What Is A Slug In WordPress?

If you are using WordPress to create a blog, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the way the platform works.

This involves learning all the relevant terminology, especially when it comes to SEO, since optimizing your WordPress blog is the surest way to accumulate readers and be successful in your blogging ventures.

What Is A Slug In WordPress?

One term you might not have come across before using WordPress (at least, not in a blogging context), is ‘slug’. 

If you’re interested in finding out what a slug is in WordPress and why it’s important, read on! 

What Is A Slug In WordPress?

In the context of blogging on WordPress, a slug is not a mollusc that ruins your cabbages (unless, of course, the subject of your blog involves invertebrate gastropods or garden maintenance).

When you’re using WordPress to blog, the word ‘slug’ refers to a part of your blog’s URL. Specifically, it’s the part that identifies the page you or your reader has clicked on.

Ideally, the slug makes the page name clear and easy to read, and it usually comes after a forward slash. 

For example, your blog’s URL could be https://mywordpressblog.com.

However, if you have a page within your blog dedicated to your trip to Hawaii, your slug would come at the end of the URL, making it look something like this: https://mywordpressblog.com/hawaii

Why Are Slugs Crucial For Optimization?

You might be wondering why slugs are important in the first place, but trust us when we say that if you want your blog to rank highly in terms of SEO, slugs are essential. Here’s why:

1. Google Interprets Slugs 

The slug that tells you what page you’re on within your blog isn’t so much for you or your readers as it is for Google. 

Google uses the slug at the end of your URL to identify what your page is about.

This is important because if Google knows the subject matter of your page, it’s more likely to recommend your page near the top of the search results for that keyword. 

2. Users Rely On Slugs

Not only will Google be more likely to promote your page at the top of the search results if you have a relevant slug, but potential readers will also be more likely to click on your site. 

Think about it: if you’re looking for a vegan brownie recipe, are you more likely to click on https://mywordpressblog/vegan-brownies or https://mywordpressblog/?p=745 ?

Probably the first one, because the easily identifiable slug makes it clear that this result is relevant to your search. 

Therefore, if you want to maximize the chances of more readers flocking to your blog, you will need to ensure that your slugs are clear, concise, and relevant. 

Optimizing A Slug Within WordPress

Optimizing A Slug Within WordPress

So, you’ve realized that the slugs in your blog URLs may be holding you back. What now?

Well, you’ll now need to edit and optimize your slugs to ensure that they show up as close to the top of search engine results as possible. 

You can optimize your slugs in WordPress using the following steps: 

1. Focus Keyword/Keyphrase

The basic premise of a slug is that it should include the main keyword or keyphrase discussed in your post.

This is really important because a slug is supposed to help readers and Google searchers to identify the topic of your page. 

If your page is about how to propagate basil, you may want to use ‘how-to-propagate-basil’ as your slug. 

2. Figure Out Function Words

In the above example, you have two function words: ‘how’ and ‘to’. Now, wherever possible, you will want to eliminate these function words because they make your slug less concise.

You could use ‘basil-propagation’ instead, for example. 

However, you won’t always want to eliminate function words because they sometimes help to make your slug make sense. This is something to think about on a case-by-case basis.

If removing the function words compromises the clarity of your slug, you should leave them in, but if your slug makes perfect sense and relates to the content of your post without them, it’s safe to let them go. 

3. Be Concise

Your slug should always be as concise as you can make it without compromising the clarity of what your page is about.

Where possible, try to use as few words as possible while still conveying what the page subject is. 

Never include unnecessary information. ‘hawaii-trip’ is a much more concise and SEO-friendly slug than ‘my-2-week-vacation-in-the-state-of-hawaii’. 

4. Stick To Lowercase

Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters in WordPress slugs can get tricky because you risk duplicating content.

That’s why we always recommend sticking to lowercase letters throughout your slug, even if you’re naming a place or a person. 

If you cast your eyes back to our Hawaii trip example above, you can see that we have written ‘hawaii’ instead of ‘Hawaii’. This is to avoid potential duplication.

5. Strive For Permanence

Your slugs should be edited for permanence.

Avoid including any dates in your slug since this automatically makes content produced several years ago feel outdated, even if it’s still relevant. 

You also want to make sure you won’t have to change the slug at any point in the future since this can be annoying for readers and detrimental to SEO.

Therefore, it’s important to ensure you can stick to a keyword for the foreseeable future before you implement it. 

Final Thoughts

You might not give slugs a lot of thought when you first start using WordPress to blog, but it’s so important to master this aspect of blogging because it will help you to rank higher in Google searches and drive more traffic to your site. 

Remember, in order to be effective, your slugs need to be relevant, concise, and permanent.

That means avoiding filler or function words wherever possible, avoiding dates or terms you might need to change later, and ensuring that your keyword or keyphrase is always present in your slug. 

If you do all of these things, your blog will quickly become more successful.


Ollie Wilson

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *