Today’s Ask Yoast will discuss a problem that may be familiar to you if your site is in a non-ASCII language, like Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and many other languages. You work hard to write good, SEO-friendly URLs, so people will click to your website. However, when your site is linked to or shared, for instance on social media, the slug doesn’t show the right characters. Instead, it changes into a long string of percent signs, capitals and numbers.
To give you an example: check out this link to an Arabic Wikipedia article on SEO. In the address bar, it looks good:
However, when I try to copy it into this post, it turns into this:
Of course, a slug like that looks weird and a bit unsettling: it doesn’t tempt people to click, and doesn’t reveal much about the content of a page either. So, if you come across this problem with your non-ASCII slugs, what are your options for dealing with this?
Ahmed Saad emailed us on this subject:
My site’s content is in Arabic and that means that the slug looks very bad when it’s shared on social media. Should I change the URL language to English so it looks better or does that hurt my SEO?
Watch the video or read the transcript for the answer!
Dealing with bad slugs for Arabic URLs
“I honestly don’t have a good answer to that because this slug is not good for your SEO either. This slug doesn’t really entice people to click. I guess that the best solution would be to get the shortest slug as possible in Arabic, because you can have i18n URLs. But support for that is not always as good across CMSes.
If that doesn’t work then you can certainly fall back to English, or to an English ‘way’ of writing your Arabic strings, which is something that a lot of Indian languages do. Good luck!”