Organic search is the most useful, consistent, and long-term strategy for bringing significant traffic to your website, if you want to rank and perform well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Although, many SEO elements, like who you’re competing with and what they’re doing. All are beyond your control.  You can still benefit from on-page optimization that is under your power.

One on-page strategy is to optimize your URL slug for every webpage and blog you publish. It’s one of those SEO best practices that have existed for many years. And untouched by vicious tiny penguins and vague pandas.

What Is a URL Slug?

A slug is basically the part of the URL that represents the address of a specific webpage or post. The slug appears at the end of the URL, following the domain and any subdirectories.

As an example, consider a physical address. If your site were an office building, your domain would be the address where the “building” might be located. The slug will now be a box number or suite number that refers to a specific location inside that building.

Just like that box or suite number guides individuals to the right office in the building. A URL slug directs your browser to the exact page on your website, differentiating it from all others on your domain.

URL Slug Example

Let’s consider the best example URL from HubSpot for this post:

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/meta-descriptions

This URL’s components are as follows:

  • Protocol: https
  • Subdomain: blog
  • Domain: hubspot.com
  • Subdirectory: marketing
  • URL Slug: meta-descriptions

A URL is made up of two parts: the protocol and the domain. Other features are added based on the page and its placement within the structure of your site.

The subdomain and subdirectory in the above best practice URL example make it clear where you are. You’re in the marketing section of HubSpot’s blog. 

From there, you can easily identify that what you are going to read about on the marketing section of HubSpot blog section — meta descriptions.

Search engines understand and recognize it. Readers understand, and it doesn’t appear as spam. Everything is fine.

URL Slug Best Practices/How to Optimize Your URLs for Search?

1. Make it as simple and short as possible.

In SEO, there are many things to try and test and put in place the best strategy. It doesn’t get much better than a search engine can tell you exactly what it likes.

Google says, “A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible.”

A shorter URL is easier to remember if your visitor wants to revisit the content without bookmarking it.

2. Take out the extra words from the URL slug.

To make the URLs short and crisp. And to keep things simple, add a little meaningful word for better readability. The URL should convey the value to your readers by explaining what they will get from the post.

3. Include relevant keywords.

The keywords in the URL are one way for search engines and people to learn about the contents of your webpage. Add keywords in your URL slug, but make sure they match the content of the page. After all, this URL is already doing well as it is a long-tail search keyword all on its own.

Make every effort to add the primary keyword to your URLs. However, it can’t be done on the homepage in most case scenarios. So, aim to integrate your target keyword related to the product or category pages.

4. Stay away from keyword stuffing.

Although this blog may be important and relevant for various keywords. I do not even think I should include them all in the URL. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something like this:

https://techtoolinsights.com/blog/best-practices-for-seo-url-slug-optimization-of-urls

That does not make sense and also looks horrible.

Keyword stuffing in content, titles, and URLs is an old and outdated strategy, and that only harms your search engine rankings, website SEO, as well as user experience.

Instead of stuffing keywords into the slug, consider the URL a single keyword. And allow the content on the page to keep driving the rest of the conversation.

5. URLs must be reader-friendly.

We’ve already discussed this in detail, but it’s worth repeating. Search engines and readers should look at your URL and know what they would see if they clicked through. 

In other words, once you add many keywords and remove the unnecessary words. It would help if you ended up with a URL that still makes more sense.

6. Use hyphens to separate words.

Never use underscores to split words, and don’t try to cram a lot of words around. Google robots are programmed to read hyphens rather than underscores.

If you do want a chance starts getting ranked, you must follow this guideline. The hyphens are used to improve readability and make use of them.

7. Don’t use capital

As capital letters make things very difficult to understand. They can mislead search engines and readers.

8. Don’t use the slugs that are currently in use on other pages.

There is only one address for our workplace, and only one workplace exists at that address. It is also applicable to your website.

Using slugs that are too similar or duplicate can cause problems. Or cause Google to flag pages as duplicate content. In either case, your SEO performance will decrease.

It would help if you also thought about updating the settings in your CMS to prevent this from any mistake.

9. Include your mobile URLs in a sitemap.

It is a powerful way of notifying search engines about what web pages are mobile-friendly. And what are not?

Since the Google mobile update, the very first ones appear to be ranking higher in the SERPs.

Although, some experts argue that responsive URLs don’t include them in a sitemap, and they are safer.

10. Avoid using dynamic generated URLs.

A dynamic URL includes parameters that are produced as the webpage is loaded. Both readers and search engines must be able to see your URL, and search engines, as readers, read the words in your URL to understand what the page is about.

As a result, you must not use dynamic generated URLs. But rather change them to better understand your content and target.

In comparison, use a static URL that remains consistent each time it is visited.

Dynamic URLs often create crawling issues, resulting in poor performance.

11. Ensure that your URL naming conventions are consistent.

Develop a system for naming URLs that can be implemented on all the pages and posts you create. It will help us create a more seamless experience throughout the site. And it will make navigation simpler and more efficient for your site visitors.

12. Use Canonical URLs.

Some pages, such as dynamic pages with filters, might often generate duplicate content. To avoid this thing, we want to use canonical URLs.

This canonical tag can only be used if you want a specific URL. Thus, to become the preferred one, even though it leads to the same content as others.

To perform this, you must include a rel=”canonical” link element in the head of any pages that have the same content. You should also set up your preferred domain for your URL.

13. For broken URLs, use 301 redirects.

If you want to change the URL of a page for any reason, make sure to inform search engines of its new address. There might be a chance that search engine crawlers may crawl that page.

You don’t want to lose quality backlinks from a well-ranked page. And that is why you must create a 301 redirect on the old URL location to tell Google bots of your new URL destination.

Final Thought

It’s essential to have your URLs right to make life easy for users and search engines and benefit your site.

Your URLs are an important factor in on-page SEO. But they are only one of many factors to consider when you lay the groundwork for your site.

By following the best practices for URL slugs outlined above. And optimizing sites by following more SEO recommendations. You’ll be one step closer to increasing your visibility on Google and other search engines.

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