In digital marketing, what is a slug?
There’s a lot of digital marketing terminology floating around. We’ve created a quick reference guide to a lot of common terms but sometimes, we find it worthwhile delving a little deeper. So what is a slug in digital marketing terms?
You might have read blogs or news articles or heard your digital marketing agent talk about a post slug or a page slug.
What is a slug?
A slug is part of your page URL. Each page within your website has a URL and within each URL is a unique slug. The slug is the part of the URL that makes that address unique.
Let’s use the Social Hive domain to identify our various slugs.
Here are a few pages within the Social Hive website and we’ll identify the slug part of the URL.
There is no slug here
The slug is “using-google-analytics
The slug is “digital-content-calendar”
Get the idea?
As you can see, aside from creating a unique address for this specific page (no pages on the internet can have the same URL), the slugs also identify what the page is about.
Are slugs important?
Important for search engines
As you know, Google and other search engines look at a lot of factors about your website and its content, to determine how to rank you in its searches. The URL, including the slug, for each of your pages, is one of those ranking factors that search engines consider. Google wants your slug to indicate what that page is about.
Important for your site’s visitors and users
It’s always important that you make your site as user friendly as possible. This includes having slugs that are easy to read and identify to the user, what’s on that page.
Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you’ve got many tabs open in your browser; so many, that you’ve lost track of what each one is. If the slug is well written in each of these, it makes it much easier for users to know what page that browser tab is for.
How should I write my slugs?
- As with all our recommendations, plain English with no industry jargon is a primary consideration.
- You need to include keywords. These are the words you want this specific page to rank for and the words you believe your website visitors will use in their search terms.
- There is no need to include “stop words”. These are words like “a”, “the”, “an”, “and” etc.
Using our own site as an example, and a page we referenced earlier in this article, let’s look at the following page:
The title of this article is “How do you use Google analytics? A starter’s guide”. Notice in the slug we have removed words like “how”, “you”, “do” etc.
Likewise, on our page:
The title of this page is “What is a digital content calendar and do I need one?”. Again, we’ve removed the stop words and created a simple and short slug for our page.
- Keep your slugs short and to the point. It’s helpful to the search engine and assists your visitors and site users when they’re searching and once they’ve opened your page. Remember also, that your website URL shows up in the search engine results page.
It’s much better to see a search engine result that looks like this:
Than a URL that looks like this:
What if I want to change my slug after publishing a page?
Finally, modern and respected web platforms allow you to enter your own slug (as opposed to simply adding the title of the page or article to the end of the URL). If you create a slug and find that you have to change it, in reality you are changing the entire URL of that page. It’s important to remember to apply a 301 redirection of the old URL to the new one. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, send your request to your web developer.
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