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How to Properly Rename Categories in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)

Do you need to rename some categories on your WordPress site?

As your site grows, you might need to change the name of 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.

How to Properly Rename Categories in WordPress

Why Rename Categories in WordPress?

If you’ve recently created a WordPress website, then creating a good organizational structure will make it easier for your visitors to find your content and can help your site rank higher in search engine results pages.

That’s why WordPress offers categories and tags. You can learn how to organize your content effectively in our guide on best practices for categories and tags.

As you add more content, you may wish to improve the way you organize your posts, and you may decide to rename some of your categories.

Let’s have a look at how to properly rename categories in WordPress.

Video Tutorial

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.

How to Properly Rename Categories in WordPress

You will find the WordPress category management area by visiting 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 the ‘Quick Edit’ link under the category you wish to rename.

Click the Quick Edit Link

The Quick Edit metabox will now be displayed. Here you can quickly change the name of the category.

You can also change the category’s slug, which determines the URL of the category page. For example, if the slug is ‘books’, then the category page URL will be:

https://example.com/category/books
The Quick Edit Metabox Will Now Be Displayed

Editor’s Note: You don’t have to change the slug if you’re only making a minor name change, but if you do, then you must set up a 301 redirect. We will show you how to do that later in this article.

Make sure you click the Update Category button when you’re finished.

The second way to rename a category also allows you to add a description of the category. To do this, you will need to click the ‘Edit’ link under the category you wish to rename.

Click the Edit Link Under the Category You Wish to Rename

This will take you to the category edit page. Here you can change the category name, slug and description.

Category Edit Screen

The category edit page also lets you choose 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 category base and tag base.

WordPress Also Allows You to Change the Category Prefix in Category URLs

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/.

Merging and Bulk Editing 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. By combining them into a single category, you will make your WordPress site less complex and easier to navigate.

To learn how, check our guide on how to merge and bulk edit your categories and tags.

Merge categories, tags, or terms in custom taxonomies

Redirecting Users to the New Category URL

If you changed the category’s slug, then the URL to the category page has changed and the old URL will no longer work.

Luckily, if you added that category to your WordPress menu, then 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 eCommerce sales.

To avoid this, you will have to set up a redirection from the old URL to the new one. Learn how to do this using our tutorial on how to track 404 pages and redirect them in WordPress.

Activate redirects in AIOSEO

It’s extremely important that you set up the 301 redirect using AIOSEO otherwise changing the category URLs could negatively impact your website search rankings.

We hope this tutorial 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 list of must have plugins to grow your website.

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Reader Interactions

33 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I have my blog on wordpress.com. I tried to use the suggestion to use the admin area to change a category as the Posts->Categories option is not available to me. Weh I tried to use Admin->Categories, I was told that I did not have permission to make the change. Is there some concept of an administrative user on wordpress.com? How do I go about using this facility?

    • You would need to reach out to WordPress.com’s support for the location to rename the categories in their interface.

      Admin

  2. Hi, I don’t have any option to delete or change the name of categories. When I go to My Site/Blogs, there’s nothing there that says categories. I’m using the free version of wordpress – would that make a difference?

    Thank you

      • Thanks for your quick response. I am using WordPress.com. I still can’t work out how to delete categories, or to change the names.

        • Hi, I’ve been trying to delete/edit categories for the free WordPress as well, and I’ve just figured out how:

          My Site > Settings (about the 2nd to the last option at left side menu) > Writing tab > Categories > then click on the ellipsis at the righthand portion of the category you want to delete > Delete.

          Hope this helped!

  3. It sounds like if I change any catagories, I won’t be able to let users and search engines know of change… WordPress doesn’t offer the redirection plugin???

  4. What would be helpful is mentioning HOW you can replace all those links throughout the site instead of simply stating that you have to. As you mentioned in the video, your site grows.

  5. how come I do not see the same screen you show on the video?
    And when I click on post, it only allows me to add post, there is not edit or delete button for category.

    • Missy, try the drop-down menu you get when you hover over ‘My Site’ on your blog’s home page. The thing you want from the drop-down menu is ‘WP Admin’ – this should take you to the pages that look like they do in the tutorial above.

  6. Hi, thanks for this helpful post. I’d like to ask, if I add a second category to a post (as opposed to just changing a post’s category) I’ve noticed that sometimes the post url will switch to that category slug, resulting in a 404 and lost likes/shares on social media. Is there any way that this can be avoided?

    Thanks in advance,

    J

      • Hi, many thanks for your reply. What I was hoping was to somehow figure out a way to keep the original category slug so as not to lose the social share count.

        For example if I have a post in “science” and want to add it to the “latest news” category as well, I’d like to stop the slug from changing to /latest-news/ from /science/ or at least be able to rewrite it if it does. Is there any way to do that?

        Thanks again for your help

  7. Thank you for the article it was great. Forced me to do some reorganizing, but I appreciate it. :)
    I am still searching for away to remove the “category” base from my permalinks.
    I would like to do it without a plug-in if possible. The plugin that I did find with the best reviews hasn’t been updated in 2 years.
    Options such as adding “.” or “/” are not working for me.

    Hope someone can help.

    Thanks

    • @Jeremy, I do not knoe if you still need this or you found it already or you still need it, you can use this plugin (Remove Category URL) for it.
      Hope it helps.

      Regards,
      Temmyhlee

  8. When I rename category to topic,generated sitemap still contain category(not topic).

    Is there any ways to fix this?

    • Where do you want it renamed?

      To change that general label in the presentation of the ‘blog to a visitor (as such), one would edit the theme, or create a child theme with the relevant edit. That editing itself would not be done through the dashboard (though selection of a child theme would).

      To change the general label of what are called “categories” in the dashboard might make sense if you have multiple contributors or if it really disturbs a single contributor. I’ve never had a felt need for such a change, but one could hack the PHP, or install one of the plugin tools for editing the dashboard.

  9. My question is this…if I change the category names and my blogs are categorized to the old names, will my blogs be redirected to the new names automatically or do I need to go to each blog and and re-categorize them?

  10. Thanks so much! I was puzzling over how to do this very thing. I am new to blogging and having a great time; this entire realm is making my brain work and I love it. In my next life I want to learn to write code. :) If you are toodling around the web and want something to read, I would be honored if you peeked at my site, and welcome any input. I use a pen name. Thanks for all this info!

  11. Thanks for this; I’ve finally built up enough content that I need to seriously consider organizing. I couldn’t figure out how to merge categories, and didn’t realize their importance for SEO.

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