written by
Syed Balkhi

Best Practices for Creating SEO-Friendly URL Slugs

Search Engine Optimization Content Marketing 8 min read

Are you interested in learning about the best practices for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs for your website? Many people overlook the importance of well-crafted URL slugs when optimizing their company's websites for better search engine performance. A URL slug not only enhances the user experience but also improves your rankings, helping you stand out in your industry.

Carefully constructed URL slugs that match search intent and describe the site's hierarchy can boost your search engine presence and attract a relevant audience organically. It's crucial to plan ahead and create search-engine-friendly URL slugs for your website from the beginning, as changing them later could result in traffic loss and disrupt your internal linking structure.

Here are some key takeaways for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs that enhance your search engine visibility.

  1. Define a Clear Path for Your URLs
  2. Keep URL Slugs Short
  3. Skip Articles or Stop Words
  4. Make URL Slugs Readable
  5. Include Focus Keywords
  6. Avoid Adding Dates
  7. Avoid Adding Numbers
  8. Use Lowercase Letters
  9. Use Hyphens
  10. Create Slugs that Align With Your Content
  11. Avoid Using Auto-Generated URL Slugs

1. Define a Clear Path for Your URLs

The path defined in your URLs facilitates the user experience and thus fuels the search engine performance of the respective pages.

A path facilitates information navigation, making it easier for visitors to map the exact location of the respective pages.


A clearly defined path helps visitors explore the website and access relevant information hassle-free.

It also helps search engine bots or crawlers assess your site's hierarchy and access the data representing your pages to fuel their rankings.

So, designing the URL path carefully is something you must consider when you intend to climb the SERPs.

2. Keep URL Slugs Short

There's no limit to the number of characters you can add to create a URL slug. However, it's highly recommended that you keep them short and to the point to ensure that you follow the best practices for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs.

Google, the search engine giant with over 93% of the market share in the industry, prefers shorter URLs. Keeping all other factors constant, if two pages compete with each other, the one with the shorter URL will likely rank higher.

This likely happens when both pages represent identical search engine performance metrics. So, the URL length acts as a tie-breaker.

Keeping the URL slugs short helps you create aesthetically appealing URLs and offers a better user experience to your visitors.

SEO URL best practice

However, you shouldn't compromise on the context while trying to shorten your URL slugs. The URLs must be descriptive and give visitors a glimpse into the information they're about to access.

Rather than using the entire title of the page to create a URL slug, you should focus on the relevant keywords that describe the content of the page.

3. Skip Articles or Stop Words

One of the notable best practices for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs is skipping articles or stop words such as and, or, of, to, for, etc.

You may think that removing such words may compromise the context. But if you're careful when structuring your URL slugs, you do not need articles or stop words for your URL slugs to make sense.

Skipping articles or stop words makes your URLs more readable, short, and easy to remember for your visitors. As a result, you are likely to generate more traction and engage the intended audience.

4. Make URL Slugs Readable

As said earlier, your URL slugs should give visitors some context about the page. So, it's best to improve their readability and make them easy to understand.

SEO URL best practice

The goal here is to come up with short but descriptive URLs. Plus, you should also refrain from using complex words or special characters such as symbols or numbers.

Be as clear as you can, as it contributes to the experience you offer and helps increase the rankings of your respective pages.

5. Include Focus Keywords

One of the easiest ways to optimize your URL slugs for better search engine performance is by using focus or target keywords. But do remember to avoid keyword stuffing, which might make your content unnatural.

Using focus keywords to create URL slugs helps boost your search engine performance and achieve higher rankings.

Ensuring keyword relevance when creating URL slugs not only helps your visitors explore relevant information published on your website but also guides search engines with respect to assessing your rankings.

Adding the right keywords that best describe the page's content and align with the intent of your target audience increases your chances of scoring higher rankings displayed by search engines in response to relevant search queries.

