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 Search Engine Optimisation (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, in the past five years alone, there have been dozens of updates to Google’s algorithm, each changing the game to one extent or another.
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.
Before we go on to explore what slugs are, why they are important for SEO and how to optimise them, here’s a word of caution — there’s little point going back and changing existing URL slugs unless you understand how to redirect your old URL slugs to your new ones. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple case of changing a URL — and if you don’t have the proper redirects in place, you can end up with a lot of broken links and lost Google rankings.
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
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://enchantingdigital.com/blog/parenting-books
The slug for this blog post is parenting-books.
Slug example 2: https://enchantingdigital.com/blog/how-get-backlinks
In the example above, the slug is how-get-backlinks.
You’ll notice that the slugs are clear and give you an immediate idea of what each blog is about.
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 business owner. You need to make sure your site’s optimised, but you also have to prioritise the bottom line, your employees and keeping your customers happy. But a well-optimised slug is actually fairly important:
- An optimised slug can help improve your rankings on Google
- Your slug gives Google (and users) an impression of what your page is about
- Slugs can improve click-through-rate, which means more website traffic
- Clean URLs can improve trust in your website and your brand
How to Create the Perfect SEO-Friendly URL Slug
As mentioned above, it’s really not that hard to create a pretty URL slug. In fact, if you’re using the Yoast plugin, the URLs they give you are usually on-point. But it’s always worth reviewing them and making sure they’re perfect.
Step 1: Make sure you include a target keyword. You’ve done your keyword research. You know where to use your keywords. You may have even built your content around those terms. Don’t forget about them now! Make sure your keyword has pride of place in your slug. Tell your readers, and Google, what your post is about. Remember, using long-tail keywords will increase your odds of ranking, even if they have a lower search volume, as they are usually easier to rank for.
Step 2: Look out for stop words. These are words like “a”, “is”, “like” and “as”. It’s best practice to eliminate as many stop words as you can, providing the slug still makes sense and reads well. If your slug works well using just your target keyword, that’s great — but if you need to keep a word or two in to make the URL clearer, go ahead. Just try to eliminate as many unnecessary words as possible.
Step 3: Consider length. Slugs can be almost any length, but in most cases, the shorter, the better. This will make your post URL easy to remember so that 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 we leave you, we wanted to give you some handy hints we’ve learned over the years:
- 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, so you may as well make this part of your slug, right? But the number doesn’t add anything. Furthermore, if you plan on revisiting the blog later on and adding even more numbers to your list, you’ll have saved yourself a messy redirect. Simply omit the number, and then, updating your blog is easy.
- Leave out years: Similar to the point above, if you make 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.
Focusing on URL slugs might not seem like a big deal, but these quick little wins add up in the long term. If you want to make sure you’re taking all the right steps in your business, speak to Serena, our savvy strategy superstar, for help with your digital marketing strategy.