URL Length


To make crawling easier for search engines, each URL should not exceed a certain number of characters. The URL length is usually not considered to be a ranking factor. Nevertheless, it is important to restrict the URL length and so make it accessible to search engines and easily crawlable. Shorter URLs are also easier for users to understand.

Keywords in URLs[edit]

The search engine Google generally recommends not placing more than three to five keywords in a URL, provided they are relevant to the page. Each additional keyword is weighted with less relevance. To avoid Keyword Stuffing, you should also avoid the excessive use of keywords in the URL. Parameters should be placed as far back as possible in the URL.

Example:

A website on the subject of dog food has a subpage that discusses the benefits of organic dog food.

A reasonably structured and not too long URL could look like this:

www.mydoggysite.com/dogfood/is-organic-dog-food-beneficial-or-not.html

It is generally recommended to use Speaking URLs because of the keyword relevance.

Recommendation[edit]

A URL should not exceed 2000 [1] characters, so that it can be parsed with a Browser. However, URLs of this length are rare. If you want a URL to appear in the search results complete and not truncated, it should be a maximum of 74 characters. Shorter URL can help to increase the Click Through Rate of the snippet. A shorter URL is also easier for users to share and bookmark.

Problem areas[edit]

A CMS creates URLs automatically according to certain rules. For example, a new online store should plan out the URL structure from the outset. After all, in the case of shop systems, the product titles are often incorporated into the URL, which can lead to the creation of very long URLs, especially if individual criteria such as color or size are also placed in the URL.

Example:

A fashion shop offers a checkered men’s shirt of the “Schickimicki” brand. The customer clicks it, chooses size 41, and the color black. A corresponding URL could then look like this:

www.fashionshop.com/clothing/men/shirts/mens-shirt-schickimicki-size41-black.html

To cut this URL, the HTML product page could be attached directly to the root, i.e.:

www.fashionshop.com/mens-shirt-schickimicki-size41-black.html

Alternatively, individual filters can be displayed as URLs, but they cannot be indexed. That way, the shop functionality is maintained, but the URL structure is not extended by excessive lengths.

URL Shorteners are a good tool to shorten URLs for advertising campaigns or for social networking, such as Twitter.

Very long URLs can become a problem if link titles are generated automatically with the URL name. It is recommended to either manually correct them subsequently or to adjust the automation accordingly.

As far as search engine optimization is concerned, the use of Canonical Tags should be considered, especially for online shops, because of possible duplicate content.

References[edit]

  1. What is the maximum length of a URL? Stackoverflow.com. Accessed 07/29/2012

Web Links[edit]