In search engine optimisation, a slug is an integral element of the formula for driving traffic to your website. It is a basic part of SEO optimisation, but one that is often forgotten. Google states that an SEO slug contributes significantly to the ranking of your web page. To ensure you have your slug and website SEO fully optimised, contact Amire or browse our list of services.
What is a page slug in SEO?
A slug in SEO is a descriptive text that identifies a page, post or category within a website. Unlike other metadata, the slug forms part of your URL. Getting the slug right is vitally important because Google and other web crawlers use it to read your page. The slug informs web crawlers what information your page contains.
The slug is the part of your URL that comes after the “/”. An example of a page slug would be https://www.amire.com.au/services, where the slug is “services”. In some cases, you may require a more descriptive slug, such as https://neilpatel.com/blog/17-seo-myths-that-you-should-never-follow.
In the first example, the slug is for a page on a website, and the word “services” is all that is required to describe the function of that page. In the second example, the slug is for a blog post and needs to be more descriptive. A one-word slug, in this case, will not suffice in describing the purpose of the page.
Why is an SEO slug important?
An SEO slug should be easy to read for both search engines and humans.
It is one of the factors taken into consideration by search engines when they crawl your site. The quality of a slug affects your rankings and can make the difference between a top spot on page one or lingering somewhere on page five.
SEO slugs are one of the elements that are shown to readers when they search a topic. A slug should inform the reader what content the page contains and if it can help them. The URL https://www.amire.co
m.au/blog/png-vs-jpg-which-is-best-for-your-website has a slug that clearly shows the reader that this page will help them decide whether to use PNG or JPSs for their website.
What does Google say makes an excellent slug?
Google is quite specific about the size and quality of an excellent slug. They state that a slug should be:
- The right length – Backlinko states that URLs with characters between 50 and 60 long are ranked the highest on Google. This is between 3 and 5 words. The idea is that the shorter your slug is, the better, as long as it is clear, descriptive and keyword-focused.
- Contain keywords – The slug must contain at least one of the keywords that you are trying to rank for. If you are using a long-tail keyword such as “best paella in Barcelona”, the slug “best-paella-barcelona” is perfect.
Creating user-friendly URLs
Keep it simple. You are writing for humans too, and your slug needs to be easy to understand at a glance. Long URLs with lots of stop words, capital letters and a mixture of hyphens and slashes make them hard to
read. Your slugs should stick to the following guidelines:
- Use dashes to separate words for ease of reading.
- Remove alphanumerics and special symbols.
- Use all lower case letters.
- Remove stop words such as “a”, “at”, “the” and “it”. While Google won’t penalise you for using them, a slug is just easy to read without them.
Slugs are a one-time wonder
Bear in mind, you can use each slug only once. So if you write about food and use the slug “cooking”, you will not be able to use that slug elsewhere on your website. In this case, it is preferable to use a descriptive slug such as “cooking-techniques”, “cooking-lessons” or “cooking-paella”.
Getting your SEO slug perfect is pretty simple if you follow the guidelines set out here. If your slugs aren’t up to scratch, you can change them but make sure you add a redirection; otherwise, traffic to your post may be lost. If you are struggling to optimise slugs, or to find the right keywords for current posts, consider contacting an SEO expert such as Amire.