How to Optimize URL Slugs in Squarespace (& Why You Should)
Optimizing your URL Slugs in Squarespace is something you can easily do, but it’s something that is so often overlooked.
If you’re thinking “what on earth is a URL Slug?” I’ve got you covered.
Your “URL” is your unique website/page address, for example the URL for this page is: bigcatcreative.com/blog/optimize-url-slugs-squarespace.
The “Slug” is the part that changes depending on what page you’re on, and it always comes after your domain. My Domain name is bigcatcreative.com and the Slug for this page is /blog/optimize-url-slugs-squarespace.
This guide is all about optimizing the slug part of your URL so that it helps you rank better in search engines (improves your SEO). It’s best practice to keep your slugs tidy, short and relevant to the corresponding page.
Squarespace automatically uses your page or blog post names to generate default slugs for your URLs, so most people don’t usually even look at them. And although they’re usually good enough, I’m going to show you how to make sure that they’re optimized to their full potential! (It’s easy!)
Firstly, I’m going to show you how to optimize the URL slugs on your pages.
Head over to your pages panel. Click on the cog icon of any page to reveal your page editor panel.
Scroll down until you see URL Slug
My example below is from my contact page, and my URL Slug is /contact
This is a perfect example of a good slug.
This slug is considered good because it is short and it’s clear exactly what the page is. This helps Google know what the page is, so it will index the page and rank it appropriately.
But if you’ve never looked at your slugs before, you might see some interesting and not so good slugs in there.
The most common slug mistakes we see when working with Squarespace are things like “new-page” or “contact-1”. These are often generated when you’re building your site:
The “new-page” will generate when you create a new page and don’t immediately name it. If you go back and change the name of this page later from New Page to something else, the URL slug will still remain “new-page” until you manually change it.
The number after your page (eg “contact-1”) will come if you have or have had 2 pages that are the same name.
Go through all of the pages, index pages, galleries, blogs (etc) in your Pages panel and make sure their slugs are good!
Keep them short and concise
Include the keyword/s of the page
Avoid words like “and” and “the”
Note: Make a note of which URLs you are changing. If your website is live, then you’ll need to do some URL Redirecting (I will show you how at the end of this article). If you don’t do this, when someone goes to an old URL they will land on a “404 Page Not Found”. You can avoid this by redirecting your old URL to your new URL. If your website is NOT live yet, you won’t need to do this.
BLOG Post Slugs
Blog Posts URL Slugs is where I see most people make the biggest mistake.
First thing’s first, the Squarespace standard URL Slug for Blog Posts is completely overkill, and we need to go into our settings and change it. (You don’t have to do this, but I recommend it.)
Head to Settings > Blogging and change your Post URL Title to %t
You can see in the Blog Post URL example below the box that it takes the date out of the URL and just leaves the title. Unless you really want the date in the URL (I don’t know why you would) you should make this change. This makes the URL much cleaner, clearer and shorter.
Now that you have done that, Squarespace will generate Blog Post Slug URLs automatically from only the title of your Blog post. This is a step in the right direction, but you should still optimize your URL every time you create a new blog post.
Imagine if I left my automatic URL for this blog post, based on the name of this post? It would be:
That URL slug is too long and too fluffy.
But luckily, it’s really easy to update the Blog Post Slug every time you write a new post!
When you’re adding or editing your post, navigate to the Options tab at the top and then type in your new URL slug. For this post I changed it to: optimize-url-slugs-squarespace
It contains all of my keywords without all of the extra “fluff”.
You should do this every time you add a new blog post!
Note: Again, if you are going back and updating URLs of existing blog posts, you will need to use the URL Redirect feature (instructions below), otherwise you run the risk of visitors landing on a 404 Page Not Found!
It’s best practise to optimze your URLs before you actually launch your website, page or post. And if you’ve done that, you won’t need to do any redirects, woohoo!
But, it’s likely that you’ve set something live with a bad URL, and now you want to change it (we’ve all been there).
I definitely encourage you to change it, as long as you implement a URL Redirect for that particular page. This means that if someone visits the old URL, they will be seamlessly redirected to the new URL (they won’t even notice!).
If you don’t implement a URL Redirect for your new URL, then if someone visits the old URL, they will land on a 404 Page Not Found.
Note: Even if you’re pretty certain people won’t be landing on a 404 Page, you should set up a custom one anyway, just incase, — it happens to the best of us — so you can keep these visitors on your site!
Luckily, with Squarespace, it’s really easy to add a URL Redirect!
Head to Settings > Advanced > URL Mappings
Then add your details to this formula below, paste it into the box and hit save!
/OLD-url-slug-here -> /NEW-url-slug-here 301
Note: Leave the “->” and the “301” where they are, just change the slugs.
You can test if it’s working by going to the old URL, it should immediately redirect you to the new URL.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this post, check out some more below!