well set up to organize permalinks on its own, but hopefully these few tips will guide you in understanding what permalinks are, how they are set up, and how to adjust them.  If you have any further questions or if this post was helpful to you, let us know in the comments below!