What is a URL Slug and How Can You Optimise Them?

What is a URL Slug and How Can You Optimise Them?

When it comes to SEO, the devil is in the detail. Even seemingly small things — like URL slugs — can make all the difference

When you delve into the world of SEO, you realise just how far down the rabbit hole you can go. There is always something you can tweak and improve when it comes to your website. Really, you can spend years learning about SEO, and in that time, the rules will change time and again. In fact, since I entered the world of digital marketing, there have been dozens of Google algorithm updates, all of which change the game to one extent or another.

I’ve learned that when it comes to SEO, you should take the quick wins where you can. And luckily, optimising your URL slugs for SEO is simple, quick and straightforward.

URL slugs might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but even in terms of user experience, slugs matter. Slugs that are too long, slugs that contain unnecessary numbers, letters and characters, don’t look safe. We’re used to professional, clean slugs and unoptimised links can prevent people from clicking through to your blog, as they can appear untrustworthy.

Before we go on to explore what slugs are, why they are important for SEO and how to optimise them, I’d love to just put out a word of caution — there’s not much point going back and changing existing URL slugs. It takes up time, and there’s a chance you could do more harm than good. Changing a slug also means creating redirects, which is a pain and best avoided.

Badly optimised slugs are a common SEO error. Thankfully, slugs are really easy to get right, as long as you follow a few simple rules.

While You’re Here, Check Out: How to Build Domain Authority as a Blogger

What is a URL Slug?

The URL slug is the part of the URL that comes at the very end. It identifies a particular page (or blog post) in an easy-to-read way. 

Slug Example 1 — https://yetanothermummyblog.com/panic-attacks-during-pregnancy

The slug for the example above is ‘panic-attacks-during-pregnancy’.

Slug Example 2 — https://yetanothermummyblog.com/sleep-training-methods

The slug for the example above is ‘sleep-training-methods’.

You’ll notice that the slugs are clear and give an immediate indication as to the content of the page.

Why Are URL Slugs Important for SEO?

So why should you care about slugs? After all, you’ve got a lot to do, especially as a mummy blogger. I know how busy you are. You need to think about SEO, but you also have to keep up with your various social media channels, post pins and plan your content calendar. But a well-optimised slug is actually fairly important:

  • An optimised slug can help improve your rankings in Google
  • Your slug gives Google an impression of what your page is about
  • Slugs can improve click-through-rate, which increases your views
  • Clean URLs can improve trust in your website and your brand

How to Create the Perfect SEO-Friendly URL Slug

As I mentioned above, it’s really not that complicated to create a pretty URL slug. In fact, if you’re using the Yoast plugin, the URLs they give you are usually pretty on-point. But it’s always worth reviewing them and ensuring they are perfect.

Step 1 — Make sure you include your target keyword. You have done your keyword research. You know where to use your keywords. You have built your content around your target keyword. Don’t forget about it now! Make sure your keyword has pride of place in your slug. Let your readers, and Google, know what your post is about immediately. Remember, long-tail keywords will increase your odds of ranking, even if they have a lower search volume, as they are usually lower difficulty.

Step 2 — Consider stop words. These are words like ‘a’, ‘is’, ‘like’ and ‘as’. It’s best practice to eliminate as many stop words as you can, while also ensuring the slug makes sense and reads well. If your slug works well using just your target keyword, that’s great — but if you need a word or two filtered in to make the URL seem more human, go ahead. Just try to eliminate as many unnecessary words as possible.

Step 3 — Consider length. Slugs can be almost any length, but the shorter, the better. This will make your post URL easy to remember, so people can simply navigate back to it. As a general rule, try to keep your URL slug to between three and five words

Handy SEO Slug Tips

Before I leave you, I wanted to give you some handy hints I’ve learned over the years:

  1. Leave out numbers — Let’s say you’re writing about your top parenting books, or your favourite children’s names. You have a list of 15, and you think you may as well make this part of your slug. But the number doesn’t add anything. Furthermore, if you plan on revisiting the blog later on and adding to it, you have saved yourself a messy redirect. Simply omit the number, and updating your blog is easy and your URL will still make sense.
  2. Leave out years — Similar to the point above, if you are making a post about your favourite parenting bloggers of any given year, be sure to leave out the year in the slug. That way, you can come back and refresh the blog each year to keep it current and meaningful.

I hope this has been helpful. I’ve been getting some great questions from fellow bloggers since I started this Mummy Blogger Marketing series and I’d love to hear more. If you have a specific question or concern about SEO, let me know!

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