Easily Change Your Permalinks With No Loss to Traffic or Search Engine Rankings

Posted by on Jun 15, 2007 in SEO

I just barely changed all my blog post permalinks on this blog from the longer /blog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ to the much simpler and shorter /%postname%/. I have been wanting to do this for quite some time, but was worried about the loss in traffic I may experience due to old links pointing to my old URLs.

It’s very easy to change the permalink structure in WordPress. You just go to admin panel Options->Permalinks, change your permalink structure to your new desired structure, then click the Update Permalink Structure button. The problem with this, however, is that any old links poining to your old URL will become broken, which will cause a loss in direct traffic from those links and a loss in search engine rankings that old URLs may have occupied.

The solution is to do a 301 redirect from your old URLs to your new ones, that way any traffic directed to your old URLs will automatically be redirected to the new ones, and Google will recognize that your pages have permanently moved and will update their index accordingly. I used the Permalinks Migration Plugin for WordPress that easily accomplishes all this. Now old posts such as my learn how to make money from blogging post can be accessed through either its old URL its new URL.

Here is a little step by step guide if you would like to change your permalink structure and not lose any traffic or search engine rankings.

1. Download and unzip the Permalinks Migration Plugin.

2. Upload the file deans_permalinks_migration.php into your wp-content/plugins/ directory.

3. In WordPress go to admin panel->options->PermalinksMigration and enter in the old permanlink structure of your site.

4. Go to admin panel->options->Permalinks and change to the new permalink structure of your choice.

After completing these four steps all of you old URLs will automatically be forwarded to their appropriate new URL.

One Comment

  1. 6-28-2007

    Great post Chris. Thanks for sharing with us.