Change WordPress Permalink Without Affecting SEO & Losing Traffic

Sometimes, it makes more sense to change the permalink structure of your blog. But changing Permalink hurts SEO badly. It could result in suddenly your website generating a lot of 404-not found pages. Before we even dive into changing the WordPress permalink structure, here is why I decided to do it?

Why did I decide to change WordPress Permalink?

Earlier, URL of a single article on my WordPress blog looked something like this:

Some of the old blogs began seeing decreased engagement. I am not sure but probably, the year in the URL pointed to the fact that the blogs were really old. Even though I would constantly update the blog to keep them afloat from the SEO point of view, the URL structure was a real turn off.

That’s why I decided to change the permalink structure to something like this:

This new URL structure is intuitive and self-explanatory, marked by categories and even subcategories.

How to Change WordPress Permalink Without Affecting SEO

  • Login to the WordPress dashboard of your website.
  • Go to Settings and then Permalink

Permalinks settings in wordpress

  • Copy the old permalink structure on a notepad before changing that to a new structure
  • Select the new custom structure by choosing different tags from the available tags just below the custom structure.

Which permalink suits you the best?

Well, it mostly depends on what you want to write and the structure you prefer. Initially, I had the permalink structured as Later, I realized that old but golden articles were being ditched by the users because they could see the year name in the URL. This sort of structure can suit a news website. So, I decided to change it to category based.

Install Simple 301 Redirects Plugin & change settings

  • Once you have this plugin installed, go to the settings of this plugin
  • set up the redirect from old URL structure to the new URL structure as shown below

Change URL structure in Simple 301 redirects plugins

  • In the request column, put the old permalink structure which you would have copied in the notepad in the previous step.
  • In the destination column, out the new URL structure and save that.

What does 301 redirect do?

In this case, 301 sets up a permanent redirect from the old URL to the new URL as defined in the Permalink settings. 301 passes the entire SEO juice from the old page to the new page. It makes sure that the permalinks are changed without breaking links.

Checkpoints after changing Permalink

Most of the times, this setup should be sufficient enough on most of the websites. However, it is good to have some checkpoints especially if you are handling some clients’ website.

Do URL inspection in Search Console

  • Go to the URL inspection tool in the new search console and paste the old URL

URL Inspection tool

  • URL inspection tool will generate a report. Which looks like this as shown below:

URL Inspection report

You should look for that under the User-declared canonical, your new URL is being shown. If you are using the Yoast plugin for SEO, it will automatically happen. If it does not, then you have to manually submit the new URLs. Though they will eventually get crawled by Google but the sooner the better.

Check your Robots.txt file

Sometimes, we often block some web pages, mostly on the client’s website, using regex. It is better to have the Robots file checked to see if anything is being blocked unintentionally.

Check and Change your sitemap

Sometimes, I have seen people submitting a manual sitemap to Google. Google does not like a lot of 301 redirects in the sitemap. So, it is important to have them updated. If you are using some plugin to generate the sitemap, the plugin should automatically change the URLs in the sitemap. Here is the sitemap from my blog after changing the URLs:


I am using the Yoast plugin and it changed the URLs in the sitemap automatically. Other similar plugins should do the same. If not, then you should find the right WordPress plugin to change the sitemap. These basic checkpoints will make sure that your website permalinks are changed without affecting the website SEO.

Have a Question? Get in Touch!

2 Replies to “Change WordPress Permalink Without Affecting SEO & Losing Traffic”

  1. niks

    I have 92 posts on my site. If I change permalink. Will it affect seo of my site? Please suggest.
    Is it okay to redirect or the current one is fine. Tell me plz?

    • DigiAshva Post author

      Can you share more details such as your site url and what permalink change you are looking forward to


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