Sometimes you’ll find that you want to change the name of an existing post or page on your site, but you may have heard that on WordPress, this can be problematic.
Before we answer this, let’s get some terminology straight first. A page does not have a single name as such; it has the following “names”.
- Post Title – the title that appears at the top of a post or page, typically inside H1 tags
- Post Slug – the part of the URL after the domain name and the first slash
- SEO Title – the title tag – the text that appears on the tab when viewing the post in a browser and also in the search engine listing
Changing the “name” of a post can occur in the following 3 scenarios :
Scenario 1: Post Title Change
You can change the Post Title of a page or post without changing the slug and hence this can be done without any URL redirection implications.
The SEO title could be changed too. Bear in mind though that your ranking may be impacted as a result, but I imagine this is probably the idea. One reason for changing the post title is to change the H1 tag on a page for better search engine results.
Scenario 2: Post Slug Change
You want to change the slug (URL) of a page in order to have different keywords present in the slug. If the page is not indexed or linked then you can do this. However if the original URL is “out there” (indexed or linked to) then when you change the slug, you must add a redirect from the old URL to the new URL either in .htaccess or using a redirection plugin.
For example, you would place the following before the #BEGIN WordPress section in the .htaccess file.
Oh No! Are Redirects Always Necesssary?
You do not have to do this by the way if you use our recommended permalinks structure which also includes the post_id. To find out more about this see step 14 in our WordPress setup process.
Scenario 3: Replacement Page
You have two pages: the original version and a new version. You want to send any traffic from the old version to the new version.
In this case you can enter a 301 redirect in your SEO plugin (we use the SEO Framework – here is a blog post explaining how to set up the SEO Framework plugin), so the old page redirects visitors to the new page.
Edit the old version of the post or page, and in the Post SEO Settings section, go to the VisibilityTab and in the Custom 301 Redirect URL field put the full URL of the new page. The screenshot below shows you where in the WordPress SEO plugin on the old page to redirect to the new.