The part of the URL after the last backslash is called URL slug. For example, the URL of this article you are reading is:
The URL slug is “/what-is-url-slug-and-how-to-use-it/”.
Why Is URL Slug Important?
URL slug can be powerful for SEO. Every business with a digital presence would need to work on SEO. If a person searches Google for “what is a slug,” the keywords in your content’s URL structure indicate to Google that your content should rank on the SERP.
A chain of characters, letters, or numbers may appear in the URL of a webpage. These slugs can be perplexing to visitors and might cause them to hesitate before clicking. Those types of slugs don’t seem trustworthy at all.
If the slug clearly expresses what the page is about, it enhances the customer experience as well, despite many other UX tactics to enhance customer experience.
Also, if you have links from other sites pointing to your posts in your site or blog, this is the address that they are using. Once you have fixed the URL slug, you should not make changes to it easily as this would likely impact a lot of links either within your site or from other sites.
Are Web Slugs Important for Search Engine Ranking?
Yes for sure.
A good URL slug also aids Google’s crawler bots in finding your page. As Google accounts for 89% of mobile search traffic in 2021, you need to help Google find your page more efficiently.
Adding SEO keywords to the URL may help you rank for your target words. Google considers the URL as a ranking criterion, so if your URL slug contains your keywords, Google will be more inclined to rank it. There are many fators contributing to the Google SEO ranking and URL slug quality is one of them. Also many free and paid SEO tools can help optimize your search engine ranking efficiently..
How To Use and Optimize URL Slug?
1. Include Your Focus Keywords In The URL Slug
Including your focus keywords helps Google to index and rank your page more efficiently. It also helps your readers to quickly understand what the page or blog post is about. It helps you to recall the contents and history of your own pages or blog posts as well. Some SEO tools will show alerts if your keyword or keyphrase isn’t in the URL slug.
2. Create Focus
Although it is common to just use the title of the page / post as the URL slug, you may want to reconsider whether it is the best option. For example, “/what-is-url-slug-and-how-to-use-it/” is the direct translation of the post title. You can consider reducing that to “/what-is-url-slug/”. This retains the essence of the post while creating a focus for the readers.
Another consideration is that every slug can only be used once in your site. So once you confirm the URL slug and publish the post, your other posts will need to choose other slugs. If you reduce the URL slug to something too generic, for example, “/slug/”, this will affect your choice of URL slugs in the future. That’s why choosing a balanced and focused slug is important for your site.
3. Lower Letter Case Only
To make your site and all the URL slugs consistent, it is suggested using only lower letter cases for all slugs. You can create duplicate contents by mixing upper and lower letter cases but it will create more confusion at the same time.
4. URL Slugs Are Permanent
Changing URL slugs will kill your SEO. All the internal and external links are pointing to the link. For some posts with, say, the year in the title, you probably should choose not to include them in the URL slugs. For example, for a post titled “Best SEO Tools for 2022”, you should choose “/best-seo-tools/” as your URL slug instead of “/best-seo-tools-for-2022/”. When you update your content next year, you don’t need to update all the links all over again.
What Is URL?
A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator, and is used to identify resources on the Internet. A URL can be used to identify any type of resource, such as a web page, image, or file. URLs are typically used when accessing resources on the World Wide Web, but can also be used for other purposes such as email addresses and file locations.
URL Best Practices
1. Optimize Page-path with Keywords
Target keywords should be on your URL slug. This helps crawl bots to understand and match with your on-page contents.
Many site audit tools can run site audits for your site and help identify any URL parameter crawling issues. You can also try to run through a technical SEO audit checklist and see how far you are from perfect.
2. Start Your URL with https
Secure and encrypted connections are possible using HTTPS protocols. Most web browsers will warn a user if they are visiting an unsecured website if you don’t use this protocol. This is likely to deter a person from going any farther.
3. Use Subdomains
A subdomain is an extra component to the main domain name. Subdomains are used to structure and navigate your website’s various sections. You may have many subdomains or child domains on your primary domain but the key is to help your readers to navigate your site.
URL slug refers to the last part of the URL of your page or post. Optimizing your URL slug is one of key components of your SEO strategy. As URL slugs are so visible to your readers, clear and organized URL slugs can enhance their user experience. Simply follow some best practices in URL and URL slug optimization, it will definitely help your on-page SEO in the long run.
Alan S Lui is a marketing and CRM expert. He was previously Chief Marketing Officer of Fusion Bank, a digital bank Alan launched in Hong Kong. Before that he was Chief Operating Officer of Asia Miles, Asia’s leading loyalty program with 12 million members. You can find more of his insights on alanslui.com and connect with him on LinkedIn.
He is currently Director Strategy and Transformation, i-CABLE Communications Group, listed in Hong Kong.