Optimizing your URL structure has always been a very crucial aspect to onsite SEO optimization. It is highly debated which permalink structures and plugins do the best job at keeping your permalink slug looking natural and not over-optimized, but most techniques are dated and are not nearly as effective anymore.
This technique will show you how to optimize your SEO permalink slugs to keep your URL looking natural and optimized for best results.
1. Use the proper permalink structure
While there are hundreds of different permalink structure combinations you could use, the one key element is that your permalink should not immediately follow with your keyword. By using the post date in your URL slug, it not only serves as useful to Google, but also to your visitors.
This is the permalink structure that I have found most effective:
To modify your permalink structure, as always, navigate to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress admin dashboard.
2. Try the “Smart Slug” WordPress plugin
Smart slug is a great WordPress plugin that keeps your URL short and removes keywords that Google deems unimportant or un-interesting, such as “to”, “for”, “your”, “a”, and dozens of more words that are just making your titles longer and keeping them from being optimized (download link).
Removing these words not only makes your permalink slugs shorter, but it helps keep them from being over-optimized exact matches to your keyword phrase.
Both of these techniques are used on this very blog; check it out to get an idea of how this plugin helps clean up and optimize your WordPress permalink slugs, automatically.