If you are interested in SEO, you will probably wonder if URL length affects SEO? Short URLs look better, but are there any benefits to search rankings? Or does Google favor short URLs over long URLs? This is still an SEO mystery that requires further investigation. Below we discuss when and when URL length matters not.
URL length is the topic of discussion in the latest installment of the video series Ask Googlebot on Youtube.
The following question was answered by Google’s John Mueller:
"Do shorter URLs really make an impact compared to long URLs or is this just a false rumor? “
According to a response from John Mueller, URL length is not as much of a difference-making factor as some people think. Although in some cases it plays a role in the search.
Google’s John Mueller talks about URL length
He argues that URL length is not important for SEO except in some special cases. However, try to keep URLs under 1,000 characters. So it’s easier to keep track of the data. This advice is similar to the one he made in 2019. When Mueller first started suggesting URLs should be under 1,000 characters.
"The straight answer is Are not. URL length doesn’t matter. We use URLs as identifiers, no matter their length. Personally, I try to keep it shorter than 1,000 characters, but it’s just to make it easier to follow. The number of slashes in the URL doesn’t matter either.”
What effect does URL length have?
The only part of Google’s ranking system where URL length can play any role is Normalization (canonicalization). When multiple similar URLs with the same content are on the page, Google consolidates all the signals from those pages into one URL. That URL is called the canonical URL, and it’s what users see in search results. In deciding which URLs to show in search results, Google may consider the length of the URL as one of the selection factors.
Specifically, he said the following:
"Currently I know of only one part of our system where URL length matters – that part is Canonicalization.
Canonicalization is what happens when we find multiple copies of a page on your site. And we have to choose a URL to use for indexing.
If we find a shorter and clearer URL, our system tends to pick that URL."
URL length has no effect?
Mueller clarified that the standardized has nothing to do with rank.
In short, the length of a URL can affect the appearance of search snippets, but not search rankings.
"This has no effect on ratings. It is purely a matter of which URL is shown in search. So in summary, when it comes to search rankings, neither the URL length nor the number of slashes matters. Use the right URL structure and keep it for the long haul."
When Mueller mentioned slashes in URLs, he was probably referring to another SEO rumor. That flat URL structures rank better. Many people think this will affect rankings, so try to shorten their URLs by flattening the structure, minimizing slashes.
A URL like: homepage.com/blog/blog-title
Will become: homepage.com/blog-title
However, nothing will change as Mueller has stated that there is no benefit to a flat URL structure. Please see more The most effective ways to optimize URLs
How to create SEO-friendly URLs
However, we can still optimize the URL to achieve the most SEO effect. Following are some ways to SEO URLs and the logic behind each tactic.
1. Choose a top-level domain
There is a study from Search Engine Land that shows the details of a friendly URL structure. They argue that using a top-level domain (TLD) is often the best way. This means that ideally use the domain name ".com" instead of ".biz", ".pro," ".tel," etc.
In fact, TLDs don’t directly affect rankings. But what it tends to do is increase trust for users.
2. HTTPS is ideal
Online security is a big deal these days. With cybercrime and identity theft on the rise. Internet users want to know that they are using a secure connection. Therefore, owning Https can be a sign of a more reputable and trustworthy website.
3. URL length
Although as stated above that URL length does not affect rankings. So just try to use about three to five words for each URL. Keep it simple and give users a pretty clear idea of what the specific content is all about. The key point is to condense the essence of the content into about three to five words. And try to use 60 characters maximum.
4. Use up to 2 slashes
Like most other aspects of URL optimization, it’s best to keep it simple with the number of directories you use in your URLs.
5. Target 1-2 keywords
First of all, you should definitely still include keywords in your URLs. Although this method is not likely to get you to number one, it does improve rankings.
And from the user’s perspective, including keywords serves a very important purpose. It allows the URL to act as the anchor text when copying the URL without including the anchor text for clarity.
6. Avoid repeating keywords
Never repeat your keywords in a URL. This repetition is completely pointless because Google doesn’t give you anything else. In fact, this could be seen as a form of manipulation, which is clearly not good. More than that, it could end up making your content look spammy, or at the very least, lower your authority in the eyes of search engine users.
Although an important factor, the length of the URL has no effect on a page’s ranking. However, it is possible to optimize the URL to be more SEO-friendly and reader-friendly.
Recently, I compiled and analyzed Mueller’s answer to how URL length affects SEO. And some tips for setting the most relevant URL. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact Total SEO Services to receive the earliest support.