URL Slug

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What is a URL slug?

URL slug
Figure: URL Slug - Author: Seobility - License: CC BY-SA 4.0

A URL slug is the part of a URL that identifies a page that often comes directly after the domain extension. For example, the slug of the URL “https://www.example.com/this-is-the-slug” is “this-is-the-slug.”

A URL slug is an important part of SEO since it can both indicate relevance as well as influence the ease with which other sites can link to the site. The URL slug also provides additional information to search engines about the page content and, potentially, its relation to other pages on your website.

URL Slug

Screenshot of a URL on amazon.com with the slug highlighted

Their use in the past

In the past, keyword stuffing in the URL slug was a popular way of improving a site’s position in the SERPs. Keywords in the URL used to be an important ranking factor, which led to many SEOs and webmasters adding large quantities of keywords and related keywords in the URL.

Today, this no longer works and can actually create some negative SEO effects. The negative effects are mainly related to URL structures that aren’t user-friendly, making them difficult to read and link to.

Best practices

There are a number of things considered best practice when it comes to optimizing a URL slug. A number of these are listed below.

  • Keep the slug relevant – By keeping the slug concise and relevant, websites ensure their URL structure is user-friendly and that the page is easy for other sites to link to.
  • Use a short slug - The URL slug appears in the SERPs, allowing search engine users to see the slug before entering a site. By creating short slugs, website owners can ensure the entire slug is visible in the SERPs.
  • Remove words without meaning - By removing words without meaning, like stop words, you keep the URL short and relevant.
  • Include the page’s main keyword in the slug – This ensures the page’s relevance to the keyword is clear to search engines and visitors.
  • Use unique slugs for every page – Slugs need to be unique to avoid pages on the same topic, which can cause duplicate content issues.
  • Separate words using hyphens – This is considered best practice and ensures the words in the slug are easy to read.

Its relevance to SEO

Optimizing your URL structure is an important part of on-page SEO. Optimizing a URL slug can provide various SEO benefits, including increased page relevance, an easier time building backlinks, and a clear site structure, among others.

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