What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for website positioning

  • December 30, 2022
  • elkenz
  • 8 min read

What Is a URL Slug?

A URL slug (also referred to as web site slug) is the final a part of the URL deal with that serves as a novel identifier of the web page.

For instance, the article you’re studying now has a URL that appears like this:


The URL’s slug is “what-is-a-url-slug”.

url slug

Why Is a URL Slug Vital for website positioning?

A URL slug is usually thought-about an excellent place to incorporate the goal (or main) key phrase of a web page.

In spite of everything, Google Search Advocate John Mueller has confirmed that phrases in a URL are a rating issue. 

However he additionally emphasised that it’s a “very very light-weight” one, and it primarily helps to evaluate the web page earlier than Google accesses it.

In one among his tweets, Mueller additionally mentioned:

In different phrases:

Even when having key phrases within the URL is a rating issue, we should always not overestimate its impact on rankings.

Nevertheless, it could nonetheless make sense to make use of the goal key phrase of a web page in a URL slug. Particularly contemplating the person expertise (UX) viewpoint, which is intently related to website positioning.

Let’s check out these two examples:

  • https://web site.com/weblog/rock-climbing
  • https://web site.com/weblog/82354

Whereas the primary instance gives clear details about the content material of the publish, the latter is only a chain of numbers that does not present any added worth. 

If somebody solely noticed these two URL addresses, they are much extra more likely to click on the primary one. (Whatever the precise content material on both web page.)

That is why a URL slug ought to present a concise description of a web page. Because it occurs, a good way to do that is to make use of the goal key phrase. 

Tip: Use a key phrase device like Semrush’s Key phrase Magic Device to search out the very best goal key phrases on your web site. Should you’re unsure begin, comply with our key phrase analysis information. 

URL Slug Finest Practices

Let’s check out some finest practices and tips about create good URL slugs.

Be Descriptive

As we have already talked about, the first position of URL slugs is to make URLs extra user-friendly. Due to this fact, they need to describe the content material of a web page.

  • Good URL slug: /best-air-purifier
  • Dangerous URL slug: /2575

Utilizing the goal key phrase is a good way to attain this. Why? As a result of it’s often an correct, but very brief, description of what the web page is about. 

This brings us to the subsequent tip …

Make It Concise and Simple to Learn

A very good URL slug should not be too lengthy. Lengthy URLs are tougher to learn and/or keep in mind. Attempt to use fewer than 5 phrases in your slug. 

  • Good URL slug: /abs-exercises
  • Dangerous URL slug: /the-best-abs-exercises-for-all-levels-of-gym-goer

Furthermore, a URL that’s too lengthy will get truncated in Google search outcomes. Whereas this isn’t an website positioning catastrophe, it does not make the web page snippet look excellent.

long url slugs get truncated

Separate Phrases

The way you separate the phrases (or not) influences the readability of a URL slug. Separating the phrases within the slug helps customers perceive the URL extra simply. 

  • Good URL slug: /best-travel-tips
  • Dangerous URL slug: /besttraveltips

Use Hyphens, Not Underscores

The most effective observe is to make use of hyphens to separate phrases in URLs. Serps might not accurately interpret different separators (like underscores). 

  • Good URL slug: /good-old-fashioned-pancakes
  • Dangerous URL slug: /good_old_fashioned_pancakes

Tip: Semrush’s Web site Audit will detect URLs that use underscores, in addition to many different points associated to URL addresses. Strive it totally free.

Use Lowercase Characters

Since URLs can usually be handled as case-sensitive, it’s best to stay to lowercase characters to keep away from any points and make it simpler to write down the URL manually. 

  • Good URL slug: /new-york
  • Dangerous URL slug: /New-York

Keep away from Particular Characters

Google Search Central recommends avoiding non-ASCII (American Commonplace Code for Info Interchange) characters, akin to particular characters of some languages or emojis. 

  • Good URL slug: /emoji-meanings
  • Dangerous URL slug: /😊🚀

Make It Future-Proof

It’s best to keep away from numbers which might be more likely to be modified sooner or later, like various suggestions or concepts or the publishing 12 months.

  • Good URL slug: /how-to-write-url-slugs
  • Dangerous URL slug: /10-tips-to-write-url-slugs-in-2022

Notice: Should you do have to alter the URL slug, ensure to redirect the outdated URL to the brand new one. 

URL Slugs & WordPress

Since WordPress is the most well-liked CMS on the planet, let’s take a more in-depth take a look at change a URL slug in WordPress. 

In the beginning, it is advisable to ensure your permalink construction will permit for user-friendly URL slugs.

Go to “Settings” and click on “Permalinks.”

Right here, you’ll choose one of many fundamental permalink construction sorts or create a customized one. We strongly advocate utilizing the “Put up identify” construction.

choose permalink structure

This fashion, WordPress will routinely create URL slugs based mostly on the title of your web page or publish. However extra importantly, it is going to can help you edit the URL slug.

To vary a URL slug in WordPress, you may must go to the editor of a particular publish or web page.

Right here, in the fitting panel, you may discover the “URL” part. After clicking the routinely generated slug, you’ll edit it.

change url slug in wordpress

Should you’re utilizing the Yoast website positioning plugin, you can too change the URL slug within the Yoast website positioning panel on the backside of your editor. 

yoast seo plugin url slug

The plugin’s “website positioning evaluation” part may even notify you in case your URL slug doesn’t include your focus keyphrase (i.e., the goal key phrase).

seo analysis

Take this as a suggestion you possibly can comply with if it is smart for you—not one thing it is advisable to do in any respect prices.

As we have established earlier, key phrases in URL slugs have a really small website positioning impression. It is best to primarily concentrate on the UX moderately than key phrase stuffing. 

Notice: Most different content material administration programs (CMSs) can help you customise URL slugs. Here is how to try this in Wix, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace.

Learn our information to WordPress website positioning to be taught extra about optimize your WordPress web site.


Are Web site Slugs Vital for website positioning?

Sure, URL slugs are necessary for website positioning. They’re an necessary person expertise component. And UX and website positioning are intently related.Phrases utilized in URLs are additionally a really light-weight rating issue.

What Is the Distinction Between a URL Slug and a URL?

The URL is all the internet deal with of a web page, whereas the URL slug is simply the final a part of the URL that serves as an identifier of the web page.

  • URL: https://www.apple.com/store/iphone-12
  • URL slug: /iphone-12

What Occurs When You Change the URL Slug?

As soon as the URL slug is modified, the entire URL deal with of a web page is modified. It means the web page cannot be accessed by way of the outdated URL deal with anymore. 

Each time you modify the URL slug, it’s best observe to arrange a 301 redirect from the outdated URL to the brand new one. 

This fashion, you may forestall customers from touchdown on a 404 error web page. In addition to a possible lack of visitors and hyperlink fairness from hyperlinks pointing to the outdated URL. 

Why Is It Known as a Slug?

The identify “slug” has been utilized in journalism. It refers back to the observe of utilizing brief descriptions of articles for inner functions.

Subsequent Steps

Now that you realize what a URL slug is and create or change one, chances are you’ll wish to take a look at our on-page website positioning information and take a look at different on-page website positioning elements that may enhance your rankings.

Additionally, our Web site Audit device may also help you determine and repair many frequent issues with URLs, akin to:

  • Use of underscores in URLs
  • Too many parameters in URLs
  • URLs which might be too lengthy
site audit tool

All it is advisable to do is to create a free account and run your first audit!

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