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Crafting Effective URL Slugs - A Comprehensive Guide

Crafting Effective URL Slugs - A Comprehensive Guide Image

Published Date: September 9, 2022

Updated Date: September 9, 2022

A URL is the most critical aspect of your webpage. It is the address of your page. It tells the world that your page has some great content, and anyone on the internet can find your content at your URL. Creating a unique, user-friendly, crisp and contextual url slug is one of the most important impressions you can create for your users. Before we get started, let us understand a couple of things.

What makes a good URL slug? A URL is the most critical aspect of your webpage. It is the address of your page. It tells the world that your page has some great content, and anyone on the internet can find your content at your URL.

What is a Slug? A Slug in the URL is that part of the URL which exactly pin-points your page resource on your domain. You can read more about a slug.

For example:

In the above URL, the portion "write-a-good-url-slug" is the slug for this webpage.

Let us explore the various best practices we have learned that helped us rank higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Many articles will tell you to do multiple things; however, some may work, and some may not. We have curated the list of best practices that you should follow for creating a slug that will skyrocket your webpages SEO. We used all of these tricks to come up with the slug for this blog.

Here are the list of best practices you should consider before you create your slug for your website.

Keep your slug short

Now pair it up with our domain, sub-domain, and directory to form the complete URL.

If you see the URL above, it has everything that your title does but don't you think that the URL is too long for anyone even to remember? How can you expect someone else to recognize your URL slug if you are creating a blog and can't remember your URL for the article?

A URL slug cannot have spaces

One of the most critical rules in creating a URL is that you can't use spaces in your URL. This rule makes it more challenging to come up with a good URL and, of course, a good slug. Humans are used to reading sentences composed of words and spaces. That is how our education system wires a human brain. However, computer systems do not need to locate a resource on the internet with a sentence. They need to know the address of the resource. So, as a rule, a URL cannot contain any spaces. Therefore, your slug of the URL cannot have any spaces either.

Avoid using underscores in your URLs

If we cannot use spaces in our URL, how will we separate the words in our URL? We still want our URL words to make logical sense and not just have a bunch of letters stacked together as our URL. We need a separator for the words in our URL.

For example: Let us consider this article slug in the URL "" As you would have guessed, your blog URL is much more readable when you use a separator. For many of us, one of the most accessible options for a separator is to use an underscore ( _ ).

If you have seen most of the websites across the internet. A URL (link) that is clickable is usually underlined, or when you hover over the text, it is underlined. So, if you have a URL that uses an underscore and is underlined, the underscore overlaps with the underlined URL. Hence, avoiding using underscore for your slug part of the URL is a great start. Separate words using hyphens What is the best advice for a word separator in the slug if we do not use an underscore? It is the hyphen. It would be best if you used a hyphen to separate the words in your slug. A hyphen separates the words in your slug and makes your slug more readable. A hyphen keeps your URL readable even if the URL has the style of underlining.

Slug in a URL should always be lowercase

A URL consists of parts that are case-sensitive as well as parts that are case-insensitive. The domain and sub-domain in a URL are case-insensitive. However, the slug part of the URL is case-sensitive. Having mixed-case characters could lead to someone typing your URL wrong. A wrong URL could lead to a 404 page if the URL doesn't exactly match the case for your slug. There is another issue with case sensitivity. You may end up having duplicate URLs. Usually, your blogs are kept in a folder or a directory or dynamically fetched from a CMS. Having case-sensitive URLs could lead to you naming 2 URLs as the same with a slight difference in the case. You want all your resources to have a unique path on your website. For the above two reasons, you should avoid using case-sensitive content and always have lowercase words in the slug of your URL. For example, This slug could lead to case-sensitivity problems "/What-Makes-A-Good-URL-Slug-Boost-Your-SEO-With-A-Great-URL-Slug" Instead, we could make the URL like below "/what-makes-a-good-URL-slug-boost-your-SEO-with-great-URL-slug"

Make your slug readable

The most basic expectation from anything you read on the internet is that it should be easy to read, understand and remember. So, having a complicated URL or slug will not help the cause. It is a given that a URL is not only seen by bots but also by human beings. The URL you select should be readable enough that the user should understand what they can expect or find on the webpage when they click your URL. So just keeping keywords in your URL for SEO purposes may not make complete sense in terms of the readability of the slug.

