#WebsiteWednesday – Slugs and Readability

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Rob here!

We’re back for another #websitewednesday and this week we’re continuing with the final part of our YoastSEO mini-series. In the first two blogs posts we talked about SEO titles and meta descriptions. We’ve covered most of the main features of this amazing plugin for WordPress so I’d like to wrap this SEO mini-series up and talk about slugs and the readability section of Yoast.

Yoast SEO Tip #3 – Slugs and Readability

slugs and readability yoast tips

Slugs

A slug is a part of the URL that describes the content of a page. In the last few blog posts, we’ve been looking at our website packages for SMEs page. The URL for this is https://yunomedia.com/websites-for-smes/. The slug is /websites-for-SMEs.

Whilst this isn’t a terrible example of a slug, it could be better, especially now that we want the page to be focused around our new keyphrase “website packages for SMEs”. To change our slug we need to go down to the bottom of the page and find Yoast SEO. Click “edit snippet” and between SEO titles and Meta Descriptions, you should see Slug.

edit slug in Yoast SEO plugin

Most of the time your slug will at least contain your keyphrase and in this case, that’s what we’re going to use. In other cases, you might want to be more descriptive. We’re going to change our slug to /website-packages-smes.

There are a few things to be wary of when changing your slugs. First, you should avoid using stopwords such as “a”, “and” and “the”. If you do this well then you’ll find your links are more readable at a glance and the URL will be shorter.

Secondly, and this is very important, be very careful when changing the permalinks/slugs of posts you have already published. If you’re changing the slug of an already created page, you’ll have to change any links to that page across your site. If you change the link and you’ve already shared the previous URL across your social media, then anyone who stumbles across that old link could find themselves at an empty page. To avoid this from happening you should make sure you create the right slug from the start or you can use the redirect manager in YoastSEO Premium.

Readability

The Yoast SEO plugin uses a traffic light system to indicate the strength of your SEO. They’ve also implemented a traffic light system for the readability of your text. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the importance of having good, easy-to-read text. The readability of your text is unlikely to directly impact your SEO but it’s how your visitors interact with it that will.

I’ve also mentioned before that it’s good to keep visitors on your page for as long as possible. Google can measure session duration and if people are dropping off quickly, you’ll be punished. Having good text can fix this. It’s about balance though. Little amounts of text won’t be enough to compliment your keywords and poorly written text or too much text will send visitors back to Google. Thanks to Yoast’s handy readability tool, we can see how we’re doing!

In case you haven’t found it yet, here’s where to find the readability tab.

readability tab in Yoast SEO plugin

I’ve taken a screenshot of how I’m doing whilst writing this…

traffic light readability indicators

As you can see, so far so good. In other cases, these dots might be orange or red. Orange means you should consider correcting, whilst red is something more important to address. I’m not much of an author so this tool is so helpful to me. If the spots are orange or red, the plugin will also tell you how to improve them.

For a more detailed look into how Yoast scores your content, take a look at this helpful guide.

That’s everything we’re going to cover in our YoastSEO mini-series. You should now have the knowledge to cover the basics of SEO. If you have any questions about the YoastSEO plugin or anything else website related, get in touch at [email protected]

A final note

It’s worth noting that SEO is an on-going thing, always monitor your rankings, check how users interact with your website and create great content to share across social media!

If you’re looking at getting a company to do your SEO please do some research before. SEO services can be pricey and you’ll want to make sure that whoever you choose works well for you and has plenty of testimonials to prove their worth.

DO NOT trust any spam emails that tell you they’ll get you to number 1! These companies or individuals may use black hat techniques which will damage your rankings.

You should also be patient. It could take months for you to creep up the rankings and even then you may still not make it to where you’d like to be. If this is the case, by monitoring your website you should be able to find areas to improve.

That’s everything we’re going to cover in our YoastSEO mini-series. You should now have the knowledge to cover the basics of SEO. If you have any questions about the YoastSEO plugin or anything else website related, get in touch at [email protected]

There is so much more to SEO than what I’ve gone through, but I hope this is enough to get you started.

Summary/TL;DR

Slugs

  • Slugs are the part of a URL that describes the page you’re on. For example https://yunomedia.com/websites-for-smes
  • When writing your slugs you should avoid stopwords such as “a”, “and” and “the”
  • Be careful when changing the permalinks/slugs of posts you’ve already published. Anyone who finds the old link will find a missing page.
  • Use Yoast Premium’s redirect manager to fix the old permalinks/URLs

Readability

  • Good text keeps visitors on your website for longer, Google likes this!
  • Use the readability tab to measure the effectiveness of your text
  • Red indicates something important to address. Orange is something you should consider improving. Green is good!
  • The plugin will tell you how you can improve red and orange spots

Final SEO notes

  • SEO is on-going and you should monitor your website to find areas to improve
  • Create great content for social media that brings people over to your website
  • Before hiring someone to do your SEO, research them.
  • DO NOT trust spam emails claiming they’ll get you to number 1
  • Be patient. It could take months to see movement and even then you may not be where you want to be. So keep monitoring and refining.

 

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