In WordPress, the slug is the part of a URL that identifies a specific page or post. The text appears after the primary domain name in a URL. For example, in the URL “example.com/my-post-slug,” “my-post-slug” is the WordPress slug.
WordPress slugs are typically created automatically by WordPress from the page’s title or post, but users can also customize them by editing the slug field in the WordPress editor.
WordPress slugs are utilized to identify individual pages or posts in WordPress and comprise the URL for those pages or posts. Therefore, they can affect the SEO of a page or post, as they are included in the URL and can utilize in the page’s title tag and meta description.
It is essential to remember that WordPress slugs should be descriptive and relevant to the content of the page or post, but they should also be kept as short as possible. A long or irrelevant slug can harm SEO.
What is a WordPress Slug Used For?
Create accessible URLs that inform readers and search engines about the subject matter of your content by using a WordPress slug.
Imagine naming a file on your computer in this scenario. You know what to expect when you open a file named “2020-family-photo.jpg”. However, having a name like “IMG3256.jpg” makes things considerably more difficult.
When a post title is lengthy or if you plan to update the content frequently, editing slugs can be helpful. However, if you want to edit that post with new bargains every month, you shouldn’t use the slug “July-2020-deals.”
The URL of your postings may be visible to users on search results pages, emails, social media, or other places.
Let’s take a quick look at a URL’s various components to understand better what a slug is. Then, we’ll explain the URL for this post:
- The scheme is typically displayed as https:// (or http:// if SSL encryption is not installed on the page).
- In this URL, the subdomain is “blog,” while in other URLs, it is only “www.”
The website’s name, in this case, “WordPress,” is the second-level domain.
- The top-level domain is typically.com but may also be.org,.net,.io, etc.
- The subdirectory follows the first slash. It identifies the area of the website that we are now on.
- A URL may have one, several, or no subdirectories. For example, we’re on the website of WordPress, and the subdomain for this article is “website.”
- The second slash is followed by the slug, which identifies the particular page within the subdirectory.
- Let’s review tips for optimizing WordPress slugs before we go through how to update them on a WordPress site.
How to Optimize a URL's Slug in WordPress
Here are some tips for optimizing a URL’s slug in WordPress:
- Make the slug descriptive and relevant to the page or post’s content. It helps to inform readers and search engines about the subject matter of the content.
- Keep the slug as short as possible. A long slug can hurt SEO.
- Use hyphens to separate words in the slug. It helps to make the slug more readable and search engine friendly.
- Use relevant and targeted keywords in the slug to improve the chances of ranking well in search results.
- Avoid using special characters or numbers in the slug, as they can cause readability and search engine optimization issues.
- Keep the slug consistent with the content of the page or post. Readers and search engines need clarification if the slug is changed after posting the content.
How to Change a URL Slug in WordPress
To change the URL slug for a page or post in WordPress, follow these steps:
- Log in to your WordPress site and go to the dashboard. From the dashboard, you can access all of the features and settings for your site.
- Click on the “Posts” or “Pages” link in the left-hand menu to view a list of your pages or posts. If you want to change the slug for a page or a post, click on the appropriate link to view your content list.
- Find the page or post whose slug you want to change and click on the title to edit it. It will open the WordPress editor for that page or post.
- Scroll down to the “Permalink” section, which is located below the main content editor. This section displays the current URL for the page or post and includes an “Edit” button.
- Click on the “Edit” button next to the current permalink. It will open a dialogue box where you can customize the URL for the page or post.
- Edit the slug in the “Custom permalink” field. The slug is the part of the URL that identifies the specific page or post, and it should be all lowercase, with no spaces or special characters. You can enter a new slug in this field to change the URL for the page or post.
- Click the “OK” button to save the changes. It will update the URL for the page or post and display the new URL in the “Permalink” section of the editor.
Keep in mind that changing the WordPress slug for a page or post will also change its URL. If the page or post has already been published and has external links pointing to it, those links will no longer work. Therefore, it is recommended to only change the WordPress slug for a page or post if necessary, as it can affect the SEO of the page and potentially break external links.
Additionally, it is essential to be careful when changing the slug for a page or post, as it can create broken links within your site if you use the slug as a reference for other pages or posts. For example, if you have a link to the page or post with the old slug in the content of another page, that link will no longer work after the slug is changed. To avoid broken links, using the “Search and Replace” tool in the WordPress dashboard is a good idea to update any internal links to the page or post with the new slug.
WordPress slugs are typically created automatically by WordPress from the title of the page or post, but users can also customize them by editing the slug field in the WordPress editor.
On the other hand, permalinks in WordPress are the permanent URLs for your pages and posts. They are the web addresses you want to use for your content and can be customized in the WordPress settings.
WordPress slugs identify individual pages or posts, while permalinks are the permanent URLs for those pages or posts.
WordPress slugs appear in the URL after the primary domain name, while permalinks are the entire URL for a page or post.
You can customize slugs by editing the slug field in the WordPress editor, while you can customize permalinks in the WordPress settings.
4. Default behavior
WordPress slugs are created automatically from the page’s title or post, while the default permalink structure uses the post ID.
WordPress slugs can be modified anytime, while changing the permalink structure for an existing site can break links to your content. Therefore, it is generally instructed to set the permalink structure before publishing any content.
6. SEO impact
WordPress slugs can affect the SEO of a page or post, as they are included in the URL and can be used in the page’s title tag and meta description. Permalinks can also affect SEO, as they determine the URL of a page and utilize external links to the page.
7. Modification frequency
WordPress slugs can be modified as often as needed, while it is generally recommended only to alter the permalink structure for a site infrequently.
8. Impact on user experience
Changing the slug for a page or post can affect its URL and potentially break any external links to the page. Likewise, modifying the permalink structure for an entire site can also affect all pages and posts’ URLs and potentially break external links.
WordPress slug usage best practices
Here are some best practices for using slugs in WordPress:
1. Keep slugs short and descriptive
Slugs should be concise and accurately describe the page’s content or post.
2. Use lowercase letters and hyphens
Slugs should be all lowercase and use hyphens to separate words rather than spaces or special characters.
3. Use relevant keywords
Including relevant keywords in the slug can help improve the SEO of the page or post.
4. Avoid duplicates
Using a different slug for multiple pages or posts is essential, as it can create confusion and potentially break links.
5. Don't change the slug for a published page or post
Changing the slug for a page or post that has already been published can break any external links to the page and affect the page’s SEO. Therefore, it is generally recommended to only change the slug for a page or post if necessary.
6. Use the "Search and Replace" tool to update internal links
If you need to change the slug for a page or post, use the “Search and Replace” tool in the WordPress dashboard to update any internal links to the page or post with the new slug. It will help avoid broken links within your site.
By following these best practices for using WordPress slug, you will be able to:
- Improved SEO
- Better user experience
- Avoid confusion
- Avoid broken links
WordPress slugs are an essential part of a WordPress site’s URL structure, as they identify individual pages or posts and can affect the SEO of those pages. Therefore, it is crucial to keep slugs short, descriptive, and relevant to the content of the page or post and to avoid using the same slug for multiple pages or posts.