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What Is A WordPress Slug? (+ SEO How-To)

what is a wordpress slug

A WordPress slug is a brief explanation of the content you have included in a page or post as part of the whole URL.

You are RIGHT to wonder what I just said actually means if you are just starting your WordPress journey.

We have all been WordPress and SEO beginners at some point.

But you’ll get the hang of it after a while. In this post, we are going to help you do it faster.

You’ll know how to set up and optimize a slug for SEO by the end of this read.

What Does Slug Mean In WordPress

what does slug mean in wordpress
I always understand a term better when it is explained through an example.

So that’s what we are going to do.

Let us use one of our recent tutorials on WordPress.

A few days ago we created a guide about sidebars, explaining what they are and how to create one for your WordPress website.

The permalink for that guide is: https://ultida.com/what-is-a-sidebar-in-wordpress/.

If we break that down, we can figure out what the slug is.

So, the “https://” is the protocol our site uses. After that, you’ll see the domain “ultida.com”.

What’s left is the slug.

In this case it is a brief explanation of the tutorial we created: “what-is-a-sidebar-in-wordpress.”

WordPress generates the slug automatically after you create a new post.

But this is not always beneficial when it comes to SEO.

For this reason, WordPress professionals usually change the slugs of posts and pages manually.

And that’s EASIER than you think!

How To Set A Slug In WordPress

It becomes clear that a well-crafted slug helps both search engines and your readers understand what your post or page is about.

Therefore, although the WordPress algorithm is quite intelligent, you should not always rely on its automatic slug generation.

But first, you need to switch from the default “Plain” permalink structure to “Post name.”

Why? Because it’s automatically more SEO-friendly.

You change by going to Settings > Permalinks.

how to set a slug in wordpress

But how can you manually set a slug in WordPress?

Well, the first thing you need to do is determine the type of slug you want to change.

In other words: Do you want to set a slug for a post, a page, a category or a tag?

Although the process is pretty similar, there are a few differences.

WordPress Post & Page Slug

Setting WordPress post slugs up or editing them after you’ve published a post is effortless.

wordpress post slug

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Posts. If you need to change an existing slug, go to All Posts.

Find the post you’d like to change the slug for and click on Edit (block editor).

From the Settings drop-down menu on your right, you should click on Post and find the Permalink category.

There, you will see the URL Slug section. All you need to do is type in the new slug and you’re all set.

Note: Be SURE to add dashes between the words (instead of spaces) and use only lowercase characters.

If you are about to create a new WordPress post, all you have to do is follow the same process.

After you insert the title, you will be able to find the automatically created slug in the URL Slug section.

The same is true for WordPress page slugs.

wordpress page slug

The only difference is the first step of the process.

From the WordPress dashboard, go to Pages > Add New or All Pages > Settings > Page > Permalink > URL Slug.

WordPress Category & Tag Slug

For category and tag slugs, the process is a bit more complicated.

But do not worry! We are here to simplify it.

wordpress category slug

The difference between categories and tags is that you can not change the slug directly when you create a new one.

wordpress tag slug

You have to create a category or tag first and then change the slug. All you need to do is:

From the WordPress dashboard, go to Posts
Below the Add New, you will find the Categories and Tags. Select the one you’re about to set up a slug for.

From the menu, find the category or tag you need and click on Edit (block editor).

Once you’ve opened the category or tag page, go to Settings (the gear icon) > Page > Permalink > URL Slug

Bonus: Edit Slugs Quickly!

This is the fastest way to edit post, page, category or tag slugs.

edit slugs quickly

You’ll see a bunch of options appear if you hover over the post.

Click the “Quick Edit.”

You can edit the slug from here directly and hit the Update button.

That’s all it takes!

wordpress quick edit slugs

Difference Between WordPress Slug & Permalink

You can think of a WordPress slug as the endpoint, a summary, of a WordPress permalink.

Each WordPress link contains the protocol and the domain name.

After that, a permalink may (or may not) contain the category of the post.

But whether it does or not, the slug is always the last part of a WordPress permalink.

  • Permalink: the full URL of a WordPress post, page, category, or tag.
  • Slug: Just the last part of that URL.

However, one question remains: Why should you set up and optimize your WordPress slugs?

How To Optimize WordPress Slugs For SEO

A slug is MORE than just a URL ending.

A well-designed slug can influence your ranking and improve your SEO in general.

Because you know what’s a slug and how to change it you’ll easily optimize it for SEO.

The WordPress slug basics for SEO are just two: Be consistent and focus on the following two elements.

1. Target Your Keyword

One thing (most important) you should never forget about your WordPress slug is that it should contain the target keyword of the page or post.

If we use the same example as above for WordPress sidebars, you can see that the slug we used contains both our focus keywords (sidebar and WordPress).

This helps search engines understand what your article is about and rank it for that particular term.

2. Keep The Slug Simple

At the same time, your slug should be simple and short (unless you target a long-tail keyword).

Think of it as a quick CTA (call-to-action) that explains why your page/post is valuable to your readers.

Keep it short and self-explanatory.

Instead of “7-benefits-of-becoming-a-pirate-you-didnt-know-about,” keep it “benefits-of-becoming-a-pirate” – because it’s better!

(Sorry, this is probably the worst example I could come up with.)

And that’s it.

Now YOU ARE READY to create optimized WordPress slugs and improve the performance of your posts and pages!

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