What is a Slug in WordPress: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered what that string of text at the end of your WordPress post or page URL is? It’s called the slug, and it’s an important part of your WordPress SEO.

In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about WordPress slugs, including:

  • What is a slug in WordPress?
  • Why are slugs important?
  • How to change WordPress slugs for page or post?
  • Best practices for optimizing WordPress slugs

By the end of this post, you’ll have a good understanding of what slugs are, why they’re important, and how to use them effectively on your WordPress website.

What is a Slug in WordPress?

A WordPress slug is the editable part of the URL that comes after the domain name and the permalink structure. It’s a unique identifier for a specific page or post on your website.

For example, in the following URL:

https://www.pickupwp.com/blog/make-money-blogging

The slug is “make-money-blogging.”

Breaking Down a WordPress Slug

Let’s break down the different parts of a URL to better grasp what a slug is. Take the URL of this post as an example.

https://www.pickupwp.com/blog/make-money-blogging

From left to right, we have:

  1. Protocol: The protocol is the type of connection that will be used to access the website. In this case, it is https, which is a secure protocol.
  2. Subdomain: The subdomain is the part of the domain name that comes before the main domain name. In this case, the subdomain is “www,” which is the most common subdomain.
  3. Domain: The domain name is the unique address of the website on the internet. In this case, the domain name is “pickupwp.com.”
  4. Directory: The directory is the part of the URL that specifies the location of the file on the website. In this case, the directory is “blog,” which means that the file is located in the blog directory of the website.
  5. Slug: The slug is the part of the URL that identifies the specific page or post. In this case, the slug is “make-money-blogging.”

Why Are WordPress Slugs Important?

WordPress slugs are important for several reasons:

  • SEO: Slugs play an important role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines such as Google use the words in a URL’s slug to understand the content of a page. By including relevant keywords in your slug, you may increase the chance of your page ranking higher in search engine result pages for those keywords. A well-optimized slug can contribute to better SEO performance.
  • User Experience: User-friendly slugs make it easier for visitors to know the content of a page just by looking at the URL. Clear and concise slugs enhance the overall user experience, as users can quickly identify the topic or purpose of a page before clicking on the link. This can result in higher click-through rates and a more positive impression of your website.
  • Consistency: Slugs help maintain consistency in your website’s URL structure. They make it easy to organize and structure your content logically, creating a more organized and user-friendly website.
  • Avoiding Duplicate Content: WordPress automatically generates slugs based on the post or page title. If you have multiple posts with similar titles, customizing the slugs can help avoid duplicate URLs, which can confuse search engines and users.
  • URL Sharing: When you share links on social media or in emails, the URL’s appearance matters. A clean and informative slug can make your links more attractive and encourage sharing.

WordPress Slug vs. Permalink: What’s the Difference

WordPress slugs and permalinks are two closely related concepts, but they are not the same thing.

A slug is the part of a WordPress URL that comes after the domain name and any subfolders. It is the editable part of the URL, and it is typically made up of lowercase letters, numbers, and hyphens.

A permalink is the full URL of a WordPress page or post. It includes the domain name, any subfolders, and the slug.

Here is an example of a WordPress permalink:

https://www.pickupwp.com/blog/best-cheap-wordpress-hosting

In this example, the slug is “best-cheap-wordpress-hosting.” The permalink is the full URL of the blog post, including the domain name and the slug.

Examples of Good and Bad Slugs

Below are some examples of both good and bad slugs to illustrate the importance of choosing descriptive, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized slugs:

Good Slug

Example 1: “how-to-install-wordpress”

Reasoning: This slug is straightforward and tells users that the content is about installing WordPress. It’s also SEO-friendly because it includes keywords related to the topic.

Example 2: “best-free-wordpress-plugins”

Reasoning: This slug is concise and descriptive, providing clear information about the content of the page, which is likely a list of recommended free WordPress plugins.

Example 3: “best-free-wordpress-themes”

Reasoning: This slug is concise and descriptive, providing clear information about the content of the page, which is likely a list of recommended free WordPress themes.

Bad Slug

Example 1: “article12345”

Reasoning: This slug is non-descriptive and lacks any keywords or context. It provides no information about the content to users, which can lead to a poor user experience and have a negative impact on SEO.

Example 2: “article-title-with-too-many-words-that-make-it-hard-to-read”

Reasoning: While descriptive, this slug is excessively long and contains unnecessary words, which can make URLs look messy and impact user experience. Shorter, more concise slugs are generally preferred.

How to Change a URL Slug in WordPress

WordPress, by default, uses the “Plain” permalink structure, as shown below.

