06 Dec What is the Effect of the Length of a URL on SEO?
Search engine optimization and rankings of a webpage are affected by the length of a URL. URLs should be short, with little crawl depth, and should not be too long. Using a lengthy URL seems to harm SEO, but is that just a myth? Furthermore, if URLs without any impact of length can be as long as we like, can we make a URL as long as we like without any detrimental effects?
Google’s John Mueller recently answered a question about URL length in a video on YouTube titled Ask Googlebot. Is there any difference between short URLs and long URLs or is it another Local SEO Tips myth?“
It is a myth that the length of a URL affects a website’s rank for organic search, John Mueller clarified that this is not the case. He stated that URLs are simply identifiers for Google organic search.
“In a direct response, the answer is no. It doesn’t matter how long the URL is. There is no limit to how long URLs can be, they are identifiers.” In addition, John also mentioned that his personal preference is to keep URLs below 1,000 characters. “Generally, I prefer keeping them shorter than 1,000 characters for easier monitoring, but that’s just my preference.”
John Mueller shared the same advice back in 2019. He recommended that URLs should not exceed 1,000 characters. Along with the URL length, John pointed out that “it doesn’t matter how many slashes you have put inside the URL.”
In John Mueller’s view, a flat URL structure does not have any advantages (fewer subdirectories and slashes in URLs).
Long URLs have no effect at all?
Does this mean the effects of long URLs are completely negligible? In one case, John stated that the length of a URL is a factor and can have an impact, i.e., canonicalization.
“As of right now, I am aware of only one part of our system that leverages URL length, and that would be canonicalization.”
“Basically, canonicalization refers to picking one URL instead of multiple copies of a page on your website for indexing, when we find multiple copies.”
“Our system tends to select shorter URLs that are clearer and shorter.”
As he explained, canonicalization doesn’t impact rankings — it only impacts search snippets. “The ranking is not affected by this. The only difference is the URL displayed in the search results.”
In his own words, John summed up his suggestions:
As a result, no matter how long an URL is, or how many slashes it has, neither its length nor its number of slashes really matters. Choosing a URL structure that suits you and is sustainable in the long run is important.”