Why do URL slugs matter for SEO

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There are endless terms in the digital marketing domain, related to SEO, content marketing, influencer marketing, paid media, and more. Talking solely about the SEO industry, there are numerous terminologies, some of which we might not even be aware of. One such terminology that we are going to deep dive into is URL slug. 

What is a URL Slug? 

Many marketers who are new in the industry find themselves asking “what is a URL slug?”, “why does it matter?”, “What are the benefits of URL slugs?”, and more. 

A URL slug refers to the trailing portion of a URL after the backslash (“/”) that identifies a particular page or post. Each slug on a webpage should be unique and give readers and search engines information about the content of the web page or post. No slug is added to the homepage URL or website domain name, but all other pages have a slug, which is automatically generated when you create a page or post. However, an automated slug may not be as useful as a slug you create yourself using best practices and keyword strategy.

Now that we have understood what exactly a URL slug is, let us now understand why a URL slug matters. 

Why are URL slugs important for SEO ranking? 

A URL slug is often considered the best place to insert a page’s target (or primary) keyword. After all, Google Search Advocate John Mueller confirmed that the words in the URL are a ranking factor. Though, he also emphasized that it’s “very light”, mostly useful for ranking pages before Google visits them. Even if URL keywords are a ranking factor, their impact on rankings should not be overestimated. However, it can be useful to use the page’s target keyword in the URL slug. Especially from a user experience (UX) perspective, which goes hand in hand with SEO.

Best SEO practices for URL slugs

Now that you know the importance of optimizing your URL slugs to make them user-friendly, let’s take a closer look at three best practices to follow when customizing your slugs.

Keeping them concise yet informative

Keywords in your URL won’t significantly improve your rankings, but one of the best SEO practices is to include your main topic or keyword in your URL slug. It’s best to keep the title short and simple so that it’s easy to remember and understand, and to give an overview of the title.

Make it readable

Most web servers treat lowercase and uppercase URLs the same, but this is not always the case. Technically, everything after the domain name in the URL is case-sensitive, so some servers treat it differently. URLs are traditionally written in lowercase, so it’s best to use the same for simplicity. Additionally, it is important to separate words in slugs for easier comprehension. It is recommended to use hyphens instead of underscores to separate words within a slug. It identifies hyphens as word separators and helps you understand what the page is about. It is also advisable to avoid special characters in your URLs. 

Make it future ready

It’s always good to avoid the use of numbers in your URLs that are likely to be changed in the future. For example, if you are writing about the trends, avoid mentioning any particular year, as the trends might be different in the future. Making URLs future proof is an activity that must be kept in mind of every marketer and ensure that they are in place to avoid problems. 

Conclusion

URL slugs aren’t just for telling your website visitors what your page name is. It provides important data for search engines to organize and display your pages. While some businesses have an understanding of how to use URL slugs in their overall SEO strategies, some seek help from the best SEO agencies for the same. Knowing how to improve your URL slug and overall URL strategy can improve your SEO results.

 

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