When you are just starting to do SEO, you will probably encounter the word Slug. Various articles mention the article or page slug and the importance of optimizing the slug for better SEO, what does this mean?
In this article, you’ll learn what a slug is and why it’s so important for SEO.
What is slug?
A slug is a part of a URL that uniquely identifies a page and it is in a format that is easy to read by both users and search engines.
For example, get all the URLs that belong to this domain (vietnetgroup.vn). All URLs that start with vietnetgroup.vn and then each and every page or post of the site, have a unique slug.
This is the part after the “/”.
Example 1: https://www.vietnetgroup.vn/dao-tao-seo.html -> then the slug is “dao-tao-seo”.
Example 2: https://www.vietnetgroup.vn/tim-hieu-digital-marketing-la-gi.html -> then the slug is “tim-hieu-digital-marketing-la-gi”.
Example 3: https://www.vietnetgroup.vn/thuc-hanh-seo-wordpress.html -> then Slug is “thuc-hanh-seo-wordpress”.
The domain name of a website and the slug that make up the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of each page.
The URLs for all pages published on the Internet are unique. No published page can have the same URL as another page on the Internet.
Why are slugs important?
Slugs are important for two main reasons:
- It’s one of the signals that search engines take into account in the ranking process. They read the slug and try to understand what the page is about.
- Easy-to-read slugs help users define what to expect for a page. For example, the slug for this page https://www.vietnetgroup.vn/the-h1-la-gi.html is “the-h1-la-gi”, which tells users exactly what kind of information they should be looking for on that page.
Optimizing your slug will give you an edge when it comes to SEO and usability. In the SEO world, the process of slug optimization is the same as creating an SEO-friendly URL.
Slugs in WordPress
It should be noted that the word slug emerged by the WordPress community itself. You can configure your slug in Settings -> Static Paths (Setting -> Permalink).
When you first install WordPress, the URLS might look like this:
This is completely bad for SEO or user-friendliness, so the first thing you need to do is configure WordPress to use the post name as the slug instead of the article’s serial number.
When you go to Settings -> Static Paths (SETTINGS / PERMALINKS), you will be presented with several options, as shown below.
The best approach is to choose a post title so that your posts will include the post name separated by a dash.
That’s a great first step, but there’s one more step to ensuring that your slug is optimized for SEO.
When you create a new post (or edit an existing post), WordPress allows you to edit the slug of a page or post.
As you can see in the image below, there is an EDIT button (EDIT) next to the permalink of each page.
When you click EDIT (EDIT), you can make changes to the slug and optimize for both users and search engines, using the guidelines below.
Note: Optimizing slugs is not just a task for WordPress users. You should try and optimize your slug on other platforms.
How to Optimize Your Slug?
Now that you know what a slug is and why it’s so important to SEO, let’s see how to best optimize it.
Include the keywords you want to rank for
Help Google and other search engines understand for which keywords you want to rank for a particular page or post, by including those keywords in the page slug.
For example, let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “Samsung glass replacement” and you wrote an article titled “4 steps to replace Samsung glass (Tutorial video)”.
WordPress by default will generate this slug: “4-cong-doan-thay-mat-king-samsung-video-huong-dan”.
It’s not bad but it’s long and includes many words and that can cause confusion between Google and users.
What you can do to optimize it is to edit the slug and make it “change-mat-king-samsung”.
This is shorter, easier to understand by users, and gives search engines big clues about what the page is about and the keywords you want to rank for.
Consider removing the masked keyword
As part of the optimization process, you should consider removing the tag words from your slug. These are common words that do not add any value or do not help to understand the actual content of the page.
For example words like “one”, “on”, “and”, “is”, “of”, “you” and other similar words.
Of course, you can keep it when your keywords need it. So I have emphasized quite clearly the consideration of this issue. In most cases, I always leave it if it doesn’t complement the main keyword I want to rank for.
Use dashes to separate words in a slug
This is a common practice and it’s being phased out by the developers, but as a reminder you should separate words in a slug using a “-” and no not any other sign.
Keep the slug short
Shorter slugs are easier to understand and faster to process than longer slugs. This “change-mat-king-samsung” is definitely better than “4-cong-doan-thay-mat-king-samsung-video-huong-dan”.
Another reason to keep your slugs short and keyword-free is the fact that search engines, during crawling and indexing, are trying to match what the user entered. search box with page slugs.
If the exact match is found, the particular page will have an advantage over other pages that may use longer slugs.
For example, if a user is searching for “Samsung glass replacement”, your page with an exact match slug has a slight advantage over other pages with an exact mismatch.
Of course, this is not the only factor taken into account in the ranking process. This is really of low importance.
There are many more important factors used but since you do about optimization SEO, you should try and optimize your slug.
Finally, don’t forget that a page’s URL is shown in search results so snippets are short and descriptive, which will encourage more clicks and visits to your site.
Use only lowercase characters
This is also common practice but worth mentioning again. Avoid having uppercase characters in your slug and use only lowercase letters.
The reason is that web servers like Apache (used by WordPress and other popular CMS), this inteprept: http://www.example.com/Vi-Du-Page-Slug is a different URL than this one: http://www.example .com/vi-du-trang-slug or http://www.exampe.com/en-du-trang-slug.
The slug is the part of the URL that is unique to each page of the website.
When creating a new page or post, you should take the time to optimize your slug by including the keyword you want to rank for and by excluding the tag word. Keep your slugs short and descriptive, use dashes as word separators, and use only lowercase characters.
Important: If you decide to change the slug of an existing post this is the same as changing the URL and this means that you should add 301 Redirections (to redirect the old URL to the New URL), otherwise the change may have negatively impact your SEO.
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