What is Post Slug in WordPress?
The term “slug” in WordPress refers to the fragment of a website’s URL appearing after the domain name.
By default, WordPress designates the post’s title as the slug, only in lowercase and with dashes replacing spaces. Hence, if your post title is “Exploring WordPress,” the default slug becomes “exploring-wordpress.”
You can customize this slug as you desire, both pre and post-publication.
The Purpose of WordPress Slug
The primary function of a WordPress slug is to generate user-friendly URLs that offer insights into your content. Imagine slugs as the names of your files on your computer.
When you see a file called “grand-canyon-vacation.jpg,” you know what to expect when you open it, right? Similarly, slugs help readers and search engines decipher the page content.
In addition, if your post title is long or the content undergoes frequent updates, editing the slug can be handy. Slugs contribute significantly to a better user experience and improved SEO rankings.
Slug and Permalink: Identifying the Differences
In the context of WordPress, permalinks refer to the permanent URLs of posts and pages on your site. For instance, the permalink for this post is “https://www.example.com/what-is-post-slug.”
In this case, the slug would be “what-is-post-slug.”
Thus, the slug forms the last part of the permalink, providing an easily understandable snapshot of the page content.
Customizing Slug in WordPress
WordPress typically derives the slug from the post title, substituting spaces with hyphens and maintaining lowercase characters. To alter this default slug, navigate to Settings » Permalinks on your WordPress admin sidebar.
When creating a new post, upon saving the draft, you can edit your slug by clicking on the title and then “Edit” at the end of the permalink. Input your custom slug in the space at the end of the URL, and click “Save.”
Modifying Category, Tag, and Author Slugs
Like posts, WordPress automatically generates slugs for categories, tags, and authors. However, you can modify these as per your requirements.
For instance, to change a category slug, go to Posts » Categories on your admin sidebar, select the category slug to be changed, click “Edit,” input your new slug, and click “Update.”
Changing the author slug, however, requires a plugin, as WordPress does not support author slug edits by default.
Impact of Slugs on SEO
Slugs play a crucial role in your site’s SEO. A well-structured and concise slug can help your post rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
By including your main keyword in the slug, you indicate to search engines the primary topic of your content. This allows search engines to correctly index your post, helping to increase its visibility to users searching for that topic.
Remember, while it’s beneficial to include your keyword, your slug should still be descriptive and user-friendly. Avoid keyword stuffing and ensure that your slug accurately represents the content of your post.
Crafting SEO-friendly Slugs
Slugs play an important role in SEO as search engines use URLs to comprehend the content of a page. If you’re aiming to boost your website’s search engine ranking and attract more traffic, consider creating SEO-friendly slugs for every new post.
Here are some tips for the same:
- Avoid Dates: Keep your post from appearing outdated on your website and search results.
- Decide before Publishing: If you change a slug post-publication, it modifies the URL, potentially leading to “404 errors” if redirects are not set up.
- Keep It Short and Descriptive: Include the primary keyword and use words that best describe the content.
Setting Up Redirects After Changing Slugs
After you’ve decided to change your slug post-publication, you must understand that it will also change the post’s URL. Thus, users and search engines won’t be able to find your content if they try accessing it through the old permalink.
This could lead to an error page (typically a 404 error), which is not ideal for user experience or SEO.
To counter this, you can set up redirects for your posts’ URLs using a redirection plugin. The redirection ensures that anyone trying to access the post through the old URL is automatically directed to the new one.
Remember, in the online world, broken links are frowned upon.
Best Practices for Creating Slugs
While we’ve touched on creating SEO-friendly slugs, it’s also worth exploring some general best practices for creating slugs. Here are a few tips:
- Keep it Simple: Slugs should be easy to read and understand. Avoid complicated words or jargon that your average reader might not understand.
- Use Hyphens to Separate Words: WordPress automatically replaces spaces with hyphens in your slug. This makes it easier to read and understand.
- Avoid Stop Words: Words like “and,” “or,” “but,” and “the” are often ignored by search engines. Hence, it’s a good practice to omit these from your slugs when possible.
- Keep it Relevant: The slug should accurately represent the content of your post. Misleading slugs can frustrate readers and lead to higher bounce rates.
Remember, the objective of the slug is to convey the gist of the post and its content. The slug, being a part of the URL, is one of the first things both users and search engines notice.
Hence, it should be carefully created to align with the purpose of the webpage and the expectations of the user.