Do not include Dates & Numbers in a slug

If you write an article for 2023 and create your title like "10 Best URL Slug practices for SEO in 2023,". These articles take more than a year to propagate the search engines. Let's say you come up with the URL "/10-Best-Slug-practices-for-SEO-in-2023". Fast forward two years, from 2023 to 2025. Now that your article has matured and been registered in all search engines and drives you traffic, because of the URL being 2023, users will avoid clicking it cause it may be outdated. However, you have constantly refined your content. Users avoiding your URL will message the Search Engines that users are not interested in your content.

Similarly, using numbers in your title may make sense, but adding the number to your URL or slug may not. Let's say you created an article called "10 Best URL Slug practices for SEO," and you decided to add two more best practices to the same blog article. You create a URL slug like "/10-Best-Slug-practices-for-SEO". Your URL is primarily registered in various search engines and indexed by crawlers. So, if you add two more best practices to the same blog article, you now have 12 Best URL slug practices, but you can't update your URL.

The above two reasons are good enough for you not to include numbers and dates in your URL. They make updating the content difficult for the future.

Include Keywords

One essential SEO advice you will ever get is to include your page's keywords in your URL. It doesn't mean that you stuff your URL with a keyword trail. The search engines have become more intelligent and do understand your attempt. The best way to generate user interaction is to provide good content. You compose your URL to give enough context and not die with the keyword overweight. So having a title like "/url-slug-seo-best-practice-title-serp-seo-rank-higher" is in no way readable and confusing for anyone viewing it. It also appears to be so uneducated that users avoid clicking it.

Slug is not the title

Usually, it is a great idea to keep your slug for your webpage in line with the title of your webpage. How to write a good title for your webpage is also an art, but we will keep that topic for another day.

Many best practices say that you should keep all your keywords in your title. If you use your title as your slug, you automatically will get all the keywords in your URL. For example: The title of this blog article is "What Makes A Good URL Slug? Boost Your SEO With A Great URL Slug" If we create a slug with the title, it will be something like "/what-makes-a-good-URL-slug-boost-your-SEO-with-great-URL-slug"

So our URL is shaping up well.

Avoid using stop words

A title needs to be short and descriptive. A title may consist of one or more stop words. If you are writing a URL slug, it is not a place to be illustrative and long. A slug should be brief, concise, and to the point. Adding stop words will only add fluff to your URL slug. It would be best if you focused on having a short, focused, keyword-rich URL that is easy to remember and share.

So for a title like "What Makes A Good URL Slug? Boost Your SEO With A Great URL Slug," you will have a slug "/url-slug-seo-best-practice-title-serp-seo-rank-higher." If you remove the stop words, you will get something like "/makes-good-url-slug-boost-seo-great-url-slug" Once again, the above URL slug does not make much sense except for stuffing the URL with keywords.

Try to include the long tail search term. After reading the above slug after removing the stop words, it doesn't make much sense. If you see, our URL has just reduced in size with the technicalities, but the essential aspect of a URL is that it should be short and readable by humans and search engines. Added marks for you if you include the URL as a long tail search term will get you more direct traffic to your blog article or your product.

Let's add the human touch to the same; how do you think this URL slug looks? "/write-good-url-slug"

Pro Tip: It would be best if you didn't change or update your URLs as a good practice. Let's say you still go ahead and change the URL, the search engines need to update the URL, and it may take the same time to propagate and bring you traffic. Moreover, the search engines may think it is a new URL, which means it is a new page. So, your new blog is now competing with your old article. So, changing the URL is not advisable.

Creating your slug in line with your page title works best. Having your keywords in your page title and URL slug will allow the content and page-level keywords to be in sync. There are many approaches in which you can create your slug. It can become a challenge to be consistent. We have created a simple slug generator for you to create your slug with confidence and consistency. Url Slug Generator