Links are great resources that can bring new traffic to business websites. But what happens when those links are long, ugly, and difficult to read? That's where slugs come in.
A slug is a short, memorable, and easily readable version of a URL that can help improve the click-through rate (CTR) of your links.
In order to effectively use it for your SEO strategy, you need to fully understand what is a URL slug, how it works, and how you can optimize the slug for SEO's best practices. Continue reading to learn more!
What is a Slug in the URL?
A slug is the part of a URL that comes after the main domain name. It's typically used to describe the page or content that resides at that URL.
For example, if we take a look at the URL for this very article, you'll see that the slug is “what-is-a-slug-and-why-it-matters-to-seo”.
This tells us that the content of this page is about understanding what a slug is and how it can be used for SEO purposes.
Why are they Important?
Slugs are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they can help improve the CTR of your links. A well-crafted slug can make your link more appealing and easier to read, which can encourage users to click on it.
In addition, slugs can also be used as a part of your SEO strategy. By including keywords in your slug, you can help improve your page's chances to rank for those keywords.
Examples of URL Slugs
Here are a few examples of slugs in action:
As you can see, each of these URLs includes a slug that describes the page's content. This helps users understand what they can expect to find on the page before they even click on the link.
The first part of the link is the website's domain. The second part is the slug, which tells us what the page content is about.
For example, in the first one. The link directs to the Moz website, specifically its blog section of the website. After that part is where a URL slug is. In this example, it's the blog post about “what is a slug.”
When this appears in search results, like Google, and the user clicks the link – they will be redirected to the website content about what is a URL slug.
What Types of Websites Can Use a URL Slug?
Any type of website can use a URL slug for product pages, blogs, and many different kinds of content. However, they are most commonly used on business websites and blogs.
This is because these types of websites typically have a lot of content that needs to be organized in an easily accessible way.
If you have a blog, then you're probably already familiar with slugs. WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms, automatically generates a slug for each new post based on the title.
You can also edit the slug to include keywords or make it more readable. For example, if your original post title was “5 Tips for Improving Your SEO Strategy”, you could change the slug to “5-tips-for-improving-your-seo-strategy”.
This would be more user-friendly and would include some important keywords for your post.
Business sites can also benefit from using slugs. For example, if you have a product page with a long and complicated URL, you can use a slug to make it more readable and easier to remember.
You can also use a slug to highlight certain pages on your site. For example, if you have a special sale going on, you could create a URL like www.example.com/special-sale that includes the keyword “special sale” in the slug.
This would make it easier for users to find the sale page on your website and could also help improve your chances of ranking for the keyword “special sale”.
How to Optimize Your Slugs for SEO
Now that we know what a slug is and why they're important, let's take a look at how you can optimize your slugs for SEO and how to write them for SEO best practices properly.
When crafting your URL slug, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind:
1. Keep it short and sweet
A good rule of thumb is to keep your URL slug under 60 characters. This will help ensure that the slug is easy to read and remember.
2. Use keywords wisely
As we mentioned before, including keywords in your URL slug can help improve your page's ranking for those keywords. But be careful not to stuff your slug with too many keywords, as this could have the opposite effect.
Instead, focus on using 1-2 relevant keywords that accurately describe the page's content. The best practice is to include your target keywords. As much as possible, use long-tail keywords and avoid keyword stuffing.
3. Use dashes to separate words
When creating your URL slug, be sure to use dashes (-) to separate words. This will make it easier for users to read and understand the slug, and it will also help search engines index your pages more effectively.
4. Avoid using stop words
Stop words are common words that are used frequently in language (e.g., “a,” “an,” “the,” etc.). While they're fine to use in everyday conversation, you'll want to avoid them in your URL slugs as they can add unnecessary length and make your slug difficult to read.
5. Make it readable
Above all else, you want your URL slug to be readable. This means using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Not only will this help improve the CTR of your links, but it will also show search engines that your content is high-quality and worthy of ranking.
6. Don't Change Your URLs Too Often
If you do need to change your URL, be sure to redirect the old one to the new one. This will help ensure that users and search engines can still find your content.
7. Keep it Updated
As your content changes, make sure that your URL slug changes with it. This will help ensure that your slug is always accurate and up-to-date.
8. Only Use Lowercase Letters
When creating your URL slug, only use lowercase letters. Using uppercase letters could result in broken links or 404 errors.
9. Use Canonical URLs
Canonical URLs are the preferred versions of a web page's URL. They help search engines understand which version of a page to index and rank.
For example, if you have two pages with similar content, you would want to use canonical URLs to tell search engines which page is the original and which page is the duplicate.
10. Avoid using dynamic parameters
Dynamic parameters are pieces of information that are automatically generated by a script or program. They're often used to track data or to customize content for users.
While they can be helpful, they can also cause problems for search engines. This is because dynamic parameters can create duplicate content, which can hurt your chances of ranking in the search results.
If you're using dynamic parameters, be sure to use canonical URLs to help search engines understand which version of the page to index and rank.
By following these tips, you can create slugs that are both SEO-friendly and user-friendly. So don't be afraid to get creative with your URL slugs – they just might be the key to driving more traffic to your website!
Different Formats of URL Slugs
Now that we've gone over the basics of URL slugs, let's take a look at a few different formats that you might come across.
1. Pretty permalinks
Pretty permalinks are those that are short, descriptive, and easy to read. As we mentioned before, they typically include 1-2 keywords and are no more than 60 characters in length.
2. Ugly permalinks
On the other hand, Ugly permalinks are long, confusing, and difficult to read. This type of URL often includes a string of random numbers and letters, making it difficult for users to understand what the page is about.
3. Vanity URLs
Vanity URLs are those that are created solely for the purpose of branding. They typically include the name of the company or product, and they're usually short and easy to remember.
4. Custom URLs
Custom URLs are those that are created for a specific campaign or marketing initiative. They often include a keyword or phrase relevant to the campaign, and they can be either short or long, depending on the campaign's needs.
No matter what type of URL slug you're working with, it's essential to keep in mind the tips we discussed earlier. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your URL slugs are optimized for both users and search engines.
How Can a URL Slug Help With SERP Rankings?
As we mentioned before, including keywords in your web page slug can help improve your page's ranking for those keywords. But in addition to that, there are a few other ways that URL slugs can impact your search engine rankings:
Understanding Page Content
They can help search engines understand your page's content. If your slug is short, descriptive, and accurate, it will be much easier for search engines to understand what your page is about. This, in turn, can help improve your page's ranking for the relevant keywords and will show up more on search engine results pages.
They can affect click-through rates. If your slug is short, descriptive, and easy to read, it's more likely that users will click on it when they see it in the search results. And since CTR is a factor in SERP rankings, this can ultimately help improve your site and page's ranking.
Affect Web Pages' Visibility in Search Results
The way your links appear in the search results can also affect your CTR. They can impact the way your links appear in the search results.
If your links are easy to read and understand, users are more likely to click on them. This, in turn, can help improve your SERP ranking.
Additionally, if you're using the right target keyword in a URL slug, it will increase the possibility of appearing more in search engine results like Google.
In conclusion, URL slugs can significantly impact your SERP ranking. So if you're not already paying attention to your slugs, now is the time to start!
Conclusion: Create a URL Slug Strategy for Your Site
URL slugs are an essential part of any SEO strategy. By following the tips we've outlined in this article, you can create user-friendly and search engine-friendly slugs.
So don't be afraid to get creative with your URL slugs – they just might be the key to driving more traffic to your site!
If you require professional help, you can always seek help from SEO agencies or individuals – like RevenueWings. Nothing beats a strategy made by a professional!