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Need to change a page URL?
You can do this inside the WordPress dashboard without installing any new plugins.
And, this same method works for posts too.
However, there are a few things you need to know to avoid page errors and loss of search engine traffic. You’ll learn how to update a page’s URL without any errors by following these steps.
How to change a page or post’s URL
Start by navigating to the editor for the page you want to update.
Inside the editor, locate and open the Permalink section in the right sidebar.
Inside the Permalink section is an input where you can enter a new “URL slug.”
The URL is always going to start with your domain followed by the custom slug you enter. The “slug” is just a name for the characters in the URL appended to your domain.
To update your page’s URL, all you have to do is type in a new slug and hit the Update button to save your changes.
If you don’t see this option it’s because your site is using the default permalink structure, which simply uses the page’s ID as the slug.
Visit the Settings > Permalinks page, and you can switch over to the “Post name” setting to have cleaner, editable page URLs.
But before you make this change or edit your post’s URL at all, please read the next two sections to understand the visitor experience and SEO implications.
How to prevent traffic & SEO errors
Let’s say you have an About page at this URL:
You don’t like how long the URL is, so you change it to this instead:
When you make this change, the link in your menu will change automatically for you. However, any links you added manually inside posts and other pages will not update. That means if you linked to your About page from a blog post, that link now leads to a URL that doesn’t exist, so your site will show a 404 error instead.
Furthermore, other sites on the internet may have linked to your About page. Now their links also point to a 404 page on your site. Besides creating a negative experience for visitors, this also hurts your search engine rankings. External links (backlinks) help your site rank higher, but you may lose credit for these links if they point to broken URLs.
And there’s one more implication. If Google was ranking your About page, it will have to remove it once the URL changes, and it could take a while before it finds and ranks the new About page in its place.
The good news is that all of this is easily prevented with a page redirect.
How to redirect pages & posts
Redirects simply take visitors from one URL to another.
In this case, the redirect will be set up on the page’s old URL and point visitors to the new URL. It happens instantaneously behind the scenes, so visitors won’t even notice. Search engines will understand the redirect too and rank the new URL in place of the old one.
While the steps are fairly simple, I’ve outlined them in a separate tutorial you can read here:
If you are only changing the URL of one or two pages, creating the redirects with that solution is quite simple.
Redirecting hundreds of pages
If you changed your permalink structure, this is going to change the URL of every post and page on the site. While you can manually redirect each one, it could take a while if you have more than a handful of pages published.
In this case, you can still use the solution in the tutorial linked to above, but you may want to buy the premium version of the 301 Redirects plugin so you can add a RegEx redirect rule to redirect all of your pages to the new URLs at once.
Writing a RegEx rule is a bit complex, but it can save you from manually creating hundreds of redirects.
This is only necessary if you’ve changed your permalinks structure and have too many posts to redirect manually.
Here’s the next step
It’s best to avoid changing URLs if you can, but there are times when you need to modify them. When that happens you can easily change them using the permalink editor in WordPress.
After changing a page’s URL, make sure to add a redirect so that internal and external links will still take visitors to the right place.
If you want to keep learning how to use WordPress effectively, I’d recommend taking our free 7-day email course next:
It’s packed with tips and strategies to build a better website with improved design, performance, and monetization. You’ll get one email per day for the next seven days and you can opt-out anytime if you want.
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If you’d like to learn more about redirects, check out the ultimate guide to redirecting from our friends at ContentKing.