Need to rename some categories on your WordPress site?
As your site grows, you may need to rename some of your categories or merge them with other categories.
In this article, we will show you how to properly rename categories in WordPress without affecting your SEO strategies.
Why rename categories in WordPress?
If you have recently created a WordPress site, then creating a good organizational structure will make it easier for your visitors to find your content and can help your site rank higher on the search engine results pages.
This is why WordPress offers categories and tags. You can learn how to organize your content effectively in our guide to best practices for categories and tags.
As you add more content, you may want to improve the way you organize your posts, and you may decide to rename some of your categories.
Let’s look at how to properly rename categories in WordPress.
How to rename categories correctly in WordPress
To find the WordPress category management area, visit Posts »Categories. On this page you can manage WordPress categories, edit existing categories and delete unwanted categories.
There are two ways to rename categories. The first is to click on the ‘Quick Edit’ link under the category you want to rename.
The Quick Edit meta box will now be displayed. Here you can quickly change the name of the category.
You can also change the category slug, which determines the URL on the category page. For example, if the snail is ‘books’, the category page URL will be:
Editor’s note: You do not need to change the slug if you are only making a minor name change, but if you do, you will need to configure a 301 redirect. We’ll show you how to do that later in this article.
Be sure to click the Update Category button when done.
The second way of renaming a category also allows you to add a description of the category. To do this, click on the ‘Edit’ link under the category you want to rename.
This will take you to the category editing page. Here you can change the category name, slug and description.
The category editing page also lets you select a parent category. You can learn more in our guide on how to add subcategories in WordPress.
Changing the category prefix
WordPress also allows you to change the / category / prefix in category URLs. This is called the category base.
To change it, go to Settings »Permalinks and scroll down to ‘Optional’. There you will see a form to change the category base and tag base.
The default category base is ‘category’. Here you can change it to anything you like, such as ‘topics’.
This would change the URL from http://www.example.com/category/your-category-slug/ to http://www.example.com/topics/your-category-slug/.
Merge and bulk edit categories
As your site grows, you may decide to simplify your organizational structure and merge several categories into one.
This is useful if you find that you have a few categories that are very similar to each other. By combining them into a single category, you will make your WordPress site less complex and easier to navigate.
To learn how, check out our guide on how to merge and bulk edit your categories and tags.
Redirects users to the new category URL
If you changed the category slug, then the URL of the category page has changed and the old URL will no longer work.
Fortunately, if you added that category to your WordPress menu, WordPress will automatically update the menu to reflect your changes.
But when users or search engines try to use the old category URL, it will no longer work. Instead, they will see a 404 page not found error message.
These 404 errors create a bad user experience, which can lead to a drop in search engine rankings and lower e-commerce sales.
To avoid this, configure a redirect from the old URL to the new one. Learn how to do this by using our tutorial on how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.
It is extremely important that you configure the 301 redirect using AIOSEO, otherwise changing the category URLs may have a negative impact on your site search rankings.
We hope this guide helped you learn how to properly rename categories in WordPress. You may also want to learn how to improve your site’s SEO, or check out the list of plugins that are needed to make your site grow.
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