Optimize Your WordPress Blog Post’s Slugs for SEO and More

Optimizing your post slugs will give you a SEO advantage!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series and The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series.]

If you’re like most bloggers then you probably share a very similar publishing workflow like this:

  1. Create awesome super-duper Title of the Post
  2. Write Post
  3. Choose Category(ies)
  4. Insert Tags (or not! I don’t use tags – in fact, I really don’t like them!)
  5. Review Post (or not)
  6. Hit ‘Publish’
  7. Relax and watch the pageview count increase and the comments roll in!

Right? Well, there are a few other things that I’ve inserted in my publishing workflow and one of them is strategically using custom post slugs just before I hit the ‘Publish’ button.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s what’s up:

The Art and Science of Post Slug Awesomeness

Your post slug is simply the direct permalink (learn more about awesome WordPress permalinks here) or URL to your post.

For example, it’s this:

You can click that image for a larger view or you can just take a look at this closeup:

Wow, now that is a long post slug!

[cc]http://thebloggess.com/2011/02/ill-be-available-for-hire-next-week-if-the-rest-of-the-chupacabra-body-goes-up-for-sale/[/cc]

What this author has done is simply publish her blog post without considering how long and how ugly that post slug is! Her post slug is her title with the addition of the calendar year and month before it.

How long is that post slug in characters? 119 characters long! Yikes!

What You Should Do Instead

So what should you do instead? Here is what you need to know:

  1. After deciding on your permalink structure (go here to get some guidance on WordPress permalinks) you’ll want to make sure your slug is as short as possible.
  2. Industry research has shown (as well as personal experience) that URLs based on site architecture that is more “flat” performs better in SEO than ones that do not.
  3. This flat directly structure is very different than a deeply nested directory and structure.
  4. You maximize keyword density on your permalink and URL instead of diluting it with 20 different other words. This helps with SEO as well. This fact is not to be passed over!
  5. It’s also much more user friendly to use smaller permalinks than longer ones.
  6. If they are smaller they are much more easy to remember and thus use. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me about a “particular” post and I’m able to tell them instantly what the post URL is since it’s so short!
  7. It communicates to your users (and search engines) the content of the post more clearly.
  8. Completely get rid of extraneous words, like the following: the, as, if a, an, and others. These do not contribute to your SEO!
  9. Include only targeted keywords that specifically match that particular piece of content.
  10. Shorter the better. I said it already but it is worth repeating.

Need some great examples? Go through all of my posts in my Archives Page and you’ll find that every single post is completely optimized for SEO in terms of the URL slugs!

Some Examples

Here are 5 examples for you to look at:

One of my favorites and most used!
Keep it simple, short, and easy.
I use only one keyword in this very long title for the slug!
'How much to charge' is a very common question. My post grabs SEO!
Very memorable for me and the readers.

You can click any of those images to get a closer look.

Is it wrong to have long titles? Obviously not! But it’s wrong to have a long title and a long post slug and permalink.

As you can see it’s both an art and a science and over time you’ll get more comfortable and become better at it!

Remember, you can always change your post slugs at any time from within the post directly or in the Global Posts screen:

Change post slugs easily!

Or here (just hit “Quick Edit”):

Hit "Quick Edit" and then change your slug.

That’s it!

If you haven’t been optimizing your post slugs from the very beginning then now’s the time to start doing it! If you have the gumption (and drive) you could easily go back and change all of the post slugs to optimize for SEO. Sure, it’s a time commitment but it’s worth it in the long-run, especially if you’re going to be “Pro” as a Professional Blogger (or just want to be generally more effective with your blog).

Good luck and have fun with it! Hit me up with any questions in the comments!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series and The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series.]

Published by

John

Hacker. Human.