What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (2022)

What Is a URL Slug?

A URL slug is the part of the URL after the last backslash. For example, the article you’re reading now has a URL that looks like this:

https://www.semrush.com/blog/what-is-a-url-slug

The URL’s slug is “/what-is-a-url-slug.”

Why Is a Slug Important for SEO?

As you can see from the example above, a slug can be very powerful for keyword SEO. If a user were to search Google for “what is a slug,” the keywords in the URL structure of your content helps signal to Google that your content should be included on the SERP. A good slug can improve a user’s experience if it clearly states what the webpage is about.

Sometimes you may see a webpage URL with a chain of characters, letters, or numbers. These slugs canbe confusing to users, and they may hesitate before clicking. Those kinds of slugs don’t look very trustworthy.

A good URL slug also helps the Google crawl bots understand how to get to your page and confirms the content on it.

Are Web Slugs Important for Search Engine Ranking?

The short answer is yes.

Using SEO keywords in your URL can help you rank for your target keywords. Google uses the URL as a factor in ranking your page, so if the URL slug includes your keywords, then Google will be more likely to rank it.

Is There a Difference Between a URL Slug and a URL?

  • The URL slug is the last part of a full URL.
  • The URL itself is the entire web address for the page.

To see this in action, let’s review one of the examples included in a previous Semrush guide to on-page SEO basics:

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (1)

In this image, the entire address: https://www.semrush.com/blog/on-page-seo-basics-urls/ is considered the URL.

The last element, circled in red, is the slug.

(Video) What's the SEO Impact of Changing URL Slug / Permalink?

Slug & URL Formats on Different CMS

There are different reasons for using various content management systems (CMS). Each CMS may use slugs differently.

For example, if you build a site with Wix, you can customize and change your slugs. However, there are some specific slugs you cannot use. Such slugs are reserved for Wix apps and are considered unavailable.

Shopify URL Formats

Shopify follows a very specific format when it comes to URLs:

  • /products/subfolder —product pages
  • /collections/subfolder —product category pages
  • /pages/subfolder —web pages

It can be difficult to change the slugs. Shopify web URLs are interconnected, so changing a slug could cause broken links.

You can try to apply a parent-child URL structure for your own slugs by using a layer of filtering or tags. However, these tags won’t be as flexible for products. These URLs will also be difficult to migrate away from Shopify if you ever choose to do so.

According to the Shopify community forums, you may need to ask the Shopify support team for customized slugs.

Bigcommerce URL Formats

Bigcommerce is a website builder platform that includes the option to create an online store. It’s arguably more customizable than Shopify when it comes to URL structure, but the platform does still follow a specific format.

The platform provides all the tools you need to open an online store. Bigcommerce’s tools are easy to use, which can be attractive to people that are not too keen on building and customizing their setup.

WordPress URL Formats

WordPress allows greater freedom when it comes to slugs. You can edit the URL of the pages and blog posts you upload, and change them whenever you want.

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (2)

This image above features the slug for StudioHawk’s Melbourne location page. As you can see, the field can be edited and changed. This is handy if StudioHawk wants to target some SEO keywords for Melbourne.

(Video) How To Write SEO Friendly URLs, Permalink Structure & Slugs To Help Rank in Google

Poor URL Slugs

Poorly structured URLs can look like spam or a scam. To a user, this can be very off-putting and they may not click through.

For example, let's review this URL:

https://z.co.nz/about-z/find-us/map/-47.26432,150.007324,-34.542762,-174.836426/all/opennow/any/

This URL will likely inspire some important questions: what is Z? Is this URL pointing to an about us page? Are those map coordinates? Why are the words ‘open now’ featured? Is it a shop?

Let’s take a look at this URL:

https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/5038390

The NLA stands for the National Library of Australia, but which record are we looking at?

Bad URLs are confusing for search engines and crawl bots. If the URL doesn’t indicate what is on the page, why would a user click-through? Why would they trust that URL? How is a crawl bot supposed to index the NLA page? Who searches for “5038390?”

Unless a user was given that number and specifically entered it into a search, how would this web page ever be returned in a SERP?

It is always worth trying to customize your URL slugs for both user experience and for indexing purposes. Make the slugs as simple as possible so users can find your pages with ease.

(Video) Ask Yoast: what's a slug?

