Every website owner tries to make their websites as SEO-friendly as possible to keep a good ranking. And one of the things that affect the SEO ranking of a website is its URL. But, does the length of the URL also affect SEO?
A website’s URL is its web address that specifies its location on a computer network. Every website has unique URLs for its resources.
It is believed in the SEO community that shorter URLs perform better for ranking. But is it true or just another myth? Let’s hear it from Google itself.
One of Google’s representatives, John Mueller, addressed a question from the #AskGooglebot video series on YouTube about URL length and their effect on SEO ranking. The question was as follows:
“Do shorter URLs actually make an impact compared to long URLs, or is this just another SEO myth?”
To this question, John responded with a direct yet brief answer.
Mueller’s Response On URL Length:
“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 to make monitoring easier. The number of slashes in there also doesn’t matter.”
From Mueller’s answer, it is clear that URL length does not affect the SEO for Google. For Google, a URL is just a web address for identifying a website.
It is John’s personal preference to keep a URL length under 1000 characters for easier tracking.
He also brings up that even the number of slashes in URLs doesn’t matter to Google.
But, He did mention that there’s one case where URL length does matter. And it is in the case of Canonicalization.
What Is Canonicalization?
When a website has multiple URLs for a page, and Google has to choose one of them. Then Google System will prefer a shorter and clearer URL for indexing, and that is Canonicalization. The indexed URL is your canonical URL.
So, the canonical URL is the one that users will see in the search results.
You see, the length of a URL is not affecting the ranking of the website. It is just that if your page has multiple URLs, then the shorter one might get indexed over the others.
Mueller explained it as:
“I’m currently only aware of one part of our systems where the URL length plays a role— that part is canonicalization.
Canonicalization happens when we find multiple copies of a page on your website, and we have to pick one URL for indexing.
If we find a shorter and clearer URL, our systems tend to select that one.”
To this, Mueller added:
“This does not affect ranking. It’s purely a matter of which URL is shown in the search. So, to sum up, when it comes to search rankings, neither the URL length nor the number of slashes matter. Use a URL structure that works for you and which you can keep for the long run.”
Canonicalization doesn’t affect ranking. It just affects the appearance of search results, not ranking. Same for slashes; lesser slashes will only flatten the structure (appearance) of URLs. It was another myth that got busted in the mentioned episode of #AskGooglebot.