With so many technical terminologies and not always available, straightforward explanations, it can become hard to know specific terms and understand their use for the good of your website. One such terminology is a slug in WordPress. So, before we start, let us know what a slug is, the functionalities associated with it, and how it could help your website.
What is a Slug in WordPress, and why is it important?
A slug in WordPress is a part of a URL that can be edited while writing a new post. WordPress slug denotes the location of a specific post, a page, or a particular category helping the visitors to access your content. It reflects on the content of the page. Apart from this, it is even more essential to understand slugs because search engines like Google take into account page slugs to index and rank your website. Hence, if understood well, slugs can help improve your page’s visibility and SEO. Those are the obvious ways slugs can have an impact on your website. That said, notably, slugs are critical elements of UX and allow users to know the reason they have visited your website. Hence there is no smartness in missing out on how to create slugs that can help bring clarity to your website and boost your SEO.
Easy ways of creating good WordPress slugs:
Firstly, creating slugs is not rocket science. WordPress allows you to create a custom slug for every of your website posts. WordPress also automatically corrects two basic rules of a slug for you. Those being,
- Only lowercase letters are allowed.
- A dash should separate every word.
These were the basics. The following are tips to create good WordPress slug for your web post.
1. Reflecting the page content on slug:
Not only irrelevant slug names confuse the site visitors about the content the post displays, but it also affects the SEO rankings of your site. A slug written in the form of numbers and strings keeps you from all the potential UX benefits. You could also incorporate your keywords in your slug to improvise on your ranking factor while simultaneously notifying the users about the corresponding content on your post. Appropriate slugs simplify optimization and bring credibility to your website.
2. Targeting SEO keywords:
Using SEO keywords that you have selected for your post helps you with your page rankings by using them in your URL. It helps you demonstrate the page’s relevance. An important thing to note here is that keyword optimization should not come at the expense of clarity. Also, a better slug does not cover for low authorization.
3. Using shorter slugs:
You always want your visitor to be able to remember your page URL. Complex slugs make it hard to remember URLs. Hence, it is always advisable to use shorter slugs over longer ones. That said, it does not mean you have to limit your slug word limit to a word or two. A slug of four to five words could be considered okay.
4. Ignoring the stop words:
Stop words like “a,” “an,” “the,” “but,” “and,” etc., do not add meaning to your slug and also make it less efficient. Most of the plugins shall assist you in cutting these words out of your permalink.
5. Using redirects:
Using a slug changes your URL. Hence, if you have already shared your site link before adding a slug, you need to redirect your older URL to the news URL. Search engines will not otherwise lead the visitors to your content on the newer URL. Already existing slug could be changed by setting up 301 redirects from the older slug to the newer one.
But what when WordPress slug does not work?
After every instruction followed, it might, at times, be possible that your slug still does not work. Although it is the rarest of the cases, it could happen when the field to enter your new slug while changing the post or site address is missing. A simple solution to this is to save the post and page at least once to update the slug.
Another set of errors that could hinder involves errors in the permalink. The first thing to do while permalink errors like the 404-error page are to check if you have a broken link or a corrupt .htaccess file. You could either use a default .htaccess code available in WordPress Codex or use the uncorrupt version of the file from the backup up version and upload it through File Transfer Protocol.
Creating or changing existing slugs is very straightforward and easy and could be done with minimum effort. Slugs should not be ignored as they help in the SEO rankings and site visibility and brings clarity to the purpose of the site post. This post shall help you know what slugs are, how to create and change them, and how to fix any problems in case they occur.
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