Damian Grabarczyk, the co-founder and growth marketer of PetLab Co., says,

"Optimizing URL slugs with targeted keywords is essential for enhancing Google's crawling and indexing efficiency. The process starts with a deep dive into search trends to identify keywords that precisely reflect our audience's search intent. By embedding these keywords into the URL structure, we tackle the dual challenge of improving search engine rankings and making navigation intuitive for users. This approach ensures our content is accurately indexed, boosting visibility and driving targeted organic traffic. Consistently applying this best practice across our digital assets strengthens our SEO foundation and enhances overall user experience."

6. Avoid Adding Dates

Many people make a common mistake by including a year in the URL slug. This limits the content's relevance to a specific period of time.

For instance, an article with a slug like /best-seo-tips-2023 restricts the potential of the content and hinders its long-term ranking. Search engines prioritize relevant content and rank it higher than outdated material.

Therefore, evergreen content is more likely to achieve higher rankings in the long run compared to time-bound content.

7. Avoid Adding Numbers

Adding numbers to your URL slugs may also compromise the relevance of the respective pages. 

Let's say you've published an article with the slug /10-best-seo-tips. Later, you consider topical depth optimization and decide to increase the number of tips shared from ten to twenty.

Now, to align your URL slug with your content, you will have to change the number specified.

As said earlier, changing your URL slug may affect your search engine rankings and traffic. It may also affect your internal linking and cause broken link problems.

So, a wise strategy here would be to create a number-free URL slug such as /best-seo-tips. This will make it easier for you to update your content without having to worry about changing the URL slugs for the respective pages.

8. Use Lowercase Letters

Your URL slugs are case-sensitive. So, unless you want to run into duplication issues or 404 errors, it's best to ensure that your URL slugs contain lowercase letters only.

Using the combination of upper and lowercase letters to create URL slugs may severely affect the user experience you offer to your visitors.

Furthermore, it may lead to broken link issues, affecting not only your internal linking structure but also your backlink profile.

Collectively, all these issues affect your SEO performance and may have a negative impact on the rankings of your pages.

Platforms like WordPress automatically adjust your URL slugs to lowercase. But you have to be careful if you prefer leveraging other content management systems.

9. Use Hyphens

You can create URL slugs by adding no separators between the words. However, it will compromise the readability of your URLs.

SEO URL best practice

Hyphens are recommended by Google to be used as separators among the descriptive words forming your URL slugs. Though we said that you should refrain from using special characters or symbols like underscores when creating URL slugs, hyphens serve as an exception.

Using hyphens or dashes helps you create clean URLs that are easy to read and edit. This improves the user experience you offer and facilitates search engine optimization.

10. Create Slugs that Align With Your Content

To create an SEO-friendly URL structure, you should ensure that the slugs align with the content published on the respective pages.

This complements the user experience, as your target audience will have a clear idea of the information published on the destination page.

Plus, aligning your URL slugs with the content published on the respective pages adds to their relevance and increases their likelihood of achieving higher rankings.

Remember, there's no need to use the entire title of your page to create a URL slug, as it may make your URLs too long. Just try to showcase the essence of the content published on the respective pages.

11. Avoid Using Auto-Generated URL Slugs

The content management system you leverage to manage your content generally has the ability to generate the URL slugs for your pages automatically.

This may seem like a handy feature, but it may cause more harm than good if you're not careful. The CMS may use a blanket approach, assuming that you will edit the URL slugs yourself if need be.

The same goes for SEO solutions that enable you to automate URL slug generation for your pages.

System-generated slugs may either be too long, bland, or lack context, which may affect the search engine performance of your pages.

Therefore, one of the best practices for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs is to structure them manually. Even if you want to benefit from the automation capabilities of the solutions you use, it's best to review your slugs manually as per the best practices and make changes if needed.

Final Words

In this article, we featured a few notable best practices for creating SEO-friendly URL slugs for your pages.

Suppose you've been wanting to improve the search engine performance of your website and achieve higher rankings compared to your competitors. In that case, the recommendations in this article may come in handy and help you climb the SERPs with ease.

Grab your website’s free SEO analysis today. Easily monitor your website's SEO performance, gain valuable insights, and receive actionable recommendations to increase your traffic.

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