URL Best Practices

Start Your URL with HTTPS

HTTP protocols offer secure and encrypted connections. If you don’t have this protocol, most web browsers will alert a user that they are heading to an unsecured website. More often than not, this will deter a user from continuing through.

Have a Clear Domain

If you can, match your brand name to the domain name. This helps users and search engines easily understand where they are.

For example: “ https://semrush.com” points to Semrush's online tool suite. You can see their brand name in the URL so you can be assured that when you click through you will land at Semrush’s website.

Notice that there is no “www” before the address? While technically it is still part of the URL (and you can include it if you'd like), convention no longer requires it.

Use Subdomains

Say you have a subdomain for your site's store. That would look like this:

store.yoursite.com

In this case, the above URL would take you to your site's store. Google views subdomains as separate websites, meaning Google would crawl and index them separately from your site.

Optimize Page-path with Keywords

Here, you’d add your target keywords to the URL slug; this is easy for crawl bots to understand and matches up with the on-page content.

We’ll look at this URL for example: https://www.semrush.com/blog/on-page-seo-basics-urls/

From one glance at the URL, we can tell that this page is a blog post about on-page SEO basics.

(Video) In what ways are URL slugs important to SEO?

In Semrush’s on-page SEO checklist, there is a section just for URLs. Notice the slug on this URL has an extra section. This is an href link, which is great for navigating within a web document:

https://www.semrush.com/blog/content-optimization-list-blogging-for-people-and-search-engines/#header5

Some good tips for URL structure also include:

  • Avoid placing a year in your URL. You’ll be able to easily update the content without changing the URL. Any page authority or ranking the page has earned will be maintained and the content remains evergreen. If you do need dates in the URLs, just remember to redirect if you update to a new year.
  • Include keywords whenever possible. The URL is a big flashing sign that tells search engines what your page is about. If someone searches “how to make a blueberry pie,” and the URL slug on your page is “how-to-make-a-blueberry-pie,” it obviously serves search intent. The URL states clearly what is on the page.
  • Be clear with the slug to avoid content duplication. If you have similar URL slugs, Google may struggle to differentiate the page content, and hence choose not to serve either page up on a SERP. A site audit can help avoid any URL parameter crawling issues.

How Can Semrush Help You Find URL Structure Issues?

The Site Audit tool can help you locate and address any URL structure errors your site may have. To use the tool, you'll need to create a project for your domain.

If you already have a project set up for your domain, click through to your dashboard to see the Site Audit card:

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (3)

Once the tool is open, you’ll need to configure the audit’s settings, including the crawl scope, any website restrictions, and more. Once you’re happy with the settings, select “Start Site Audit:”

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (4)

Once the audit is complete, you'll be able to view any errors from the dashboard or from the "Issues" tab:

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (5)

As always, you can also use the Keyword Magic tool to find the best keywords to include in your slug.

What Is a Slug? URL Slugs and Why They Matter for SEO (6)

Key Takeaways

SEO can be used in all parts of your online presence, even in your URLs. Every bit of on-page optimization helps you in the SEO world.

You can use Semrush to find keywords, check your URLs, and more, so you are working the search rankings as best you can.

(Video) WordPress Slug SEO For Better Search Engine Rankings | WP Learning Lab

Remember to be clear with your slugs so users and Google know exactly what is on your page.

FAQs

Why are slugs important for SEO? ›

Slugs refer to the end part of a URL after the backslash. It explains the page's content and, when done right, could benefit your SEO ranking.

Does URL slug matter for SEO? ›

Are Web Slugs Important for Search Engine Ranking? The short answer is yes. Using SEO keywords in your URL can help you rank for your target keywords. Google uses the URL as a factor in ranking your page, so if the URL slug includes your keywords, then Google will be more likely to rank it.

What is a slug used for SEO? ›

A slug is the part of a URL that identifies a particular page on a website in an easy-to-read form. In other words, it's the part of the URL that explains the page's content. For this article, for example, the URL is https://yoast.com/slug, and the slug simply is 'slug'.

What does slug mean in URL? ›

A Slug is the unique identifying part of a web address, typically at the end of the URL. In the context of MDN, it is the portion of the URL following "<locale>/docs/". It may also just be the final component when a new document is created under a parent document; for example, this page's slug is Glossary/Slug .

