How to Remove the Date from a WordPress URL
‘Evergreen’ content – which refers to posts that are always relevant and don’t age – is a pillar of blogging. However, if you have dates in your URLs, it can make your articles appear outdated, even if the information in them remains relevant.
A simple solution to this problem is to remove the dates from your WordPress URLs. The process is painless, and is an excellent way to ensure that nobody judges your posts by their ‘covers’. It also helps make your links easier to read and more memorable to visitors.
In this article, we’ll explain why your post URLs might have dates in them. Then we’ll walk through how to remove that element, step by step. Let’s get started!
Why There Are Dates in WordPress URLs
By default, WordPress doesn’t include dates in its URLs. Instead, the Content Management System (CMS) uses a basic structure that contains the post number, such as http://example.com/?p=1234.
This format isn’t really beneficial for anyone. Readers won’t be able to tell much about a post from the number, and it doesn’t give search engines anything to work with. Fortunately, WordPress lets you change your URL structure:
If your URLs contain dates, it’s because someone selected that option. While this is certainly better than the default structure because it gives search engines context, it’s still not ideal. The resulting permalinks are a little long for humans, and the dates may make content appear unnecessarily outdated.
Therefore, it’s usually better to go with the ‘Post name’ or ‘Custom’ formats. These structures make your URLs easily readable by visitors, while still giving search engines what they need to properly index your pages.
Important Considerations Before Changing Live URLs
If you’re just creating your website or blog and don’t have any pages yet, you can freely set your URL scheme without any unintended consequences. However, if you want to update the structure on an existing site, there are some things to keep in mind.
First, changing the URL structure can result in 404 errors (“Page Not Found”) on existing pages, for both users and search engines. This creates a poor User Experience (UX), and could result in lost traffic and higher bounce rates.
Second, backlinks from other websites will also return 404 errors, which can significantly impact your search engine rankings. Both of these problems can be avoided by setting up redirects after changing the URL scheme.
Setting Up Redirects After Removing Dates From URLs
The simplest way to think of redirects is as forwarding addresses for your website. When a user or search engine crawler visits a URL with a redirect rule, it automatically sends them to the new address.
This effectively eliminates the 404 issues that can arise when changing your URL scheme. It also ensures that your search rankings aren’t impacted.
Since we’re talking about WordPress, there are multiple ways to set up redirects. However, the quickest way for most people is to use a plugin. We recommend either Redirection or Safe Redirect Manager.
How to Remove Dates from WordPress URLs (In 3 Steps)
With the preliminaries out of the way, it’s time to remove those dates from your WordPress URLs. This is a straightforward process – just three steps.
Step 1: Create a Site Backup
First, before making any changes to your site, you’ll want to create a fresh backup. This ensures that if something goes wrong, you can restore things to a working state.
There are several ways to back up your site, including using a WordPress plugin or tools provided by your hosting provider. If you’re a WP Engine client, the easiest method is to use our backup tool.
To do so, you can log into your WP Engine dashboard and select Sites from the sidebar:
Find the website you want to back up from the list, and then click on the three dots under the Actions column. Next, select Backup environment:
In the window that opens, you can enter a backup description, and then click on Create backup. Now you’re ready to change your URL structure.
Step 2: Change the Link Setting to ‘Name’
Next, head to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Settings > Permalinks:
There you can select the structure you want to use. We recommend Post name for most sites, although a custom structure can also work.
Step 3: Save Your Changes
After you’ve selected (or custom created) the proper URL structure for your site, click on Save Changes. WordPress will now remove the dates from your existing URLs, and use the new format for future posts.
If you want to take things a step further, you can also eliminate dates from your meta descriptions. We’ll explore how to do that in the next section.
How to Remove Dates from WordPress Meta Descriptions (In 3 Steps)
If you want to be consistent and remove dates from your meta descriptions, you can do so fairly easily using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Let’s walk through the process step by step.
To begin, head to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance > Customize. Next, select Additional CSS from the sidebar:
This opens up a text field where you can enter CSS to customize your website beyond the options that are normally available.
Step 2: Add in CSS Code
In the Additional CSS field, you can enter the following lines of code:
display: none !important;
Here’s what that looks like, pasted into the Additional CSS box:
This code will automatically search your meta descriptions for date fields and remove them. Once you’ve entered your code, click on Publish to save your changes.
Step 3: Review Your Changes
Finally, to see if your changes worked, you can perform a Google search for your own content. Then simply check the description for any sign of a date.
If you don’t see one, congratulations! You’re all finished. If you do, double-check that you entered the code correctly and saved your changes.
Maintain Your Site With WP Engine
Dates in your WordPress URLs can make your content seem outdated, potentially costing you valuable clicks. Removing them cleans up your links and ensures that your ‘evergreen’ posts always appear fresh.
To remove dates from post URLs, simply make a backup, change the permalink structure in your WordPress settings, and create redirects to ensure that users get to your new URLs without issue. It’s a quick process that makes your site much more user-friendly.
If you want to make your site as customized and user-friendly as possible, WP Engine can help. We offer the best managed WordPress hosting in the business, with plans to suit any need!