You may have heard or seen people referring to ‘slugs’ when talking about WordPress. No this isn’t a slimy critter, but it is crucial to your search engine success. According to the WordPress.org Glossary:
A slug is a few words that describe a post or a page. Slugs are usually a URL friendly version of the post title (which has been automatically generated by WordPress), but a slug can be anything you like. Slugs are meant to be used with permalinks as they help describe what the content at the URL is.
Example post permalink: http://wordpress.org/development/2006/06/wordpress-203/
The slug for that post is “wordpress-203”.
When creating a new post, you’ll see the slug is automatically generated below the title.
Ideally, for search engine purposes, your site should be set up to use permalinks in the addresses. (If not, do this by going to Settings, Permalinks, Choose ‘Custom Structure’, and enter /%postname%).
Once you’ve set this up, all the links on your site (and in search engines) will use these slugs as part of the address. This is the perfect opportunity to highlight the keywords from your article. Because they will be included in the page URL, the page title, and ideally, several times through the article, search engines will know the keyword or phrase you’re trying to focus on. Ideally, this does still need to reflect the content of the post or page, and shouldn’t be used for keywords that aren’t relevant.
As well, be sure to you think through and customize your slug BEFORE you publish the item. If you change it afterwards, links to the old version in search engines will stop working, and it may take a bit of time for these links to be re-established. Taking the time to plan this before you publish is well worth it.