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How to Create WordPress Permalink Without Losing Traffic

Permalinks aka our page URL structure plays an important role in SEO. In this post,i will show you how to create custom permalinks in WordPress without affecting your SEO and Traffic.

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What is a Custom Permalink?

WordPress provide an option to create SEO friendly URL structure called Permalinks for any WP site. All we have to do is go to Settings » Permalinks page and choose a URL structure.

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There are a lot of options to choose from, and we  can even specify a custom structure.Creating a new permalink structure affects all posts and pages (both new and old) on our WordPress site, so we have to be careful when changing this.

But what if you want to use a different URL for only some posts on your site? What if you want to have a custom permalink for your custom post types? Maybe you want to have a custom permalink for your categories and tags? That’s when you need a custom permalink.

Custom permalink is basically a URL structure applied to that particular item in WordPress without affecting the rest of your URL structure.

Let’s take a look at how we can create custom permalinks in WordPress.

Creating Custom Permalinks in WordPress

There are two ways to creating a custom permalink in WP. Often when users are talking about changing the permalink of a WordPress post, they are really talking about the post slug. I will show you how to change the post slug.

But in some cases, users may want to create a completely custom URL structure, and I will also show you how we can do that in WordPress.

Method 1. Changing The Slug Part of a Permalink

In WordPress, the term slug is used for the url friendly name of a post, page, tag, or category. It is automatically generated by WordPress and used in URL when you create a new item.

For example, a post titled “20 Most Amazing Coffee Shops in Manhattan”, WordPress would generate a post slug like this 20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan. Depending on what permalink structure we have, our post URL will look something like this:

http://example.com/2016/02/20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

Same thing happens for our pages, custom post types, tags, categories, custom taxonomies, etc.

Now if we just want to change that slug part of the permalink, then that’s easy. We can do that without installing any plugins or writing any code.

Changing Slug of a Post or Page

The easiest way to change the slug part of a URL for a WordPress post and page, or custom post types is by editing them.

On the post edit screen, look just below the post title and you will see the post URL with an edit button next to it.

edit-post-slug2

Clicking on this edit button will allow us to change the post slug. we can use alpha-numeric characters and dashes in our post slug.

For a more SEO friendly URL, make sure we choose a post slug that contains keywords people would use to search for that content.

Changing Slug of Categories and Tags

Changing the slug of categories and tags is also very easy. Simply go to Posts » Categories and WordPress will show you the list of categories.

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we can take our mouse over to a category and click on the quick edit link. WordPress will show us the title of the category, and its URL slug. we can change the URL slug and click on the Update button to save our changes.

quickedit-categoryslug4

We can apply same method for tags and custom taxonomies as well.

Creating Completely Custom Permalinks

Changing post slug does not change our actual permalink structure. What if we wanted to change permalink for single post, post, page or taxonomy?

For example, if our post URL is like this:

http://example.com/2016/02/20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

And we want to change it to something like this:

http://example.com/best-lists/coffee-shops/top-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

Let’s take a look at another example. Our category URL in WordPress is like this:

http://example.com/category/travel

For that particular category, you want to change it to something like:

http://example.com/travel/

Normally this would require us to change our permalink structure, but that would affect all URLs on our site.

Here is how you would create a custom permalink safely without affecting any other URLs on your site.
First thing we need to do is install and activate the Custom Permalinks plugin.

Upon activation, we can simply edit a post or page and change its URL to anything we want.

custom-permalink-post5

We can also edit categories and tags. Simply go to Posts » Categories and click on the edit link below the category we want to change.

On the edit category page, scroll down to the bottom and we will see the custom permalink field.

custom-permalink-category6

You can do the same for tags and custom taxonomies as well.

Setting up Redirects for Custom Permalinks in WordPress

When you are adding a custom permalink for a new post, then you don’t have to worry about redirects.

On the other hand, if you are changing the URL of an already published post, then you need to setup proper redirects.

Users coming to the old address from search engines and other websites, will not be able to find that page unless you setup redirects.

Same goes for your categories and tags. If a category/tag archive page was indexed, then it would become unavailable when you change the URL.

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