I have a blog site. Assume that I have added a page example.com/appleand that blog page has been crawled by Google. The word "apple" is based on the blog title "Apple".

Later, I changed the title "Banana" which made the URL example.com/banana

Is it bad to change slugs for SEO and will the Google crawled page example.com/apple be broken?

  • 1
    Slugs in URLs generally refer to human readable keywords instead of a filename (see the example in that link). It's unclear how this relates to your question as you're just indicating a change in title and filename.
    – dan
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 5:26
  • 2
    @dan, Sorry for confusing. For my site, the appended .html is not a filename and it is just a URL rewrite. The actual slug is "apple" or "banana" which is generated from the blog title. I updated my question.
    – Sithu
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 5:57
  • Are you running WordPress or another CMS?
    – Baumr
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Is it bad to change slugs for SEO and will the Google crawled page example.com/apple be broken?

Yes to both.

When you change the slug /apple to /banana, as you indicated, the URL changed from:

example.com/apple to example.com/banana

When URLs change, Google will need to find and crawl them again (URLs are the addresses of your pages used by both search engine bots and search engine users alike).

It will also evaluate the new URL example.com/banana based on how well the keywords appearing in your page match the rest of the content - so if "banana" is not a good match for a previous page discussing "apples", that keyword would not fair as well.

One way you can mitigate this is to make sure you 301 redirect previous slugs to new slugs, and edit your Sitemap and resubmit it. You should also be sure to check your other pages for references to the previous URL slugs to update them to the new ones, and try to contact other sites to update them as well.

You could also use the Fetch as Google tool to speed up the crawling of the new URLs.

  • so it is a pain I think. The blog titles and the contents are not in my hand. It is up to the site users. Is it better to not change slug in the URL regardless of what the content is?
    – Sithu
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 8:13
  • Slugs ideally should describe the content users will be directed to. If a user is expecting based on the URL they see in search engine snippets that the content will be about "apples", but end up seeing content on "bananas", that might result in a higher bounce rate, which is another signal to Google. If the content changes therefore, you should update the slug to match (that's what occurs with Stack Exchange questions when titles change), and do a 301 redirect if not too dissimilar from the previous content. So it is better to change the slug if it describes the new content better.
    – dan
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 8:18
  • You might be able to code an automatic update like Stack Exchange sites have so that when the slug is updated (i.e., question titles), a 301 redirect occurs. As with Stack Exchange questions however, the content should remain relevant (otherwise it's just a new question).
    – dan
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 2:11
  • I think I need to have slug history in db so that I can code 301 redirect to the new slug URL when users access to the old slug.
    – Sithu
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 3:52
  • Yes, that's what this site does, so the process is automated. Good luck.
    – dan
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 5:07

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