Slug Usage Best Practices And Optimization Tips

Check the slug usage best practices and URL optimization tips to improve site SEO and page rank, make easy-to-read post links

Updated on August 21, 2023
Slug Usage Best Practices And Optimization Tips

You’ll inevitably have to optimize your website slugs to run a successful and effective SEO campaign for your website or blog. Despite being such a simple method to optimize your website’s SEO, few new website owners or administrators know what they are and how to use them. Check the slug usage vest practices and URL optimization tips to improve site SEO and page rank.

Slugs on WordPress

In WordPress, the slug is the part of your URL you can edit when writing a new post. Note that this only works with the right permalink settings. Editing your slug in WordPress looks like this:

Things like the date or category name sometimes included in URLs aren’t part of the slug. And if you have added more variables to your URL, the slug is still just that editable part of the URL to the page, like this: There’s an additional value at the end of that URL. In this case, that extra variable is used so slugs can be the same without the URL being the same.

SEO x Slugs

Writing a good slug for your page or post can positively affect your SEO. It allows you to do the following things:

Slug Keyword

The main SEO benefit of a slug is that you can change the words to make sure that it has the words that you really want to rank for. It’s one indicator used by Google to determine what a page is about. Check the slug usage best practices and URL optimization tips to improve site SEO and page rank, make easy-to-read post links.

Friendly URLs

The URL is also one of the things that people see in the search results. Picture a results page: you’ll see many URLs about a certain topic using the URL slug for SEO.

So you need to ensure your structure aligns with what people expect to see. For example, our main article on WordPress SEO has the URL, which is very on point.

People are much more likely to click on that than on, even though that’s the slug WordPress creates by default.

Slug Optimization

What must you consider when constructing the right slug for your post or page? Let’s go over four steps of optimizing your slug:

A Small Tweak That Makes a Big Difference

Optimizing your slugs to be more search-engine friendly might seem too simple to be of any use. However, its simplicity is one of the key reasons it’s such an effective tool for ranking your website in SERPs. It’s in a format that’s easy to read for humans and computers and corresponds directly to your web pages and content for slug optimization.

Now that you know what slugs are, how they’re used, and some fundamental best practices, you have all the tools to optimize the slugs for your website or blog. Sometimes, winning the SEO race comes down to tiny margins, which means every angle is worth exploring.

Add Keyword

This is probably a no-brainer, but for the record: your keyphrase should be in the URL. It has to make clear what your page is about immediately. The SEO analysis in the Yoast plugin will show this message if your keyphrase isn’t in the slug:

The slug that’s generated by default may include function words like “a”, “the” and “and” and similar words. Sometimes, you might need those in the slug to clarify what your page is about, but you can usually leave them out. We have written a tad bit more on these words in our WordPress SEO article

Focus For Slug Optimization

Don’t just filter out unnecessary function words, but all the words you don’t need. In the case of this post, WordPress automatically created the URL “slug-usage-best-practices-and-optimization-tips” (based on the permalink settings in WordPress).

That’s quite long, so I manually reduced it to “slug”. Make sure the slug still makes sense, though.

There is one thing to keep in mind here. You can use a link structure only once, so you should use it for the right page.

For example, the structure for this article is ‘slug’, which is very specific. We won’t write another article with “Slug” as a topic. This informative article is the central point for information about these URLs on our website.

But if this were just an additional post, and we were planning to write the main article later, we’d have a problem. You’ll understand why: because the slug “slug” would already be taken. So, do consider the page’s level or position on your website for slug optimization.

Keep It Simple

The URL of your page appears in Google search results. Not always. Sometimes it shows breadcrumbs. Don’t include too much information if you intend to reuse the URL for article updates. Be careful adding dates and such to your URL, as these will instantly give away when content is initially published.

For example: in the image, you can see an article the title mentions in 2018, but the URL doesn’t. That makes for easy updating, so the article is still valid in 2019 and on! Another reason to keep it concise: a short slug that comes right after the domain allows Google to show keywords in its mobile search result pages as well.

A word of warning: taking these steps before publishing your post is best. If you think of a better structure after publishing your post, it may be tempting to change it. It’s just so easy. But beware: doing this means changing the URL, and to avoid 404 errors, you’ll need a redirect.