There was a time when search engine optimization (SEO) was all about cramming in keywords where you could. While that technique still has some value, it’s nowhere near as important as it used to be. These days, search engines are smarter than ever and can easily tell when you’re trying to game the system. On-page SEO factors like optimizing your URL slug are now more important than ever if you want to rank high in search results.
In this article, we’ll discuss why optimizing your URLs is so important and share some quick tips on how to do it.
What Is a URL Slug?
A URL slug is the part of a web address that comes after the domain name. For example, in the URL “example.com/about-us”, “about-us” is the slug. Slugs are typically short and keyword-rich, which makes them perfect for optimization. When done right, they can help search engines understand what your page is about and improve your search engine ranking.
Why Should You Optimize Your URL Slugs?
There are several reasons why you should take the time to optimize your URL slugs:
- It can help improve your search engine ranking.
- It can make your web address more user-friendly, which can encourage people to click through to your site.
- It can help search engines understand what your page is about.
- It can make it easier for people to share your links on social media.
URL Slug Example
In simple terms:
- Protocol: HTTPS
- Domain: moeabdallah.com
- Subdirectory: Blog
- URL Slug: SEO-terms-every-marketer-should-know
Quick Tips for Optimizing Your URL Slugs
Here are a few quick tips for optimizing your URL slugs:
1- Keep them short and simple:
If you’re in the business of search engine optimization, you know that much of the work is experimental and based on theory. So it’s a pretty big deal when the search engine itself gives you a hint about what it prefers. According to Google, “A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible.” In other words, keep your search results URL short and sweet. This has the added benefit of making it easier for your website visitors to remember should they want to return to the content later – no need for bookmarking! So next time you’re wondering how to structure your URLs, just think about what would be easiest for both search engines and humans. You’ll be on the right track.
2- Insert Keywords
Have you ever wondered how search engines decide what to put on the first page of search results? Well, part of it has to do with the keywords in the URL. That’s why it’s important to include keywords in your URL slug, but be sure they align with the actual page contents. Luckily, this URL is already pretty well-optimized as it is, because it’s a long-tail search term on its own. So, if you’re looking to improve your search engine ranking, one place to start is with your URL. Make sure your keywords are relevant to the content on the page, and you’ll be well on your way to search engine success.
Read more about how to conduct keyword research here: “Keyword Research for SEO”
3- However, don’t keyword stuff
We’ve all been there. You’re looking for something online, so you type a few keywords into the search engine of your choice and hit enter. The search results come back, and you start scrolling through the options. Which one should you click on? You’re not sure, but you know one thing for sure – you’re not going to click on the one with the ridiculously long, keyword-stuffed URL. In today’s world of search engine optimization (SEO), it’s important to remember that less is more.
Keyword stuffing in content, titles, and URLs is an outdated tactic and only hurts your SEO and the experience on your site. Instead of cramming keywords into the slug, choose a single keyword for the URL and let the content on the page drive the rest of the conversation. Your search engine results will thank you – and so will your visitors.
If you have questions about SEO, check out our blog post “10 SEO Tips from an SEO Expert” for more tips.
4- Use Hyphens
Here’s one simple rule you should follow: don’t use underscores to separate words or try to squish a bunch of words together. The hyphens are meant to help with readability, so use them! It may seem like a small thing, but it makes a big difference in how search engines crawl and index your content. As a result, you’ll see a boost in your search results. So next time you’re crafting a URL, take a moment to consider whether hyphens or underscores would be more helpful. Your search engine results will thank you!
5- Don’t reuse slugs
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as trying to search for something on the internet. Only to find that there are multiple versions of the same thing and you don’t know which one is the right one. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Except all the needles are slightly different and you’re not even sure if they’re needles or just pieces of hay. But thankfully, there’s a way to avoid this frustrating scenario: by making sure that your office/home only has one address, and only one office/home exists at that address. This goes for your website as well.
Using similar or duplicate slugs can result in errors or Google seeing pages as duplicate content. Either scenario will hurt your SEO performance. So be sure to update the settings in your CMS to prevent this from happening accidentally. It might seem like extra work up front, but it’ll save you a lot of headaches (and search results) in the long run.
By following these simple tips, you can optimize your URL for search and help your site rank higher on search engine results pages. Not to mention, you’ll also be providing a better experience for your users. So take the time to craft well-optimized URLs, and you’ll see the benefits in no time! What are you waiting for? Optimize those URLs!