Upside-Down Thinking by Patric Fransko
by Patric Fransko
August 22nd, 2018

How Can a Slug Be Helpful to Your SEO Efforts?

I know what you are thinking …this Fransko guy has finally lost it. There’s no way a slug can have anything to do with SEO or my marketing efforts. I agree, it seems like an odd thing to talk about when speaking of marketing, but allow me to explain. I’m not talking about a slug like the odd looking creature shown here,

I’m referring to the part of the url structure on your page that can be used to explain a page’s content. This area of the url is referred to as a slug. Let me explain below.

Fictional ABC window tinting sample

Home page url: https://ABCWindowTinting.com

Website Page with Slug: https://ABCWindowTinting.com/auto-window-tinting-cleveland-ohio

In this example, auto-window-tinting-cleveland-ohio is referred to as the slug.

Now that we’ve defined what a slug is, why is it important to your SEO efforts? The first thing to understand is, Google uses your url structure as an indicator to determine what a page is all about. With that in mind, it makes sense to make the area of the url that you can control as descriptive as possible. This can be one more way that your website can outperform another comparable website that doesn’t use this strategy.

What we typically see when we consult with a client that has a website we did not build is something that looks like the example below:

https://ABCWindowTinting.com/automotive

While this is not bad it doesn’t take full advantage of the SEO opportunity. All this tells Google is that this is an automotive related page for the ABCWindowTinting.com website. Can you see how the example I listed above would be much better from an SEO standpoint? Here it is again so we can break it down:

Website Page with Slug: https://ABCWindowTinting.com/auto-window-tinting-cleveland-ohio

This slug tells Google this is a page about auto window tinting in Cleveland, Ohio on the ABCWindowTinting.com website. This gives Google more information to connect this page to someone searching the term “Automotive Window Tinting Cleveland”.

I hope this makes sense and you can speak to your webmaster about making these changes to your website. However, there are two things to keep in mind before you start making changes.

  1. You must create 301 redirects from your existing pages. You cannot simply change the url or you will confuse Google and likely hurt your ranking, as Google will see multiple broken links associated with your website. A 301 redirect simply tells Google that the page that was at the address https://ABCWindowTinting.com/automotive is now residing at the address https://ABCWindowTinting.com/auto-window-tinting-cleveland-ohio. That way Google doesn’t try to direct someone to an old address that no longer exists. When this happens, Google delists that link and you lose any associated SEO that you may have accumulated to that old url.
  2. Do not use “stop” words in your slug. Stop words are things like “and”, “a”, “the”, “and”, and similar words. They provide no benefit and may confuse the main topic for Google. Use primary words like the example I listed above. Try to use only words that specifically point Google to what this page is about.

I hope this article made sense and it causes you to re-evaluate this often overlooked SEO opportunity. Any reputable website builder should be able to help you with this change and integrate in the appropriate redirects that are necessary.

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