How to Properly Rename Categories in WordPress

Having a good structure on your site makes it easier for readers to find your content. This is why WordPress offers categories and tags to properly organize your content. To learn more about them check out Categories vs Tags guide. As your site grow, you might find a need to change the name of your categories and/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.

Video Tutorial

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WordPress has a nice category management area, located at Posts » Categories.

Category menu under posts in WordPress admin dashboard

On this page you can manage WordPress categories, edit existing categories, and delete unwanted categories. There are two ways to rename categories, the Quick Edit way, which allows you to change a category name and slug quickly.

Quick edit name and slug of a category

With quick edit you can change category name and slug but if you want to add description to a category then you need to click on Edit. This will take you to category edit page where you can change a category name, slug and description. You can also choose a parent category on this page.

Edit a category's name, description, slug, and parent

You can also merge and bulk edit your categories and tags. By merging you can combine two or more categories into one.

One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that changing a category slug will change the category URL. So if you are using that URL in your WordPress menu then the link in the menu will not update itself. You would need to manually update that link to the new category url.

Once you have renamed your WordPress category, you will need to setup proper redirection for search engines and users. Use our tutorial on how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress. This method allows you to redirect users coming from other sites as well as search engines to the correct category URL.

WordPress also allows you to change the /category/ prefix in category URLs. It is called category base. To change it go to Setttings » Permalinks and scroll down to Optional. There you will see a form to change category base and tag base. For example you can change http://www.example.com/category/your-category-slug/ to http://www.example.com/topics/your-category-slug/.

Changing category base in WordPress Category URL

Using right keywords in your category names can increase your site’s SEO rankings. It also allows users to easily navigate through your site’s content.