Why do URLs matter for SEO? ›

URLs are a good way to signal to a potential site visitor what a page is about. The proper use of URLs can help improve click-through rates wherever the links are shared. And keeping URLs shorter makes them user friendly and easier to share.

Why are slugs important? ›

Why are slugs important? Slugs are important for two main reasons: It's one of the signals taken into account by search engines during the ranking process. They read the slug and try to understand what a page is about.

Is a slug the same as a URL? ›

The URL refers to the entire thing. The slug is the part of a URL that explains what the page (path) you're going to is about in human-friendly keywords.

Are shorter URLs better for SEO? ›

“The direct answer is no. The URL length doesn't matter. We use URLs as identifiers, it doesn't matter how long they are. Personally, I try to keep them shorter than 1,000 characters, but that's just to make monitoring easier.

How do slugs work? ›

Slugs are molded chunks of metal, nylon or plastic. In effect, they turn a shotgun into a crude rifle. Slugs are fired individually, like bullets, instead of in bunches like buckshot and birdshot. They can come in a variety of shapes, but they are often tapered into a bullet shape.

How can adding a slug to a URL make the URL more user friendly? ›

How can adding a slug to a URL make the URL more user friendly? Xa.It usually makes it easier for a user to predict the content of the page. Xb.It automatically appends a trailing slash to the end of the URL.

Where do slugs come from? ›

How did I get snails and slugs? Moist plant debris, underneath rocks, low weeds, mulch and fallen logs all provide hiding places for snails and slugs. Moisture is a key requirement for snails and slugs since they are adversely affected by dry conditions and the loss of body moisture.

What is a valid slug? ›

If you attempt to change your survey short name to something that contains spaces, special characters, or other characters that are not able to be used in a URL, online surveys will prompt you to enter a valid 'slug' consisting of letters, numbers, underscores or hyphens.

Which URL is best for SEO? ›

URLs that are simple, easy to read, and include keywords that describe the content on a web page are SEO-friendly. For example, if you're searching for information about pancakes, a URL like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/pancake will help you decide to click on that link.

What is URL Optimization in SEO? ›

URL Optimization is a technique/process to optimize the Slug Structure of individual web pages in order to make them search engine crawler friendly so the algorithms can understand the content of the page better to further help with better SEO rankings in the SERP.

What is slug example? ›

A slug is a part of a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). A URL is a web address, and the slug is the part at the end that identifies the exact web page the URL points to. For example, “product-name” is the slug in www.ecommerce.com/category/product-name/.

How do I change my slug URL? ›

In the Home menu, click Pages, then click a blog page. Hover over the post in the side panel and click ..., then click Settings. Click Options. Enter a new URL slug in the Post URL field.

What is URL slug in WordPress? ›

What is a slug in WordPress? In WordPress, the slug is the editable part of the URL of a page. Located at the very end of a URL, the slug most often contains keywords separated by hyphens. It may also contain the day, month, time, random numbers, the author name, and more, depending on the site's permalinks structure.

What are the 5 parts of a URL? ›

A URL consists of five parts: the scheme, subdomain, top-level domain, second-level domain, and subdirectory. Below is an illustration of the different parts of a URL. Let's break down this URL structure below.

Does changing URL affect SEO? ›

The SEO Impact of Changing URLs

The short answer is very much YES - any significant changes to URLs and URL structures across your website can have a significant impact on how visible you are on Google and ultimately affect your traffic.

What is the best length for a URL? ›

So somewhere around 50 – 60 characters is a pretty good number to shoot for. If you go way beyond (say 80+ characters), this is likely to have a negative impact on your ranking.

What are slug shots used for? ›

A modern shotgun slug is a heavy projectile made of lead, copper, or other material and fired from a shotgun. Slugs are designed for hunting large game, and other uses. The first effective modern shotgun slug was introduced by Wilhelm Brenneke in 1898, and his design remains in use today.

What is a campaign slug? ›

The term 'slug' originated on WordPress and is used to describe the part of a URL that comes after the site domain. Slugs are used to differentiate each page on a website with a descriptive, to-the-point name that gives users and search engines an idea of the page's contents.

