Permalinks SEO and Keywords in the URL

I have read that it is a good idea to have your keywords in the url.   For a long time I didn’t know what that meant. Ok, so I’m old and not as quick to pick-up on somethings, but once I get it, I don’t let go of it easily.   Sometimes it is hard to make the connections between terms used for web sites and terms used for blogs.

Once I started putting the keywords for a page in the url I noticed especially on I was coming up much faster in the searches for those keywords.   I continue to do that to this day.

Okay, for those as slow as me, here is an example.

I once had a page on our web site called

condos.html    I changed it to  tucson-condos.html

Yes, I set up a 301 redirect in the .htaccess file.   If you don’t know what that means don’t worry about it for now.

Permalinks, are to blogs what keywords in the url are to web sites.

The default permalink structure in WordPress is “page = 5”   I don’t know about you but I don’t think that is a keyword I would search on.

Until today I’ve had the permalink structure on this blog set to the default.   You can read why at the Tiga Theme post.   Today I changed that structure and you can see the difference it makes.   Here is a google blogsearch on World Championship Golf Accenture Match Play   There are two results I want to point out.   First a post on Heritage Highlands gated golf from our Tucson Real Estate In the News blog.   Notice the URL has the title of the post and the category of the post right in it.

Next is the post from one of our single property listing blogs on the Acceture match play.   Here is that URL   This one is using the default permalink setting.

If you want your search results from your blog to have the title, which should be your keywords for the post in the URL then change the permalinks to a Custom Setting


Anyone with other suggestions or comment, well you know what to do.


  1. Barbara,

    Thanks for this. I am still working on my SEO for my site.

    I linked you up.

    Loren Nason

  2. We customized the url for the posts on our wordpress blog and found it did help in the search engines. It is the common understanding that search engine traffic reflects consumers coming to the blog and therefore potential clients. This needs further study. I don’t know if it leads to repeat visitors. But that may not matter if you’re getting clients. Have you gotten clients from the blog?

  3. Yes, we are getting clients from the blog, we took a listing from a family living in CA that found us from the blog. We just sold that listing, the agent and buyer saw it from the listing blog, (Yeah, it had it’s own blog).

    We just sold another of our listings, to someone that saw it on the blog, (Again another listing blog) We just represented a buyer who found us from a blog post. They just had an offer accepted yesterday, another property they found on our web site.

    The blog is also increasing our traffic to the web site, in turn bringing in more leads, we are seeing a steady increase in leads since we started blogging.

    And we have reason to believe that on the next PR update, the blog, in less than three months will be a PR5.

    I’m getting ready to do a series of posts on Single Listing blogs and how to attract buyers to them through searches.

    Here is an example from one that just sold, the buyer found it searching for the World Golf Championship Accenture Match Play.   It is number 2 on this blog search and number 9 on a regular google search.

  4. You should really include either post number or date to help with MySQL server load.

    I suppose it depends on traffic, how many sites are on a server, and the type of server used

  5. Andy,

    I suppose it can be a catch 22, if they can’t find you on the web, then you don’t have to worry about the load.

    I’m sure a post will be found on a search of Permalinks, as opposed to p=5

  6. I do agree with that, though this might be a good alternative




    It depends on whether you are using posts for CMS content rather than pages

    The same content is often appearing in category pages, and tags pages if you are using internal tagging extensively thus not having the category in the URL might help with duplicate content issue slightly

  7. I understand changing your permalink to a custom setting in WordPress, but…

    What needs to be changed in the .htaccess file so that posts are in this format /%category%/%postname%/

    I included the .htaccess script below…can you highlight where the changes need to be made?

    # Turn on rewrites.

    RewriteEngine on

    # Only apply to URLs on this domain

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$

    # Only apply to URLs that aren’t already under folder.

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/wordpress/

    # Don’t apply to URLs that go to existing files or folders.

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

    # Rewrite all those to insert /folder.

    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /wordpress/$1

    # Also redirect the root folder.

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?$

    RewriteRule ^(/)?$ /index.php [L]

  8. Carl,

    You don’t need to change the htaccess file. Once you change the permalink structure it will take the DSN up to 24 hours to reset if you are making this change on a existing blog. I try and make this change the first thing I do after creating the blog. I immediately delete the first post, about page and comment, then change the permalink structure.

    Only once did I have to change it on an existing blog. It was this one, after one of the WP updates they had a bug “undocumented feature” that set all permalinks back to the default. It took me a day to catch this, when I set it back it took another day for the DSN reset so the blog posts and pages would show up again.

  9. Carl, It will reset all pages and post in about 24 hours. That is correct. The DSN’s all have it under the old permalink and it takes up to that amount of time for them to reset.

    If it is a brand new blog and you delete everything right away it will have the custom permalink structure right from the git go.

  10. Hey I am also using the same trick manipulating the URL using modrewrite- .htaccess

  11. I had done exactly that for my blog, then had error messages and redirection issues. Hence I went back to the default and ugly-looking permalink structure. Still unresolved.

  12. I just tried to look at your site. It was down. There are issues, for sure. Changing permalinks can cause you to get 404 pages at first. It takes a few hours for the blog itself to adjust to the change from default.

    I always set the permalink structure within the first minute of creating a new site. Otherwise it is change and wait a few hours.

    But what I’m seeing now is more than a permalink issue. I hope you get it resolved soon.


  13. I didn’t realize right away how significant having the right keywords in the location bar was either. Not only that, but the website name itself makes a big difference. If I would have known that, I would have given my site a different name. Is it true that you lose just a little pr juice when you redirect?

  14. No juice lost for a redirect.



  1. […] I like the custom set up described in this Permalinks Post.   If you chose carefully the names of your categories using keywords and use the custom setting of […]