What is a permalink? Definition and use

What is a permalink? Definition and use

The term “permalink” is part of the current lexicon of the web. Formed from the contraction of “permanent” and “link”, it designates a type of hyperlink that remains the same even when the content of the corresponding web page is caused to change. This article provides a detailed definition of what a permalink is (permalink, in English) and the reasons for using it.

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What is the point of a permalink?

A permalink is a type of link that is distinguished by its stability over time. But why use a permalink rather than another type of hyperlink?

First, using a permalink helps prevent broken links. The “breaking” of a link occurs when the content of a website or blog is modified. The entire tree structure is impacted and the links can no longer obey any hierarchy. The pages to which these links refer cannot then be found.

Therefore, using permalinks is effective in preventing 404 errors, which the server reports when it fails to establish a connection. These error messages are bad for the user experience. They also penalize the natural referencing (SEO) of the website or blog.

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In addition, using a permalink makes it possible to create a URL structure that is more logical and therefore easier to understand for Internet users. This is an important criterion for the fluidity of the user’s journey between web pages.

Finally, a permanent link is designed to be shared everywhere on the web, whether on social networks or on specialized platforms. It is therefore essential to communicate on the Internet.

Things to consider when making a good permalink

Formatting a permalink requires following a few basic rules. Indeed, it must be able to be read by everyone on the Internet, including search engine algorithms. Here are the elements to take into account to structure a permalink.

First of all, a permalink must follow a particular syntax. The different words of a permanent URL must be separated by hyphens to be distinguished from each other by the human eye, but also by search engines. Articles like “the”, “the” or “the” are not allowed, since they overload the structure of the link without bringing any clue to the content of the page.

Overall, it is advisable to favor short URLs and include elements specific to the content of the page, such as the date and the title if it is a blog post, for example. As the requirements for structuring permalinks are mainly based on their reading by search engines, it is important to use strategic keywords. More precisely, it is necessary to use a semantics specific to the content of the page in the permalink in order to optimize the SEO performance of the page and that it ranks among the first search results.

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Finally, a permalink should not be modified. To make it point to a new web page, you must set up a redirection protocol. In this way, the server will understand that the original web page is no longer available and that it must display the page registered in the redirection protocol. For the Internet user, the redirection is invisible. This is the reason why a permalink is considered immutable in time and in its content.

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