How do you optimize your URL? ›

How to optimize your URLs?
  1. 1# URLs must be readable by everyone. ...
  2. 2# Organize your content. ...
  3. 3# Do not use capital. ...
  4. 4# Prefer hyphens to underscores. ...
  5. 5# Add your mobile URLs to a sitemap. ...
  6. 6# Include your target keyword. ...
  7. 7# Block unsafe URLs with robots. ...
  8. 8# Canonicalize your URLs.
18 Nov 2015

Where are slugs found? ›

Many species are most active just after rain because of the moist ground. In drier conditions, they hide in damp places such as under tree bark, fallen logs, rocks and man-made structures, such as planters, to help retain body moisture.

What are the units of slug? ›

A slug is defined as the mass that is accelerated by 1 ft/s2 when a net force of one pound (lbf) is exerted on it. One slug is a mass equal to 32.1740 lb (14.59390 kg) based on standard gravity, the international foot, and the avoirdupois pound.

What is slug in JSON? ›

When a resource is requested, the client sends a slug to the server's API to look up the resource from the database and return a JSON containing everything the client needs to be able to display the resource. A slug is a unique identifier for the resource.

How can adding a slug to a URL make the URL more user friendly? ›

How can adding a slug to a URL make the URL more user friendly? Xa.It usually makes it easier for a user to predict the content of the page. Xb.It automatically appends a trailing slash to the end of the URL.

What is a slug in news writing? ›

In newspaper jargon, a slug is the name given to an article, and at The Times, stories about Mr. Obama generally get one of two names. If the piece is produced on the National Desk, custom requires using the president's name. On the International Desk, the slug is PREXY.

What is a slug measurement? ›

The slug is a unit of mass associated with Imperial units. It is a mass that accelerates by 1 ft/s. 2. when a force of. one pound-force (lbF) is exerted on it.

What is a slug in printing? ›

A slug area is the name used to describe the area outside the printing and bleed areas of a document. It contains the registration mark and other printing instructions for the printer.

Is a slug the same as a URL? ›

The URL refers to the entire thing. The slug is the part of a URL that explains what the page (path) you're going to is about in human-friendly keywords.

What is a slug line example? ›

While scene headings usually have two blank lines above them, slug lines always have just one. If we wish to cut to a character named Ned in the bleachers of a football game, for example, we'd insert “NED” (without the quotes) as a shot element or slug line.

Is a slug a headline? ›

In the production process of print advertisements, a slug or slug line, refers to the "name" of a particular advertisement. Advertisements usually have several markers, ad numbers or job numbers and slug lines. Usually the slug references the offer or headline and is used to differentiate between different ad runs.

How do you make a slug story? ›

A common format for formatting slugs lines in screenplays includes adding “SLUG LINE” at the beginning of each new one and then capitalizing any word after “SLUG LINE” that begins with “W”, “H”, or “D”. This helps readers differentiate between when characters speak and when locations change.

What is slug in WordPress? ›

What is a slug in WordPress? In WordPress, the slug is the editable part of the URL of a page. Located at the very end of a URL, the slug most often contains keywords separated by hyphens. It may also contain the day, month, time, random numbers, the author name, and more, depending on the site's permalinks structure.

What is the difference between slug and bleed? ›

The main difference between a bleed and a slug is their respective functions. A bleed is often used intentionally and unintentionally. Meanwhile, a slug is used as a tool to impart various types of written instruction to the paper's recipients.

Are slugs slow? ›

Traveling by muscular contractions called pedal waves makes slugs and snails pretty slow. Like turtles, snails rely on a defensive shell. Being nocturnal and having a mucus that smells and tastes nasty helps provide some additional safety.

What is slug in page layout? ›

One kind of slug is a piece of spacing material used to space paragraphs. In the era of commercial typesetting in metal type, they were usually manufactured in strips of 6-point lead.

What is artwork slug? ›

slug area (an area outside the page and bleed that contains printer. instructions or job sign-off information). If you are setting crop marks and want the artwork to contain a bleed or.

Videos

1. How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO (Over-The-Shoulder Demo for Small Business)
(My Site Ranked)
2. Webmasters: URL slugs: ideal length, and the real SEO effects of these slugs
(Roel Van de Paar)
3. How to Automatically Generate Clean URLs (Slugs) - Bubble SEO Tutorial
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4. ⭐ Translate URL Slug of your Website with WPML Wordpress for International SEO
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5. How to change a URL in WordPress without screwing up
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6. PHP SEO Slug URL Generator
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