As some of your have noticed, we changed the URL structure on Search Engine Journal entries today from the classic “/?=4556” to “/seo-friendly-url-structure-for-wordpress-blogs/4556/” on all Search Engine Journal posts.
I had not done this before because of 4 years of incoming links to SEJ stories which used the old URL structure, and fear of duplicate content issues if redirects did not work correctly. With some help from SEJ co-author (who some of your may recognize from his days at Performancing.com) Ahmed Bilal, we made the switch with little effort.
Step 1 : Go to the ‘Customize Permalink Structure’ page in your WordPress Admin : Dashboard>Options>Permalinks
Step 2 : Then select the ‘Custom Structure’ Option. We only wanted to list the Post Name and Post ID number in the URL, so we customized it as /%postname%/%post_id%/
A full list of customization options is available at WordPress.org/Using_Permalinks
Step 3 : Don’t save the new Permalink Structure yet! Before updating your Permalink Structure, install and activate the Permalink Redirect WordPress Plugin. This lets you bypass mod_rewrites or changes to your .htaccess file.
Permalink Redirect WordPress Plugin replies a 301 permanent redirect, if requested URL is different from entry’s (or archive’s) permalink. It is used to ensure that there is only one URL associated with each blog entry, therefore eliminating dupicate content issues.
Step 4 : Go back to your ‘Customize Permalink Structure’ page in the WP Admin and hit the ‘Update Permalink Structure’ button.
Now all of the posts on your blog will have the new SEO keyword friendly URL structure and all incoming links which point to the old URL’s will be directed to the new optimized URL’s.
As an added bonus, if you change the Post Slug in your blog posts while Writing new posts or Managing older ones, the URL will reflect the keywords in your Post Slug and not the entire title given to a post. If you notice, I’ve simplified the URL for this post to read “/seo-friendly-url-structure/”.