How can url slugs be unique?


The term slug describes parts of a URL that consist of one word or several words and that can be read by search engines as well as understood by users. Slugs are usually found at the end of a URL and clearly refer to a digital resource by referencing it with a specific URL structure. A URL slug consists of natural language terms that clearly describe the content of the website. Depending on how URL slugs are generated, speaking URLs (also: Clean URL, Semantic URL or Pretty URL) and meaningful permalinks are the result.

General information [edit]

The adaptation of slugs is not only used for search engine optimization, but also for the user: He can grasp the topic of the content quickly and, under certain circumstances, easily change the levels in the information architecture by deleting parts of the URL or share the URL in social networks.[1] The name Slug comes from the publishing and media sector: Articles and news items that are in progress and are to be published are simply referred to as slugs. On the one hand, this is intended to emphasize their working character (slug means snail in German), on the other hand, a keyword used indicates the content of the article. Similar terms were also used in advertising campaigns and series formats to denote individual advertisements or contributions.[2] The CMS WordPress adopted this language regulation to describe individual content with URL slugs.

How it works [edit]

Since some content management systems (for example WordPress, Django or Typo3) do not use speaking URLs by default, the URL slugs often have to be adjusted. In WordPress, for example, posts are always given a standard identification number (ID for short) that refers to the respective post (post) in the blog.[3] The problem is that ID numbers don't make sense to readers or search engines. In addition, the technology used is visible for some URLs because file extensions and protocols used indicate this.

In the following example, a post receives the URL slug "? P = 1234". The document can be clearly referenced, but no references to the content are given.

A URL slug, on the other hand, identifies a resource using human- and machine-readable keywords, separated by hyphens and derived from the title of the post. Usually the keywords are written in lower case by the system.

However, slugs can also be awarded for other types of resources. For example categories, tags and pages (subpages). An example:

The URL in this example is already a speaking URL. In order to generate such URLs, the URL structure (Custom Permalink Structure) can be changed. The URL in the first example is resolved so that the category, the ID for the post and the title of the post are visible.

The following settings for slugs are possible with WordPress:

  • The URL structure can be adjusted under Settings and the sub-item Permalinks.
  • Conventional (dates, article names or numeric) and individual settings are possible.
  • Very often user-defined settings are selected here, so that the category and the name of the article are assigned as a URL. The following string adds the category and title of the post to the domain:
/% category% /% postname% /
  • Optionally, individual permalinks can be assigned for each contribution. This is done in the backend of WordPress in the post view by clicking on the Edit button, which is located directly under the title of the document. Such changes are also possible via QuickEdit.

WordPress then normalizes every URL of a post according to the given scheme. The system uses lower case for each string, removes special characters that require decoding, and swaps spaces. A hyphen is inserted between each word. The result is a speaking URL, the last part of which - the URL slug - has been changed automatically.

Corresponding plugins such as Yoast SEO can also generate speaking URLs on WordPress sites.

Typo3 solves the problem with an appropriate extension.

Special features [edit]

URL slugs are also relevant for other systems - especially those that generate content and websites dynamically. Against the background of various web servers such as Appache, Nginx or [[Active Server Pages | ASP.NET] the normalization of URLs is also important: With the help of modules such as .htaccess or rewrite engines (mod_rewrite), directory and URL structures can be changed that single URLs become speaking URLs and redirects to these resources take place.

For larger web projects, regular expressions and bulk optimizations are usually used here in order to be able to implement the changes more effectively. By setting up an information architecture, subject areas and special keywords can also be covered.

Importance for search engine optimization [edit]

URL slugs are displayed by search engines. In the SERPs they can be seen below the website title (meta title); they are colored green. The keyword or keyword combinations searched by users are highlighted in bold if they are in the URL. In this way, users can see at a glance whether the information resource contains the information they want.

URL slugs with matching keywords are not a separate ranking signal. Nevertheless, targeted keywords help both search engines and users to orientate the content on the website.

Basically, the URL structure should be based on clear, descriptive, but also short names in order to make it easier for both search engines and readers to use the information resource. When converting to search engine friendly URLs (sef URL for short), however, various points must be observed.[4] And such a conversion should take place in the long term so that the content can still be used as link targets by other websites years later.[5]

References Edit]

  1. ↑ URL as UI Retrieved on July 23, 2020
  2. ^ Glossary Retrieved on July 23, 2020
  3. ↑ Understanding Permalinks and Slugs in WordPress Retrieved on July 23, 2020
  4. ↑ 15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs Retrieved on July 23, 2020
  5. ↑ Cool URIs don't change Retrieved on July 23, 2020

Web links [edit]