What? What are Permalinks good for?
First things first. Permalinks are just the last part of the web address a blog posting or page has.
With traditional, static web sites, these would be the names of the html files on your site (such as “about_us.html,” or “services.html”). In the world of blogs, a permalink is the last part of the address used to link directly to an article. The “perma” comes from “permanent,” as in “unchanging.” The thought being that when you first post a blog article, it might appear on your blog’s home page, but it will only be there until you’ve posted enough other posts to push it off that page — but the permalink will always take someone to that particular post. Originally, all permalinks looked something like this:
But then folks realized that search engines like Google might just consider the link address of a page as an indicator of the content of that page, so programmers figured out a way to set things up so the permanent links to specific blog posts could have meaningful text links instead of links based off of a database id. With that, permalinks moved from purely practical use to an important way to reinforce the keyword phrases on a blog.
3 easy steps will get your keyword phrase into your WordPress permalink. I don’t know if they are the same for other blogging platforms:
ONE, Write your keyword phrase into your blog title; ideally, put the keyword phrase at the beginning of the title.
TWO, Find the heading permalink setting under Settings and set it to use your blog title.* (Important–read note below.)
THREE, Use the edit feature at the top of your wiisig editor to shorten the permalink. Delete all the non-keywords like “is,” “and” and “but.” Keep it to about 4 words so it’s easy to cut and paste. This makes it easy for people to cut and send the link of your article to a friend or add it to an article and easy to see what it’s a link to.
*One note of warning. This seemingly simple change actually requires some fairly sophisticated stuff to go on behind the scenes. When you set the permalinks to anything other than the default, WordPress actually changes the configuration of the web server. This is not a problem within WordPress, but if you have other non-Wordpress pages or tools on your site, you should definitely check with your web designer/developer before making this kind of change.
And finally, for those of you with good ol’ static html webpages, you can take advantage of this as well by changing the generic titles of your html files to phrases that use keywords relevant to the specific pages. So instead of “about_us.html,” you might have something like “about_almost-everthing-web-design-and-development.html.” Just be sure to change all the links to these files as well, or else you break the links between the pages on your site!
Karen Nierlich is an expert internet marketing consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. She and her partner Tod Abbott are co-owners of the firm. If you are ready to blog or want to discuss using pay-per-click to drive traffic to your site, give her a call at 510-502-4563. Full Orbit can add a blog to your site, train you to blog effectively or consult with you about other traffic building strategies.