Proper URL is your key to a well-optimized website. Here you will discover how to create a decent URL slug so to have clear, SEO-friendly links that are useful for Google.
As I told you earlier in my article related to on-page SEO optimization, URLs take a significant place among all improvements you can make on-site. Thus, whether you operate a fashion blog, manage a corporate website, or run a full-fledged online store, the URL slug of every page is of vital importance.
That is why, in this article, I will explain to you all the ins and outs of a valid, accurate URL so that you could have consistent links on your website and rank well in Google. But let the fundamentals go first.
What is URL slug?
Well, in simple words, it is a part of the entire link which comes to describe what your website page is about to show. URL slug  is handy for the instant page content description.
Furthermore, if used right, it is beneficial as influences both -- users who can understand the page filling and search engines that can properly crawl the site. See examples of slugs below.
Why do you need to improve URL slug?
First of all, a well-crafted slug can boost your website on search results pages (further SERPs) as your web page appears there in the form of a brief snippet together with the slug. See the example below.
Beyond that, the slug is also your tool to draw a target audience that will easily recognize page content even before entering the website. Thus, you avoid misleading and lower the bounce rate
How to optimize your URL slugs?
To begin with, creating SEO-friendly URLs is easy if you understand primary keyword phrases used for the particular page. In general, the on-page SEO strategy looks like a coherent chain where every element drives to another one.
So, if you implement a keyword to the page title, meta description, and the page content, it is easy to define target words and incorporate them to the slug. And if you pick a keyword for the future blog post, category or product page, whatever, you should understand that it undoubtedly has to be in your URL slug.
Say I want to create a product page on my online store site and to place a new model of casual ladies’ loafers there. What slug do I need to create for this page? Well, I will go to my favorite keyword planning tool and find out there that at least 90 people search for casual leather loafers monthly.
And this is what I need as new loafers that I might sell are full leather. So, I think it will be a pretty good idea to name my product page URL like that:
I will also put this in the page title and meta description so that it all will look this way:
So, when the user finds me in SERPs, the one surely will get to the women’s casual shoes because URL slug and page name ensure that. At the same time, Google will undoubtedly crawl my texts about these casual shoes when inspecting the page.
Thus, I assure you that my brand-new product page is valid, reliable, and I am not going to bring my visitors in trouble and show them original and fully topic-related content only. Now let’s get to the point with slug optimization!
1. Keep your URL slugs brief
If you want to have well-performing URLs on your web recourse, short, but descriptive slugs is a must. Although sometimes slugs are replaced with breadcrumbs , which is excellent but optional, it is still better to keep your slug concise and clear.
Just do not overdo and try to keep a maximum of 5 words in your slug. Filter the title and add the main ideas of the page to the slug. There is no need to incorporate the full page title. Usually, the primary purpose comes in the keyword phrase picked for a specific page.
Regarding the dates and numbers in slugs, I won’t say they are useless. Nevertheless, I certainly can mention that they make page URL senselessly long, tedious, and unfriendly to SEO. So, you make a final decision.
2. Avoid stop words
A, an, and, for, at, of, by, from, the list of stop words  is pretty long. You may say that avoiding them, the URL you create can have another meaning. Well, there is some truth. Nevertheless, there is a fine line which you need to bear in mind.
Earlier, it was better to remove stop words from the URL slugs completely. Not only they were confusing for Google, but also took a lot of space available for specific keywords in slugs. For now, Google becomes smarter with every second.
Besides, multiple voice searches that appear in Google allow everyone to doubt avoiding these words in permalinks. Now the search engine can not only filter but process these stop words as well. It means that leaving them is not a game-changing thing now.
However, I still advise you to remove them from slugs. If you use the keyword which contains a stop word across the page, it will not be crucial for Google if the URL slug does not include this stop word. Moreover, avoiding stop words, you increase your chances to rank for similar keywords instead of a straight one that contains a stop word.
To be sure on what to do, follow this little tip:
- Tap the focus keyword of your page in Google search bar both with a stop word and without it. Compare the search results you obtain in both cases. If results are different, Google pays attention to stop words, so you better keep them in the URL slug. If you get the same outcome, feel free to remove them.
3. Implement focus keyword
In times of advanced SEO, business owners spend a lot of money on hiring companies that provide optimization services. So, exploring the web, you may find keywords in domain names, page titles, plenty of them in text, URLs, and so on. It means that the competition grows and it doesn’t matter what niche you occupy.
So, having professionally-optimized pages with correct and keyword-rich URL slugs boosts your chances to overcome competitors and appear higher in SERPs so to draw leads to your resource. Thus, choose one primary keyword for the specific page and add it to the slug. Remember that one query works for a single topic and one page.
Summing it up
As I mentioned above, it all works altogether. Neglecting even one component of on-page SEO interferes your proper ranking. Thus, I would strongly advise you to pick relevant keywords for your pages and add them to slugs. You need to consider your domain authority (DA), the number of competitors, their optimization strategy level, keyword volume, and estimated competition on search result pages.
The main thing here is to put keywords in slugs wisely. Do not aim to trick the search engine. Play a fair game and enhance your website pages efficiently.
Anna is a SEO specialist and web content creator & editor at MotoCMS. Being creative and open-minded, she is happy to share her knowledge on digital marketing.