WordPress Permalinks – What The SEO Gurus Don’t Tell You
No matter what industry you’re in, you never stop learning. The day you decide to stop, is the day you limit your potential.
These days, SEO is a hard industry to keep up in.
Google is forever changing and updating to “better” the info they provide in the search engine results.
Did you know Google pushed out 500 algorithm changes this year alone?
After the last update, I found many marketers griping about losing on average 30% of traffic.
It’s a dog eat dog world and Google is The Dawg.
But that’s only if you care about search engine ranking.
If you don’t, totally cool, just do a sistah a favor and share this post.
It’s a PSA for those who rely on search engine traffic for their income.
So here’s the deal.
One thing about seo that does not change is the importance of how you structure your permalink.
Or at least it hasn’t changed yet.
Many of us who start using WordPress, start with either the default WordPress permalinks structure that ads a page number to your domain name or we go with the whole year/month/postname format. When I moved this blog from Blogger to WordPress, I went with the category/postname. Just using postname format was not possible then, it was considered unstable.
Once this option became stable, I wanted to change my permalinks to domain name/postname.
Shorter format, better for SEO.
So I scoured the net.
Read everything I found.
Took the leap after I moved my other blog, After Bedtime Blog.
Once I moved, I headed into Settings > Permalinks and changed changed After Bedtime Blog’s permalink structure.
I then added a bit of redirection coding to the .htaccess file.
For those that I told I would do this for you after I experimented with my own blog, I won’t be doing it. Read on…
ALL links converted fine.
Everything ran smoothly.
I submitted a new sitemap to Google.
Two weeks later, Google deindexes me.
But no fear, I saw that coming, AND my site is indexed again.
I know how to fix that problem.
However, there’s two things I hadn’t foreseen that none of the SEO gurus I read mentioned about permalinks.
#1 I lost my social media share count.
If you thought SEO wasn’t dependent on Social Media…you’re so wrong.
Social proof is a necessity and I’d lost it. Remember, tweet, likes, shares, +1s are all of a specific URL. If that url disappears, so do those shares.
#2 Those backlinks I built to specific posts, though they redirect, no longer count.
Let me clarify.
Though my site is indexed, though all my links redirect just fine…
The url structure of the lin and the destination must match. And my Urls didn’t anymore.
So, my review posts that once ranked on page one of the search engine results are now on pages 2 to 5.
Because without social proof and backlinks to a post, it’s dead in the water if competition is stiff.
This post that ranked #1 and sent me crazy traffic from Google– >
WordPress Image Sliders And Galleries That Kick Ass
means nothing now. My digital footprint has shrunk. And because of it, no affiliate payments for a month.
That’s when I noticed.
When the payments didn’t come in like clockwork, from this post and 3 others, that’s when I knew. Those who know me well know that my affiliate payments covers my mom’s rent (as social security doesn’t do squat even after 36 years of paying taxes) and the website expenses. My income from the services I provide help me to help hubby pay all the other expenses like rent, bills, health insurance, food, things the kids need, etc and leaves a bit to nest away or spend.
November and December is a slow month when it comes to bloggers and entrepreneurs investing in their web presence. So the affiliate sales? I was counting on those puppies.
And yes, I can go back and undo it all, but the fact is, the shorter permalink is better and now that I have it, I shouldn’t let it go. Also, if I changed everything now, it wouldn’t make a difference before christmas, so what’s the point?
Might as well just keep moving forward.
There are two morals to this story.
1. Don’t change your Bloody permalink structure. yes, you can change the keywords in the post’s link from the post area before you publish. And if you have a low performing post that you want to update, by all means, change the permalink and redirect the old one. But do not change your permalink if you have an established blog that generates and income or brings in a high amount of traffic.
I have to admit, I do now get about 50% more traffic, which is what I was hoping for at the least when I changed my permalink structure.
2. Sometimes you can’t really learn something until you do it.
I honestly don’t regret making the change, but if I had foreseen this one consequence, I would have waited.
Again, I’d really appreciate a share. As I mentioned, I didn’t come across this info anywhere when I was researching the permalink change, so I’d like to get this info out to those who are researching it now.
Thanks for reading.