How Updating your URL Slugs gives you great SEO
Hello friends! Welcome back to our 30 Minute SEO series! In this blog post series we’re giving you SEO-boosting tips you can take action on today in just 30 minutes or less. We know that SEO feels overwhelming, but our mission here at Clapping Dog Media is to make SEO woes a thing of the past.
Here’s what we’ve done so far:
Today we’re talking all about slugs….no, not the kind you try to step around on the sidewalk…the URL kind. These are a big part of SEO, so read on!
Have you noticed that in each of our 30 minute SEO Tips we’re encouraging you to update some small, often overlooked part of your website?
That’s because there’s so much SEO potential hidden on your site that most people don’t use.
Your website is full of little pockets where you can collect a little bit of SEO gold, and over time and with enough practice, that gold really adds up.
Today we’re talking about URL slugs, and why updating them helps give you great SEO.
So…what’s a slug?
It’s the “nice part of your URL” (<– thanks for that definition, Yoast!).
When you’re looking at the search results page in Google, you’ll often see the slug.
For example, here’s an ugly slug:
Here’s a pretty slug:
See the difference? You can easily change this in your website settings, and we’ll show you how. But first, we’ll show you why.
The Short Answer:
- Because people read your slugs
- Because Google reads your slugs
We say this all the time: What’s good for your users is good for Google. Having an appropriately named slug (rather than the ugly auto one you get) is just another indicator to your readers that they have found just the right answer (or not).
So, why does that matter?
You only want people on your site who know what they are getting. People who come to your site knowing what to expect are much more likely to:
- Visit your site again
- Stay around longer
- Browse additional pages (reduced bounce rate)
- Link to your site
- Sign up for your email list
Every one of these actions is great for SEO, business, or both, and when your visitors do the above things, it tells Google that your site is trustworthy and useful. And that gives you even better SEO.
Are you starting to see how SEO is an upward spiral? One little improvement has an impact on another element, and it works like a huge ripple effect. These little tweaks might not seem that important, but remember all those little pockets of gold? They add up, friends!
(pssst: you might notice that we only give tips for WordPress and Squarespace. That’s because other platforms are more difficult to customize for SEO, if you can at all. For more info on different platforms and SEO, check out this post.)
For all websites:
- Slugs must be between 3-250 Characters
- Can’t have any other punctuation other than a dash (-)
Easy, but Absolutely Essential Step:
You have lots of people linking to your site, right? Well, when you change those slugs, guess what? The links don’t automatically follow–they have a different address to your website, and you need to tell them where to go.
So, it’s imperative that you set up a 301 redirect to make sure you don’t lose traffic. It’s not hard, we promise, but we’d be negligent if we didn’t tell you this.
How to update slugs in WordPress:
- Go to Pages
- Click the page you want to edit
- You’ll see the slug edit section just under the title
- Be sure to set up a redirect!
- Go to Posts
- Click the post you want to update
- You’ll see the slug right under the title
- Be sure to set up a redirect!
How to update slugs in Squarespace:
(note: Here’s the official Squarespace documentation for how to do this)
Direct from the Squarespace site:
- In the Home Menu, click Pages.
- Hover over the page title.
- Click the gear next to the title.
- Scroll down in Page Settings to the URL Slug box.
- Enter a new URL.
- Click Save.
- You’re all done!
We’re here for you, friends! We know SEO can seem so daunting, but we hope that these quick tips help break it down into something that feels manageable.
Let us know how this goes for you–we’re always cheering you on!
Clapping Dog Media Team