In the world of SEO, small changes often lead to big improvements in the search engine rankings.
Nowhere is this truer than it is with the slug. It only takes a few seconds to optimize a slug, yet the impact it can have on your site’s traffic and rankings can be significant.
But what is a slug and how does it affect your site’s rankings?
Read on, because today we’re covering everything you need to know about this often-neglected ranking factor.
A slug is a part of the URL for a web page.
In this example, “this is a slug” is the slug in the following URL: www.yoursite.com/this-is-a-slug
The slug is the individual file name for that page. It is the unique identifier for every page on a website.
Slugs are commonly found at the end of a URL and they should be easy to read and understand. If you write posts in WordPress, the slug is the part of the URL you’re allowed to edit.
When a search engine like Google indexes your page, it looks for clues to discover what the page is about. These clues, often called ranking factors, are what determine which pages appear in their search results.
From the earliest beginnings of the internet, the slug has been an important ranking factor.
The URL is also displayed in the search results. When more people click on your link, not only does your site get more search engine traffic, it also climbs higher in the rankings.
For this reason, you want a short and simple slug. People are more likely to click on a clear and friendly URL than one that ends in random characters and numbers.
Here a few things to keep in mind when you’re naming your slug.
People decide in an instant if they’re going to click on a search result or not. If you’re going to convince them to click on your page, you’ve got to make the slug short and sweet. It also should describe what your page is about.
Do not include too much information if you plan on updating a page later. For example, don’t name your page “8-dog-training-tips” if you plan on adding more tips in a later update. Be mindful of adding dates for the same reason.
Words like “a”, “and” and “the” and similar words are stop words. Remove them because they are unnecessary and they add to the length of your URL.
Google disregards stop words, so they have no SEO benefit. They simply make your URL longer for no reason. Remember, shorter is better when it comes to slugs.
If you plan on having many pages on the same subject, then you probably want to be specific when naming your page.
For example, if you are planning to write several posts on dog training, you’ll want your slugs to reflect that as it does in these examples:
But, if you have one page which you will always refer to as your definitive page on the subject, you could get by with a one or two-word slug. In the previous example, you could simply name the slug “dog-training.”
Slugs are an often overlooked search engine ranking factor. But it’s worth it to optimize them correctly as they help readers and search engines understand what your page is about.
If you would like help optimizing your site for the search engines, let us give your site a free SEO audit.