WordPress is one of the best content management systems (CMS) if you want to rank your website. However, you need to understand different aspects of your WordPress post. A crucial part is the WordPress slug. However, this might seem like technical jargon to a new webmaster. The post below will help you not only understand what is a WordPress slug but also how to best optimize it.
What is a WordPress Slug?
In short, to answer the question in short what is the slug in WordPress, WordPress slug is the editable URL part, often at the end.
Let’s say the URL of your blog post is:
In this URL, the part of the URL “what-is-wordpress” is the WordPress post slug. The good news is that it is editable. That is why, if you want the URL to have some other terms instead of what is WordPress, you can include different terms.
WordPress slug vs. Permalink:
When it comes to the URL of your WordPress posts, another term that you will come across is Permalink. However, both are different.
Permalink refers to the entire URL that is editable and non-editable part.
A WordPress slug refers only to the editable part of the URL.
Why is the WordPress slug so important?
Now that you know what a WordPress slug is, it is time to understand why it is so important.
1. Has impact on SEO:
Search engines like Google often consider WordPress slug parameter to rank your post. If the WordPress slug contains keywords or is closely related to the title of your article, it will be easier for the search engines to understand what your page is about and rank it accordingly. That is why; you must carefully choose the WordPress slug to ensure that your post/page ranks well in search engines.
2. Helps users visit the post directly:
Many times, the visitors might remember the domain name and post slug. They can directly type in the URL to visit the post or page they want. This certainly increases direct visitors and helps you increase your website’s traffic.
3. Better organization:
You can keep your website organized with proper URL slugs for every post. That way, you can type in the URL of the website and visit the page you intend to.
How to edit WordPress slugs?
There are essentially two methods to edit WordPress slugs. One is to change it manually, and another is to use a plug-in like rank math to change the WordPress slug.
Method 1: Change manually:
Step 1: Visit the post edit page:
After logging in to your WordPress dashboard, you must navigate to the post edit page. If you’re drafting a new post, click on posts from the left-hand sidebar, and after that, add new.
Otherwise, click on the post menu from the left-hand sidebar and click on all posts. After that, look for the post to edit slug and click edit below it.
Step 2: Open the permalink dropdown menu with the Gutenberg plugin:
Gutenberg bulk editor (the latest WordPress editor) has a Permalink dropdown menu on the right inside bar of every post edit page. Click on the down arrow to open that menu.
Step 3: Edit the WordPress slug to what you want:
You can type the new slug in that section through an editable field.
The best practice is to include the keyword with a hyphen separating the words.
Note: WordPress slugs cannot have a space. Replace every space with a hyphen.
Step 4: Click save draft:
After that, click on the update draft option.
Method 2: Using Rank Math plug-in:
You might have to undertake a couple of extra steps when using rank match to edit the WordPress slug. However, since you can modify a lot of information using the same procedure, it is well worth it.
Step 1: Navigate to the post-edit page:
After logging into the WordPress dashboard:
- Navigate to the post edit page.
- Repeat the same procedure when writing a new post as well.
- In case of any doubt, refer to step one in the procedure above.
Step 2: Click on the post score icon:
Since you have already installed rank math on your website, there will be a score in green or red on top. Click on the score icon.
Step 3: Click edit snippet:
Once you click on the score, you can view the previous section, and at the bottom of it, there will be two buttons. One will be an edit snippet, and other will be analytics. Click on the edit snippet option.
Step 4: Change the permalink field:
After that, you can view various fields like title, Permalink, and description. You can edit any of the fields you want.
The rules for changing the WordPress slug remain the same. You must ensure that it is the keyword with spaces replaced by hyphens.
Once you have entered the correct WordPress slug, double-check and move to the next step.
Step 5: Click update:
Click on update to save all the changes. The WordPress slug will be changed instantly.
It is very likely that the older WordPress slug or URL points to the newer one, which helps the search engines navigate to the right page.
Tips to optimize the WordPress slugs:
You cannot randomly make changes to the WordPress slug. There are a few tips to optimize WordPress slugs in the right manner.
1. Include only 1-2 keywords:
Every post/page might consist of 3 to 5 keywords. While it is a good practice to include the keywords in the WordPress slug, you cannot include them as it will jumble up the URL.
It is better to draft the slug according to one or two keywords you are targeting. The rest of the keywords can be embedded in the content, Meta description, image text, etc.
2. Make it relevant to the title:
The WordPress slug should be relevant to the title. However, it cannot be the exact title in most cases. We will explain with the help of an example below.
Let’s say the title is “Top 10 best running shoes.”
In that case, a good WordPress slug would be best-running-shoes
The WordPress slug should be the exact keywords separated by hyphens. It shouldn’t include any extra words present in the title. You can make the title more descriptive but not the slug.
3. Avoid unnecessary words:
The WordPress slug should exclude unnecessary words like author name, date, month, and year. These are unnecessary from the perspective of search engines or users. That is why they will just confuse everyone.
As explained above, it is best to include the exact keywords separated by hyphens in the WordPress slug.
4. Avoid syntax:
By default, the WordPress permalink can be syntax highlighting the post number.
However, neither the search engines nor the users can understand anything from this WordPress slug. That is why avoiding any kind of syntax in the WordPress slug is best.
It is a good idea to stick to the keywords or the title.
5. Do not change the WordPress slug often:
Search engines can take a long time to reflect the changes in the WordPress slug. Chances are, if you changed the WordPress slug today, Google and other search engines would reflect the same, at least after a couple of weeks. Also, the new slug will be ranked for relevant keywords even later. The entire process can easily take up to 3 to 5 weeks.
If you change the WordPress slug again, it will take 3 to 5 weeks for the entire process to be completed. That way, the rankings will take a lot of time, and you might not be able to get the traffic as well.
That is why, when planning to change the slug, ensure that you choose the right one and make changes only once so you do not lose much.
Why is it called a URL slug?
slug meaning in WordPress traditionally used the term slug to refer to a story until it acquired a formal title or name. In the initial days, the beat reporters drafted the story, which then went to the editor, who modified it further. During this entire time, it was referred to by the name of the beat reporter, followed by the word slug. The slug name was used to denote such a developing story.
When should you change the URL slug?
If you want to change the URL slug, it is necessary to do so as soon as possible. Once the post starts ranking and you change the URL slug, it can lose rankings, and the new URL slug can be ranked after 3 to 5 weeks.
When changing the URL slug, there are a few other precautions you need to follow like:
It is best to ensure that the old URL slug redirects to the new one so that search engines can discover your post easily.
After drafting the new URL slug, submit the entire URL to the search engine for faster discovery.
To maximize WordPress as a content management system, you need to be aware of WordPress slugs and how to modify them. Using the guide above, you can optimize them to the best and ensure that your posts start ranking for competitive keywords easily using well-optimized slugs.
We hope our guide on “what is a WordPress slug” was helpful, please let us know if you got any more questions.