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The default permalink structure that yo get when you install WordPress is NOT very SEO (search engine) friendly and will not help your blog posts to rank well for your chosen keywords in the search engine results.

The “permalink” structure is basically the file structure that wordpress uses to record where you blog posts and pages are stored on your site.

the default option is usually like this:

although you also have two other options:


Non of these are particularly search engine friendly, I won’t go in to all the reasons why, as this is not a post about SEO, but rather about how to optimise your blog for the best results.

The last option available on the “Options” -> “Permalinks” settings page in the Admin area of your blog is for a custom permalink structure that you can specify yourself.

The best format to use to make your posts search engine friendly is (imho) this:


This is better for two main reasons, first it’s a short format with no “?” in, and second it will include any keywords that you include in your blog post title.

If you’re not including keywords in your blog post title your should be, it helps the search engines know exactly what your post it about, and helps you to get better search engine rankings.

Oh, and keep the title relatively short as well, the search engines prefer shorter “urls” or file structures, so keep it short, attention grabbing and to the point, using your keywords for the post.

SEO lesson over. 🙂


Now before you rush off and make the changes to your blog, you need to be aware that if you have already got posts on your blog, changing this structure will mean that any of your existing posts that are indexed in the search engines will have the old file structure, which means that when someone finds that post in the search engine results and then clicks on it they will end up on a “404 page not found” error page, as the indexed page no longer exists, because it’s effectively moved to a new address.

As usual there’s a simple fix for this, a plugin called “Deans Permalink Migration”, which you can find the download link for on the BlogTactics Plugins page

Now here’s the potential hiccup..

To work it’s magic the plugin needs to add some code to a file on your site called .htaccess and some hosting plans are set up in such a way that the plugin will not be able to make the necessary changes and you will get the “404 page not found” error for all your posts, don’t panic, there’s another simple solution, which I show you how to do in the video below: –

You can grab the “mod rewrite” code you need for the .htaccess file on my free blogging resources site, it’s the third link down on the left hand side under “Misc. Blog Stuff”.

So all you need to do is download the .htaccess file to your local hard disk, edit it with text pad or similar, paste the “mod rewrite” code in to the file (at the bottom will do) and then upload the file back to your site.

All fixed and you will now have an SEO friendly file structure for your blog that will help your posts rank better in the search engine results.

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Comment by Alex Newell
2008-07-14 03:38:49

Very interesting Matt – I was about to email you asking about this! I am used to using %category%/%postname% for permalinks.

The idea being that it gives a stronger theming and makes it easier for googlebot to find your stuff. And I’m using 10 Day CAsh Secerts now and Categories are in the datafeed.

What do you think? does it make any difference?



Comment by admin
2008-07-14 15:07:10

Hi Alex,
I prefer to just use %postname% to keep the url length short, but using %category% to get the “theme”/niche keywords in as well does work, especially if you’re using the 10daycashsecets plugin.

Comment by Daniel McGonagle
2008-07-28 10:47:54


wasgonna Skype you about this but figured the best thing to do was

A- See how you’re actually doing it on your permalinks
B- See how other highranked blogs are doing it.

I’m using category/postname as the permalink structure, and yes, that makes the links longer, but its added keywords, too.

If category of a post was in reviews section/category and you wrote a review on something, then SEs highlight the word REVIEW in category plus in title of post.

Also, there’s a plugin called redirect old slugs, which could make it seamless for people if they swiotch their permalink strucuture and don’t want visitors to get a bunch of 404s..
Then again,your blogs rank higher than mine do, so what do I know, 😐

Comment by Steven
2008-10-17 23:00:22

Hey Matt i am really amazed of the fact,how you give value information for nothing in return. I am truely greatfull and thank you for real. You remind me of one of the greatest ball player that ever played the game ( Baseball hall of Famer Lou Gehrig ) The Iron Hourse. Professional, humble and kept a low key but was truelly an Awsome, and explosive productive player, never made himself to be the center of attraction, like some that claim to be Gurus. And yet the world knew who Lou Gehrig was, the Greatest. Thanks Garrett .

Comment by Steven Cachola
2008-10-27 15:57:09

Hey Matt this is the very problem i have been trying to resolve and breaking my head over because after 2 months of blogging i noticed that it was set at default and now to arrange it to how it should be has causesed much problems. I have tried using the Deans perma plugin but of no avail so i am stuck and forced to go with the default. I wish i would had known sooner, it feels like i have waisted away all my efforts, “another learning process”, but i,m still searching for a way to resolve this. Thank for the heads up anyway.

Comment by admin
2008-10-27 17:08:25

Hi Steven,
have you made sure the htaccess file has the following code in: –

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]


Comment by david
2008-12-06 02:04:12

If you are using category%/%postname% right now, changing it to just %postname% would I really need that Deans Plugin in because the %category%/%postname% still exists doesnt it?

Comment by admin
2008-12-06 06:22:44

Hi David,
well, you can always test it out and see what happens…
although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just install the plugin..?

Comment by John Dufresne
2009-06-24 13:55:17

Hi Matt,
After my site crashed and wiped out everything, I am rebuilding it, dropped the www and have /%postname%/ done.
However, I use a jump.php script and all the links are getting 404’s.
I try the a href=”jump.php?xxxx” /a and get a 404. I then tried a href=”postname/jump.php?xxxx” /a and still get 404.
How do I work around this or fix this?
Do I go back to default and hope that works?
Thanks Matt.

Comment by admin
2009-06-25 22:24:07

Hi John,
what is the “jump.php” script and what are you useing it for?

Comment by sandrar
2009-09-10 07:57:08

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

Comment by Matt
2010-11-15 13:01:43

Hello. I have a new WordPress ‘Artist’s in Progress’ blog (2months old) is all the permalink information relevant now? ➡ Nov 2010. Have they sorted it out so it is SEO friendly or is it the same (as well as the possible 404 error page happening to old posts)?

Comment by admin
2010-11-15 20:40:17

Hi Matt,
yup, this is still valid and relevant, the standard permalink format hasn’t changed.


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