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What is a slug and how to create one?

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What is a slug and how to create one?

Dhairya Shah's photo
Dhairya Shah
·May 18, 2023·

3 min read

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A slug is a piece of text that is attached to the end of a URL (after the backslash "/") that is unique and locates the specific page of a website.

The use of a slug can provide dual benefits for a website. Firstly, it can improve the website's SEO performance. Secondly, it helps visitors to confirm that they have arrived at the correct website they were searching for.

Mainly, slugs can be classified into two major categories:

  • Randomly generated slug

  • and a meaningful slug

Check out the following example showing the difference between and randomly generated slug and a meaningful slug:

https://example.com/5p2pd1mj6f # Random

https://example.com/how-to-feed-a-dog # Meaningful

Seeing the above example, you can clearly tell the difference that the second example (from the top) is much better to understand than the first one.

As mentioned earlier, the slugs play a very important role in the SEO score of a website; the meaningful slug provides a good impression to the crawlers and helps rank better on SERP (Search Engine Result Page). When compared to meaningful slugs, the usage of random slugs can create a negative impression on crawlers. Consequently, such slugs are considered spam or may not receive a ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).

Therefore, it’s important to know why slugs are relevant and how to optimize them.

Why is a good URL slug important for SEO?

Have you ever tried to copy a URL with a long stream of a string of randomly generated strings containing symbols, letters, and numbers?

Not only is it irritating to look at in your search bar, but it looks untrustworthy and might prevent you from sharing or linking to that URL.

Now you can imagine the SERP having the same stream of nonsense.

For search engine algorithms to accurately comprehend the data they encounter, it is essential to have unambiguous, streamlined, and optimized content.

By incorporating a concise, lucid, and well-structured URL slug, you can facilitate better comprehension of your web pages by both visitors and search engines. Moreover, your URL slug can also serve as an unexplored source of potential for keyword ranking.

How to create the best URL slugs

Now that we understand the importance of a good URL slug, let's take a look at the best practices to be kept in mind for slug creation.

The following are the best practices for the best URL slug creation:

  • Keep your slugs short

  • Use the "-" symbol

  • Match the slugs to headlines

  • Use lowercase letters

  • Avoid adding dates/years to the slug

Manually creating slugs while keeping all these best practices in mind can be a bit frustrating and time-consuming job.

As a result, the following are the few tools that help to create slugs:

If you are a terminal lover, there's also a CLI tool for generating slugs from a string:

Prerequisite - (Node.js should have been installed on your machine)

npx slugdog

Read the docs on NPM.js - http://npmjs.com/slugdog

I use this CLI tool to create slugs for my blog posts.

And you are good to go...

Conclusion

In conclusion, incorporating a well-optimized and meaningful URL slug can bring numerous benefits to a website, including improved SEO performance, better user experience, and the potential for higher keyword rankings.

It is crucial to avoid using randomly generated slugs, which can have negative consequences on search engine rankings and may be perceived as spam.

By following the best practices for slug creation, such as keeping slugs short, using the "-" symbol, matching slugs to headlines, and avoiding adding dates/years to the slug, website owners can create better URL structures for their pages. Additionally, there are several online tools available to generate slugs automatically, making the process less time-consuming and more efficient.

 
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