Perfect Permalink Setup for Photography Blog URLs

Perfect Photography URLsWordPress is a type of blog particularly helpful in search ranking for photographers. Why? It is easier to rank blog posts that have searchable keywords in the URL and WordPress lets you modify the way URLs are generated. If you have a WordPress blog, click on one of your posts and look at the URL. If it shows you need to change settings in order to leverage keywords in the URL.
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Default URLs for WordPress blogs omit keywords, and use a number for each post like p=123. You can tell it to replace p=123 with keywords from the name of your post. For example a post called “Cool Sacramento Portrait Sessions” can have a URL like cool-sacramento-portrait-sessions.

On the left menu in WordPress, click Settings then Permalinks and choose one of the three sturcutres below (the third one uses your posts’s assigned Category in the URL as well). This action changes every URL for your entire blog (it may break links), but we still recommend it to be searchable in the future.

How to get photography keywords into WordPress URLs

My blog uses the last option above (custom structure), and that is what I recommend for photographers. It incorporates the category of each post in the URL. For example this post has /seo in the URL because it falls within my SEO category. Imagine a baby photographer who has a baby category with 10 post, a child category with 5 posts, and a newborn category with 20 posts. Google instantly knows how many posts you have in each category (by crawling the links that connect your pages together) and gains an incredible amount of topical information about your site. Search engines and users gain tons of info about each post because they can see /baby, /child, and /newborn in the URL (the same way you instantly know a site is a blog when you see /blog in the URL).

Takeaway: Update WordPress settings to use keyword-rich URLs instead of nonsearchable
numeric ones.

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  1. says

    Quick question for you about this… I like the idea of changing to have the category and post name, but what will happen if I have more than one category assigned to each post? For example, my posts usually have categories for the type of portrait session (newborns, family, engagements, etc.) and for the location (Laguna Beach, Diver’s Cove, Coto de Caza, etc.) . So which category will it choose? If that is the case would I be better off choosing another option, like date/month and post name? Thanks!

    • says

      @vahonda Excellent question! It will default to just one category in the URL. I save the primary category first, then go back and add additional to insure the one I want is in the URL. Although I’ve seen other blogs that default to the first category selected (alphabetically first). Posts should not be in more than one or two categories. If you’re finding most of your posts are in multiple categories then I would get more specific on your category naming.

  2. jdpafundi says

    Zach – How does this affect Google’s current indexing of your site? When I change my permalink structure from post title to category/post title, Googles current search results get messed up because of the URL change.

    • says

      @jdpafundi Excellent question! Google will reindex quickly, but there can be a temporary negative hit depending on a lot of other factors. For 99% of people the temporary confusion is minor and the longer term benefit is major. You can also eliminate any issues by updating your .htaccess file with a list of the old URLs and new URLs. It basically tells the server and crawlers to quickly switch to the new URL without anyone noticing. This can get technical and cumbersome but is worth it if you’re individual posts are ranking very well, or your site is more than a couple years old. Just search htacces redirects for how to do this, or there may be plugins available.

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