SEO for URLs

by Lacey Gattis
Forecasting, SEO, & Growth

Key Takeaways

  • Be short, sweet, & self-explanatory
  • Use hyphens to separate words
  • Most important words first
  • Use Google Trends to check search popularity

Giving articles a straightforward but descriptive URL (or ‘slug’ in publishing jargon) makes pages easier for search engine robots to understand & evaluate. But they’re not just for Google’s benefit! Simple, topic-centric URLs are better for everyone: they help you get your content categorized correctly, visitors get exactly what they’re looking for, & Google knows it’s giving searchers reliable results.

How To Structure A URL Slug

URL structure guidelines are similar to the general rules for images (see our SEO for images post to learn more!):

  1. Make sure your slugs are descriptive
  2. Use hyphen separations between your words, as in ‘this-is-the-slug’
  3. Most important subject words (aka ‘keywords’) go first

Tips For Coming Up With A Good URL

Think about how you’d phrase things if you were searching for this article. Then make that phrase as simplified & specific as you can.

For instance, you might have a new post about True Detective Season 2’s female lead. But since both seasons have strong female characters, your URL could benefit from a little extra context. Try adding specifics like ‘true-detective-female-lead-2015-season-2’.The date & season number here do a great job of clarifying, & have the added benefit of giving Google more information.

Stuck? Google Trends Can Help!

If you’re not sure what people might be searching for in your subject area, Google Trends can be enormously helpful. You can go to the Google Trends Explore section, type in a few variations on your URL, & see which version gets searched most often.

  • Jordan Lewis

    This is Amazing information!

  • Kate Barnett

    Loving these actionable articles and have already shared some with my team! Question: how long is too long for a slug? Is there an ideal length? Thanks!

  • Great info! Thanks for sharing :)