Change WordPress Permalink Structure Without Losing Backlinks
When it comes to changing settings within WordPress, the permalink structure is something that people often leave alone after their blog is established. The permalink structure, however, is one of the most important settings within your blog. This setting dictates how your blog’s URLs are to be written and ultimately affects your SEO and readership.
If you have a blog with timeless or “evergreen” content (meaning that the posts are not at all related to the date), then I would suggest using the /%postname%/ permalink for both SEO and practicality purposes. The only type of website that should have dates in the permalinks is a news blog such as 9 to 5 Mac or CNN. The problem, however, is that the default WordPress permalinks include the date and many people do not think about changing the setting until it’s too late.
Until just hours ago, my permalink settings were to show the year, month, and then the post name. So a basic post written in December 2012 would have a permalink like www.omegaweb.com/2012/12/basic-post. Most of my content is evergreen content, so I wanted to change the structure to be www.omegaweb.com/basic-post instead.
Lucky for me (and you), the developer of the leading WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast has created a tutorial (don’t worry, you don’t need to use Yoast SEO) on how to change the permalink structure without losing Google rankings and backlinks from other sites.
1. Find Out What Permalink Structure You Use
The first step to changing your WordPress permalink settings is figuring out what configuration you are using now. To figure this out, go to Settings > Permalinks inside your WordPress dashboard.
2. Use the Yoast SEO Tool To Generate The Redirect Code
Now you need to use the Generate Redirects tool to create the code that you will need to add to your .htaccess file in step 3. Once you get to the tool, enter the URL of your blog, then select the current permalink structure that you discovered in step 1.
3. Add The Code To Your .htaccess File
When you hit the Generate Redirect, you will be given a single line of code that needs to be added to the top of your .htaccess file. If you don’t know what your .htaccess file is, I would suggest contacting your web host and asking them to change it for you.
4. Change Your Permalink Settings In WordPress
Now that you have the code added to your .htaccess file, you need to change the settings within your WordPress dashboard to make the redirect active. The code generator that I shared in step 2 only converts your current structure to /%postname%/ because it’s far superior to any of the other methods (according to Joost of Yoast SEO).
You will need to go to Settings > Permalinks and change the settings to post name. Once you do that, your new permalinks should be active and the old permalink structure should redirect to the new one.
Did You Run Into Any Problems?
Did you run into any troubles in the process of switching your permalink structure? Did it work perfectly for you? Let me know in the comments!