WordPress Post Slugs : How to improve your Article URLS ?
Apart from the title of a page, content quality, links and social signals, the URL of a page plays an important role in the search engine optimization of a webpage. Whether you have a business website or a blog, you should choose meaningful URL’s for the pages of your site. The words used in a URL should be chosen carefully because search engines and other search spiders use these words to understand what a specific webpage is all about.
WordPress has a very useful post slug feature which can be used to define meaningful Url’s of a blog post or page.
What is the post Slug ?
The post Slug determines what would be the URL of your Blog Post when you publish it. The post slufg is located just below the title of your post and If your site’s Permalink structure is a Friendly One then You should take utmost care while writing the post slugs.
If you publish a post In WordPress without bothering about the post slug, WordPress will automatically generate a URL of your article that is equal to your article title. In that case the generated URL may not be search engine friendly.
An example of post slug : Consider an article titled “ How to Use Google groups to back up your emails from Gmail “. If you are not using the post Slug feature then your Generated URL would be :
The above generated URL has 3 serious drawbacks :
1.It’s lengthy and without any purpose
2.Contains unnecessary words
3.Bad when used as anchor texts as links In other web locations or emails etc.
So it becomes quite necessary to write better post slugs for your blog posts. Here i have listed some good as well as some bad practices regarding post slugs in WordPress.
5 Good Practices For Writing Post Slugs In WordPress
Here are some of the tips on writing better post slugs in wordpress :
1. Avoid stop words in post slugs. Stop Words are commonly used words like “a” “to” “the” etc.These words add no value in your URL’s from the SEO perspective. So in our above example a good post slug without any stop words would be “/back-up-gmail-google-groups
2. Focus on primary keywords: When writing your post slug, always focus on your primary keywords.( In this example our primary keyword is gmail and backup.). So it becomes imperative to list them earlier than other keywords.
3.Think of the words users will type in search engines : Use keywords common people use in Search engines to find your content. So a User is most likely to search for “back up gmail” than “google groups method to back up gmail” . You can use Google Adword keyword tool and Google related searches feature to find keyword ideas for your content but my advise is not to exaggerate too much on keywords alone. Just keep it siple
4.The fewer,the better : The fewer keywords you use, the higher is their relative value. Do not let unnecessary keywords dilute the value of important ones.
Suppose Google Search algorithm uses a score of 10 for the URL of an article. If you use 4 keywords then every word is assigned a score of 2.5 while if you use only 2 words, each word has a keyword score of 5.
5. Short URLS serve as better anchor texts : Shorter URL’s are preferable when your article is placed on forums or other blog posts . It looks neat, easier to type and refer.
6. Post Slugs may not be Equal to Post Titles: There is no hard and fast rule that a post slug or URL must be equal to the post title
Before you Hit the Publish Button
As soon as you hit the publish button, some actions are performed and you can’t stop them. For example :
1.Your Blog post is added to your feeds. If you modify the post slug after publishing your post, it will break the original URL. Anyone reading the feed from a feed reader and clicking the Link will arrive at a 404 page on your site
2.Pings are generated the Moment your post is published.Some Ping services will Visit your Blog almost Instantly while some may take some time (24-48 hours). Modifying the Post Slug after Publishing is thus to be avoided,
3.Do not start modifying your old post slugs and try to optimize them now. They are already Indexed with the search engines.So if you change the post slug and Your Post appear in Search results guess what will happen ? The users Won’t be able to Find the content as you have changed the post Slug. It would be a Dead link.
4. As soon as you Publish a Post Your Trackback System starts working.It tries to send Trackbacks to posts Linked from your Blog Posts.Chances are that Your link Will appear in their trackbacks section or Comments panel.So if you Change the post slug after publishing all those Links Will be Dead Links.
Earlier I would Finish My post and Won’t pay any attention at all with the Post Slugs.It was generated automatically and I was happy enough for that.That was a Mistake.I hope you aren’t committing the same Mistake as I did.
Is there any Sort of warning that I can Use ?
Yes of course.Try this Greasemonkey script For Firefox that warns you if you haven’t manually set up a Post slug before Publishing.So Before you Hit the publish Button always Change and optimize your Post slugs for Search engine optimization. Do you Use your Post Slugs Efficiently ?