What is a slug?
Have you ever seen a URL while searching on google, if yes then you must have noticed that every URL differs from the other (yes it is!!). The slug is the part of the URL which helps in identifying the content of the webpage and the webpage itself.
How does Slug contribute to SEO?
It is the part of the URL which is identified by the search engine when a related query is put by the user. Let’s take an example here if you searched for “guide to make a vanilla cake” and two types of result popped up in front of your screen:
- First URL like “https://xyz.com/recipes/desserts/guide-to-make-vanilla-cake”
- Second URL like “www.xyz.com/p4gh24
Which one would you pick? You will invariably be attracted by the first result. This is it’s power which forces the users to click on your result.
Why are slugs so important for SEO?
Based on face value:
In the common scenario, whenever a person performs a web search, they usually look at the results to check which one makes sense to them. This action of looking also involves looking at the URL. If the user sees exactly what they want in the URL of the webpage result, they are confident that it will satisfy them and open it. We already understood this with the earlier example of the recipe for vanilla cake research.
There the “on point” slug made the URL much more convincing than gibberish text. A gibberish slug confuses people and the search engine too as it’s optimized as people respond to search query results.
Indexing, Ranking and URL slugs
Search engines give importance to the complete URL. As these are indexed after identifying the attributes of a webpage which can be done effectively by the URL slug. It gives them importance based on their indexing retrieval and ranking. Having a better URL slug would amount to better indexing.
The Ranking of a URL slug will equal to the importance given by the SEO to the URL. While ranking the search engine always factors in the URL slug. A better slug would mean a better ranking.
Optimize the slug
As you can see the importance of the slugs, there are some ways to optimize and get a head start on your “Slug” game
Filter out the unnecessary
It’s important to filter out unnecessary words like a, an, and etc which makes it more readable. It is important to filter out “stop words” as sometimes the search engine itself filters out such words. Don’t make it unnecessarily long.
Don’t just filter out the words. Make the slug so it seems to show a specific focal point around which the webpage is designed and made. It helps the user to know what to expect from the webpage.
For example, if it relates your webpage to making of a vanilla flavored cake. Assume two scenarios:
- The first scenario: You edit your slug to something like “how-to-make-a-vannila-cake”.
- In the second scenario assume your slug is “easy-steps-to-make-cake”.
In the former scenario, the slug restricts the webpage to only to making of vanilla cakes. Here the problem is you cannot add any more information to it. For example, if you want to add a recipe of a chocolate cake, you cannot add to it as in the search index and the slug it would still be for vanilla cake.
The latter scenario is of a broader nature and if in future you would want to add any more content it would be much easier to do the same.
Keep it short but descriptive
It’s important for the URL slug to be descriptive and to the point. A shorter version would mean it would be more readable and will be shown alongside the results.
URL provides a definition to your article. It is the address to your homepage, an address that is distinct from an IP Address. If you end up using numbers and gibberish, it defeats the purpose of its existence.
You must optimize your URL as per search engine guidelines, we have discussed some points below:
- I consider optimal URL length being of 50 to 60 characters
- The URL should define your main keyword in its slug
- Exclude stop words
- Avoid numbers
You can read more about URL Optimization and Avoiding stop words from this link: Click Here