Does URL Length Affect SEO: Does Google prefer short URLs to long URLs? This is an indelible SEO myth.
This is when the length of the URL is important and when it isn’t.
URL length is discussed in the latest episode of YouTube’s Ask Googlebot video series.
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The following question is answered by Google’s John Mueller:
“Do shorter URLs actually make an impact compared to long URLs or is this just another SEO myth?“
In your answer, you’ve found that URL length doesn’t make as much difference as some people believe. Although it may be involved in the search.
Short URLs Vs Long URLs Length – Google’s John Mueller
URL length isn’t important to SEO, Mueller explains.
Except for one situation where it is possible.
As a personal preference, Mueller tries to keep URLs to less than 1000 characters.
This is because it’s easier to crawl your data this way.
“The direct answer is no. The URL length doesn’t matter. We use URLs as identifiers, it doesn’t matter how long they are. Personally, I try to keep them shorter than 1,000 characters, but that’s just to make monitoring easier. The number of slashes in there also doesn’t matter.”
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This advice is in line with the recommendations you gave in 2019 when we started proposing URLs to be less than 1,000 characters.
The only area of Google’s ranking system where URL length can play a role is normalization.
If multiple pages with similar URLs have the same content, Google will consolidate all the signals from those pages into a single URL.
That URL is called the canonical URL, which the user will see in the search results.
In the process of deciding which URL to display in search results, Google may consider the length of the URL to be one of the factors.
“I’m currently only aware of one part of our systems where the URL length plays a role— that part is canonicalization.
Canonicalization is what happens when we find multiple copies of a page on your website and we have to pick one URL to use for indexing.
If we find a shorter and clearer URL, our systems tend to select that one.”
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When Mueller mentions URL slashes, he mentions another SEO myth that flat URL structures rank higher.
Some sites believe that this affects rankings and shortens URLs by flattening the structure.
A URL like: homepage.com/blog/blog-title
Would become: homepage.com/blog-title
This is a futile attempt, as Mueller said there is no benefit to a flat URL structure.
Source: Google Search Central