The structure and contents of URLs are important to users because they enhance clarity, context, and findability. Search engines also rely heavily on well configured URLs to understand content prioritization and hierarchy. WordPress, by default, does a great job of building nicely structured URLs for both posts and pages, but an automated system can only go so far. It’s up to the site manager to structure content and tailor post and page slugs to best suit navigability and readability in URLs.

Page Slugs

The WordPress page slug display.
In WordPress, the page slug can be seen and edited just below the title textbox.
Slugs are the part of the URL specifically associated with a page. For example, the slug for this page is “url”. Notice how each level builds on the one before it. The URL in the example below clearly indicates that /url/ is a child page of /posts-pages/, which is a child of /fundamentals/, which is a child of /web/. This hierarchy of content, more accurately called information architecture, is important because it “help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect.”

Be Clear, Concise, Contextual

By default, WordPress uses the entire page title as a page slug. While this might be great for loading keywords into URLs, it’s not always the most user-friendly option. It is much more effective to provide a shortened page slug, and by extension a much shorter URL, than to allow giant runaway URLs to take over a website.

Use slugs that are relevant to the content of the page, describe what the user will find there in context of the rest of the URL, and contain appropriate keywords to aid in findability and search engine rankings. If you’re looking at the URL for this page, you know without visiting the page that the content is about the URLs of posts and pages within the context of web fundamentals. The goal of simplified slugs, as is the goal of many web standards, is to aid in the intuitive use of the content we provide.