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How to Change Permalinks in WordPress without Hurting SEO: A Step-by-Step Guide

By May 24, 2022November 25th, 2022Wordpress4 min read

If you’re looking for a way to change your WordPress permalinks without hurting your SEO, you’ve come to the right place. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making this change in a way that’s safe and effective. Permalinks are an important part of your website’s SEO, so it’s crucial that you make this change properly. We’ll show you how to do just that!

What’s a permalink and why do they matter?

A permalink is the URL of a specific blog post or page on your website. It’s what people use to link to your content from other websites. The permalink for this blog post, for example, is “how-to-change-permalinks-in-wordpress-without-hurting-seo”.

Permalinks are an important part of your website’s SEO. They help search engines understand what your content is about and how it should be ranked in search results. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you change your permalinks properly when you make any changes to them.

Changing permalinks in WordPress

There are a number of reasons why you might want to change your permalinks in WordPress. Maybe you want to shorten them for aesthetic reasons, or maybe you’re changing the structure of your website and need to update your permalinks to reflect that. Whatever the reason, it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt your SEO.

Here’s how to do just that…

Step One: Backup your website

We can’t stress this step enough!

The first step in changing your permalinks is to backup your website. This is an important precautionary measure in case something goes wrong during the process. You can use a plugin like BackupBuddy or Updraftplus to create a backup of your website.

Even better than this, is to make the changes on your staging server before you change your live site. Check with your hosting provider to see if you have this functionality, hosting providers like Kinsta offer this and it’s a great way of working through any technical issues without disrupting your live website.

Step Two: Setup permanent 301 redirects

Once you have a backup of your website, the next step is to setup permanent 301 redirects. This will ensure that any links pointing to your old permalinks such as blog posts and articles are redirected to your new ones when you change your permalink structure. This is important because it will help preserve your SEO rankings and avoid any broken links.

There are a few different ways to setup 301 redirects, but we recommend using a plugin like Redirection. It’s easy to use and it will handle all of the redirects for you automatically.

Step Three: Make the changes in Settings > ‘Permalinks’

Now that you have backups and redirects in place, you’re ready to change your permalinks. To do this, simply go to the WordPress settings page and click on the “Permalinks” tab. From here, you can choose the new permalink structure for your website.

A recommended structure is to use %category%/%post-title/, but you can customise the structure depending on what works for you and your business.

Troubleshooting

If you run into any problems during the process, don’t panic. If you’re working on a staging server, simply revert back to the original version and work through the steps again. If you were making the changes on a live website and you’ve discovered broken links, reinstall your backup while you work through the issue.

If you have a high-traffic website, we’d recommend using a specialist WordPress developer. They’ll be able to help you troubleshoot any issues and get your website back up and running smoothly.

In summary

Changing your permalinks can be a great way to improve your website’s SEO. Just be sure to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt your rankings. Use the steps in this guide to change your permalinks safely and effectively. If you run into any trouble, don’t hesitate to reach out to a WordPress developer for help. They will be able to assist you and get your website back on track.

Thanks for reading! We hope this guide was helpful. Feel free to share it with your friends and followers! And if you have any questions, please leave a comment below. We’re always happy to help!

Nicola Gomme

Nici, Founder of theLEAP, loves supporting recruitment businesses on their journey to success.

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