How to Remove the Date from WordPress URLs
October 29. 2020
Every website owner wants to bring as much traffic as possible to its website. And one of the best ways to get it is by ranking high in organic search results. However, that’s not an exactly easy task to do. Hundreds of factors are important for ranking, so you can’t expect to do one thing and get to the top of the SERPs. On the other hand, every step you take should bring you closer to that in the long run. One of the things websites can benefit from and which people often forget is to remove the date from WordPress URLs.
Recently, there was an article where a few SEO gurus talked about increasing their organic search traffic for as much as 50% just by doing this. So, we decided to try it ourselves. Expectedly, we got the anticipated results.
After we got a little bit deeper into the topic, we decided to try and help you to improve your rankings. Therefore, this is a post about why you should remove dates from your permalinks, how to do it, and what kind of results you can expect.
SEO-Friendly URL Structure is Important
As you probably already know, there are a lot of small things you can do to improve your SEO. What we all think about are things like writing good meta descriptions, using alt tags, and tagging posts properly. However, using an SEO-friendly URL structure definitely is one of those also. In essence, there are two things this requires:
- Clean URLs made out of recognizable words separated by hyphens
- Using keywords in your URLs
This should be done simply because the algorithm Google uses knows exactly what the page is all about. It gets a lot harder for it to comprehend it when there are unreadable strings of numbers and other characters in your link. Using underscores is another thing you should make sure to avoid.
Making These URLs in WordPress is Easy
Anyone that has a WordPress website or a blog should know that SEO-friendly URLs are built into the platform through permalinks. However, it’s not enough just to have WordPress to get this. You need to choose the right permalink structure. This is what will help you optimize your website’s search engine performance.
The name says it all. Permalinks in WordPress are the permanent URLs of your posts. It’s what you use to link to the page and it always stays the same. It’s important to mention that it should be that way so the people can always find it via a link.
Now comes the interesting part. Choosing the right structure and creating custom permalinks. This is an essential part of your website’s performance.
What About the Structure?
WordPress lets you choose from a few different default ways of setting up permalinks. For both better user experience and SEO, you want your URLs to be as clean as possible. Therefore, the post name option is what you should go for.
This will bring you clean, SEO-friendly URLs that are not only memorable but which also won’t confuse your readers or search engines. It is an ongoing mystery why all these options exist if there’s only one you should use, but that is a different talk.
Unfortunately, changing permalinks isn’t as simple as choosing the right option and clicking save. If you decide to remove the date from WordPress URLs you’ll have to take care of several things if you want your website to continue working optimally.
How to Remove the Date from WordPress URLs
The first thing you should always do is to contact your host and see if they can do it for you. We at WP Full Care often get custom requests and wishes from the website owners. These are the things we often deal with, so the best option you have is to leave everything to professionals.
On the other hand, if you decide to do it on your own make sure to create a redirect for all incoming links. There are many plugins you can use for this task and what you have to do is pretty much straight forward. redirect all of your year/mo/post links to /post links.
The next thing you need to do is to replace the dated post links in the database. You can use a plugin like Seach Regex is to find all the links and replace them. However, be very careful as /wp-content/uploads/year/mo links are to your photos. You don’t want to lose those, do you?
After you’ve done all of that you can go to your settings tab and finally change the permalinks.
Post-Name Permalink for a Better SEO?
New speculation also occurred recently. And it said that placing your keywords at the front of the URLs brings some benefits. By removing the dates, you do get your post title closer to the front of the link.
Although that could work in the past, we don’t think that a difference of a few characters would make a massive change today. Google algorithms are only getting smarter and what they care about the most when monitoring a WordPress website is the authority or relevance of the post.
The other thing is the freshness. Removing the date, especially if it’s an old one, can make your post seem fresher. And although this is true when it comes to your readers, Google will always know when the post was published thanks to the publish date. So, there’s no running away from that.
Republishing With a Current Date
Making a website current and relevant certainly is one of the ways to help your SEO. Therefore, it may be tempting to go ahead and change all the dates to TODAY. However, that might not be the smartest idea.
There is a thing called the weight of time, which means that the longer page exists the bigger its’ authority becomes. So, you have to be very careful if you want to not only remove the date from WordPress URLs but also republish it. This can make sense, but make sure to choose the right candidates for it.