I was recently contacted by a WordPress user and my client who wanted to change their URL structure but were not sure if that is the right thing to do considering they have made significant amount of backlinks to the old URL structure. They also required help making this done properly so they do not undermine any of their SEO effort. I agreed to help.
When changing the URL structure; you got to ask yourself if this is really necessary? You might not want to just change the URL structure every now and then. So unless you have some good reasons you would not want to make the change.
A common yet good reason can be that when you started with WordPress you were not sure of SEO and you used the default URL (permalink) structure. Now you realize that your URLs are not SEO friendly and want to change them to something better. Let me explain this to you with an example –
Now that we know we have to change URL structure; how exactly do we go about it without affecting our link-building?
The answer is simple and is a two-step process –
301 redirect is the most efficient and Search Engine Friendly method for webpage redirection. It’s not that hard to implement and it should preserve your search engine rankings for that particular page (it passes over 95% of your link-juice). If you have to change file names or move pages around, it’s the safest option. The code “301″ is interpreted as “moved permanently”.
If you do not use 301 redirection then if someone tries to access your older URLs they will be given 404 Page Not Found error. This also happens with any backlinks you created previously. This will cause major link loss and would adversely affect your search engine rankings.
This is fairly easy in WordPress and can be easily done by a plugin called Platinum SEO. Here is what you do –
This post should help you change your WordPress URL structure (permalinks settings) without negatively affecting your SEO. If you need any help; feel free to drop me a line using comments section here or by using contact us page.