What is a slug?

What is a Slug in SEO (and How Do You Optimize Yours)?

What is a slug in SEO?

You’ve probably heard the term before, but what does it mean?

By default, WordPress automatically creates slugs for all pages that require them on your site. However, these are not always optimized for search engines and users. 

In this article, we’ll explain a slug and show you how to optimize yours for maximum SEO impact.

What is a Slug?

A slug, or URL slug, refers to the last part of a URL following the first backslash after the domain. It’s a unique page identifier that helps search engines and users understand what the content is about. Here’s an example below:


In this case, the slug is:


No 2 slugs can ever be the same on a website, the same way no 2 houses can have the same street address in the same neighborhood. This ensures that no pages conflict with each other, confusing both search engines and users.

Why are Slugs Important to SEO?

We understand what is a slug, now let’s understand why are they important.

Slugs are an integral part of SEO, particularly technical SEO. Created well, they can help you rank well and drive traffic to your site. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Search engines use slugs as a ranking factor: Your slug plays a huge role in helping search engines index your content and rank it for relevant search terms. Structuring your slugs properly also leads to a good user experience.
  • Searchers use them to determine relevance: Your URL slug is one of the first things users see when searchers look at your snippet on search engine results pages (SERPs). Therefore, making it attractive drives more visitors to your site, signaling to search engines that your content is valuable. As a result, they’ll rank your content higher.

As you can see, your URL slugs need to be considered if you want your content to rank high on SERPs.

6 Tips for Optimizing Your Slugs for SEO

So, how do you optimize your slugs for SEO?

Fortunately, it’s not rocket science, and anyone can do it. So here are our top tips:

1. Install All In One SEO (AIOSEO)

The first step to optimizing your URL slugs is to install a powerful SEO plugin like All In One SEO (AIOSEO).

aioseo homepage

AIOSEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market and is trusted by over 3 million savvy website owners and marketers to help them dominate the SERPs and drive relevant traffic to their sites. This is because the plugin has many powerful SEO features and modules to help you optimize your website for search engines and users.

Some features, like the URL Slug Monitor, are designed to help ensure your slugs are always primed for ranking high in search and for a positive user experience. For example, whenever a URL slug changes on your site, the slug monitor prompts you to add a redirect. This helps you avoid 404 errors, ensuring that users and search engines can easily find the new “address” of your content. 

For step-by-step instructions on how to install AIOSEO, check out our installation guide.

2. Customize Your Slugs

By default, WordPress assigns a slug to your posts based on your permalink settings: 

Select the Post name option for WordPress to use your title as your slug. We’ll show you some tips in a moment.

In the meantime, check out this guide to learn how to structure permalinks.

3. Monitor Any Changes to Your URLs and Redirect When Necessary 

Remember, your slug should be permanent. But sometimes, you may want to change your slug as part of your content update strategy. When this happens, you want to ensure you correctly implement redirects.

This is super easy if you use AIOSEO’s Redirection Manager.

AIOSEO’s Redirection Manager alerts you when a URL has changed and prompts you to add a redirect.

The URL slug monitor helps eliminate 404 errors when editing permalinks.

If you have pages that result in 404 errors, you can also use the Redirection Manager to redirect those pages to a more relevant page.

Implementing redirects is easy with the URL Slug Monitor.

That’s not all!

You can also automatically redirect pages that throw 404 errors to your homepage or a custom URL.

Automatically redirecting 404 page to homepage.

For more information on how to do this, check out our guide on automatic redirects.

4. Include Your Primary Keyword 

Another important consideration when optimizing your slug is to include your focus keyword for that page or post

Including the target keyword helps search engines better understand the context of your content. It also helps users see at a glance that your page will provide the information they’re looking for.

5. Use Short But Descriptive Slugs 

Keeping your slugs short and simple is another way to optimize them for search. Short slugs make it easier for search engines and users to immediately know what your page is about.

What is a slug? Here's an example of an optimized slug.

They also help users remember your URL much easier.

One of the best ways to keep your slugs short is to remove function words whenever relevant. Examples of function words include “a,” “the,” “on,” “is,” and “and,” among others.

While your slugs should be kept short, ensure they’re still descriptive and clear. Users shouldn’t have to guess what your page is about. A simple glance at your slug should 

6. Avoid Dating Your Slugs

Most of the time, dates are added to a post’s title to signify relevance and the timeliness of the content. Doing so encourages users to click on your search listing. Here’s an example:


However, your title will eventually become outdated. While you may easily change it, changing your URL has some consequences.

This is why you must refrain from including dates in your slugs. It will cost you precious clicks down the road.

Another reason to avoid dates in your slug is that it adds more characters to your URL, making it unnecessarily long. This results in a negative user experience.

What is a Slug: Your FAQs Answered

What is a slug?

A slug, in the context of websites, is the part of the URL that comes after the domain name and usually before the file extension (like .html or .php). It identifies a specific page on the website.

What are some good practices for slugs?

  • Clarity: The slug should clearly describe the content of the page.
  • Keywords: Including relevant keywords in the slug can help search engines understand your content and improve SEO.
  • Conciseness: Aim for shorter slugs that are easy to read and remember.
  • Separation: Separate words with hyphens for better readability.

Do slugs affect SEO?

Yes, slugs can impact search engine optimization. They allow you to reinforce the page’s main topic by including relevant keywords in the URL itself. However, slug optimization should not be overdone to the point of making URLs look unnatural.

What is a slug in SEO? We hope this post helped clarify slugs, their importance, and how to optimize them for better rankings. You may also want to check out other articles on our blog, like our tutorial on URL parameters or our top internal linking plugins.

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author avatar
Kato Nkhoma Content Writer
Kato is one of those rare unicorns born with a pen in his hand—so the legend says. He’s authored 2 books and produced content for hundreds of brands. When he’s not creating content for AIOSEO, you’ll find him either watching tech videos on YouTube or playing with his kids. And if you can’t find him, he’s probably gone camping.

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