WordPress Permalink Settings

Since the plain structure does not contain keywords, it is not an SEO-friendly structure.

Changing the default permalink structure is a vital step toward making your WordPress blog SEO-friendly. You may do so by going to Settings » Permalinks and selecting another option. We recommended “Post name” since it is the shortest slug option while still including relevant keywords.

Changing Permalink to Post Name

Note: It’s important to change your permalink settings before launching your website, if possible. If you change your permalinks after your site goes live, you’ll need to set up redirects from your old URLs to your new ones. Fortunately, there are several redirect WordPress plugins available to help with this process.

Once your permalink structure has been updated successfully, you can edit the slugs of individual posts and pages on your site.

How to Change WordPress Post Slug

There are two ways to change a WordPress post slug: using the Gutenberg block editor or the Quick Edit feature.

If you are using the Gutenberg block editor way and want to change the slug before publishing a new post, click Save Draft. Once saved, click on the Summary section and click on the URL next to the URL option.

WordPress Slug Edit Option in Gutenberg Editor

This will open a popup box. Now, make your changes in the Permalink field.

Change WordPress Post Slug in Gutenberg

If you want to use the Quick Edit feature, simply click on the Quick Edit link below the post title.

WordPress Posts Quick Edit Option

Next, edit the post slug and click Update to finalize the new post slug.

Change or Edit WordPress Posts Slug

How to Change WordPress Page Slug

As with a post, you can also change the slug for a WordPress page using the same editor or the Quick Edit feature. However, this time, you can go to Dashboard » Pages instead.

WordPress Pages

How to Change WordPress Category or Tag Slug

WordPress automatically generates a slug for each of your categories and tags, but you can also create your own slug. To edit a category slug, go to the WordPress dashboard and select Posts » Categories.

WordPress Post Categories

Select the category you want to change and click the Edit button. Now, type your new slug in the category slug field and click Update to save the change.

Edit Category Slug

To change your WordPress tags, go to the WordPress dashboard and click on Posts » Tags. From there, repeat the same process we used for categories.

How to Optimize WordPress Slugs for SEO

The URL of a web page is one of the elements that search engines use when deciding how to rank a page in search results based on its content.

If you want your website content to appear higher in search result pages and get more traffic, you should optimize the WordPress slug for SEO whenever you publish a new post.

Below are a few SEO tips to keep in mind while creating a new post or page:

Target Your SEO Keywords

Don’t try to target all of your keywords. Instead, put the target keyword you want to rank for in the slug. This will help both search engines and readers in determining what the content is about.

For example, the target keyword you’re targeting for a blog post is “On-Page SEO Checklist.” As a result, an ideal slug for that post is www.example.com/on-page-seo-checklist.

Use Hyphens for Word Separation

When composing slugs, use hyphens (-) to separate words instead of spaces or underscores. For example, use “best-seo-practices” instead of “best_seo_practices” or “best seo practices.”

Avoid Stop Words

Eliminate unnecessary stop words (e.g., “and,” “the,” and “in”) from your slugs. These words don’t add value and can make the URL longer and less SEO-friendly.

Make It Concise and Easy to Read

A good URL slug should not be too long. Long URLs are difficult to read and remember. Try to keep your slug to less than five words.

Furthermore, a URL that is too long will be shortened in Google search results. While this isn’t an SEO nightmare, it does make the page snippet look unpleasant.

Use Lowercase Characters

Use lowercase characters for all slugs. This helps maintain consistency and prevents potential issues with case sensitivity in URLs.

Avoid Using Dates in Your Slug

This keeps your content from appearing outdated on your website, in search results, and elsewhere.

Avoid Special Characters and Symbols

Exclude special characters or symbols that can confuse search engines or break the URL structure. Stick to letters, numbers, and hyphens.

Implement 301 Redirects

If you ever change a slug for a published post or page, create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. This ensures that users and search engines are directed to the correct content.

Use SEO Plugins

Consider using SEO plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO. These plugins can help you analyze and optimize your slugs for SEO.

Conclusion

WordPress slugs are a fundamental aspect of website optimization. These concise, keyword-rich snippets not only impact your site’s search engine visibility but also influence user experience.

Crafting effective slugs that are both SEO-friendly and user-friendly is a skill worth mastering.

By following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your website’s URLs are clear, relevant, and easy to navigate. With well-optimized URL slugs, you’re on your way to improving your site’s rankings, attracting more organic traffic, and creating a more seamless and enjoyable browsing journey for your visitors.

So, start optimizing those slugs and watch your website thrive!

We hope this article helped you learn everything about WordPress slug.

For more, check out these other helpful resources:

Lastly, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the latest WordPress and blogging-related articles.