Does URL length affect SEO? You Need to Know This

What length is “too long” for a URL?

Every web page on the internet has a unique URL. Some of them are long and boring, while others are brief and delightful. Search engines and people like URLs that are appropriately optimized and simple.

Want to learn how to create succinct, SEO-friendly URL addresses that captivate visitors and improve your search rankings? Then read on.

In this post, you will learn:

  • What is a URL address, and what is its importance?
  • How long can a URL be?
  • Best practices on URL length and more

Let’s dive into the details.


What is a URL?

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is essentially a web page address.

It is a unique identifier assigned to a specific resource on a computer network, such as a web page, image, or document. In general, URL syntax allows letters, numbers, and special characters.

Here’s a good representation of the various elements of a URL:.

parts of url

Quick note: Not all URLs will contain all of these parts.

As shown above, a normal URL contains the following parts:.

Protocol: It identifies what type of resource is being accessed. The most commonly used procedures are:

  • http: Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the standard for accessing online sites (non-secure).
  • https: Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol is an encrypted version of HTTP that safeguards data transfer (it is more secure and strongly advised).

Subdomain: This is an extra portion before the major domain name that is frequently used to categorize content on a website. For example, we have a subdomain that begins with help.solohelps.com that we developed solely to display our ebooks.

Second-level domain: This is the major recognizable name of the website, such as “Google.”

Top-level domain: This identifies the type of website or its geographic region. Common TLDs include.com,.org,.net, and.in.

Page path: This indicates the exact placement of a web page within the website’s URL structure.


The Importance of URL Length

So, why should you care about developing the best URLs? What are the benefits? Let us find out.

  • Shorter URLs frequently provide a better user experience since they are easier to read, remember, and share.
  • Ideal URL length can often result in more organic clicks and engagement. The explanation is simple: your URL is one of the first things users encounter on a search results page. If it is properly optimized, you will see a higher CTR.
  • Long URLs may be shortened in search results (which implies they will not appear in SERP results), potentially limiting total clicks.
  • Shorter URLs allow you to target relevant primary keywords, which improves rankings. Remember that keywords in URLs can help search engines like Google better grasp the page’s content.
  • Above all, shorter URLs are easier to handle than longer URLs on your website (including broken links, affiliate links, product connections, and so on).

Maximum URL Length in Different Browsers

So, what is the best URL length for SEO?

Here’s the thing: different browsers have different URL length limits. Here’s a short comparison of URL lengths across popular browsers.

  • Chrome: Chrome browser allows a maximum URL length of 2 MB (2048 characters).
  • Firefox: Firefox allows URLs of up to 65,536 characters.
  • Safari: Safari supports 80,000 characters.
  • Internet Explorer: Internet Explorer supports URLs as long as 2,083 characters.

Let’s now look at the best techniques for creating the perfect URLs for your website in 2024.


6 Tips for Keeping Your URLs Short and to the Point

6 Tips for Keeping Your URLs Short and to the Point

1. Keep it shorter

In terms of URL length, shorter is preferable.

Search engines such as Google frequently truncate long URLs and titles. Additionally, they favor shorter URLs. Why? Because they are easier to crawl and index.

The recommended URL length for SEO is 50–60 characters. If you want to create SEO-friendly URLs, avoid going beyond 75 characters.

URLs less than 60 characters are ALWAYS preferable because;

  • They’re more user-friendly because they’re easier to read and recall.
  • They’re easier to share
  • They’ll NOT get truncated in search results

The idea is to avoid using numbers, codes, session IDs, and so on in URLs (unless absolutely essential).

Assuming you have a blog post titled “Best Blogging Tips for Beginners in 2024,” you do not need to mention the year 2024 in the URL.

For example, you can build a shorter URL, such as “www.example.com/blogging-tips/” instead of the lengthy URL “www.example.com/best-blogging-tips-for-beginners-2024“.

Not only does it shorten your URL, but it also allows you to easily edit the content in the following years.


2. Use keywords strategically

Page URLs are critical for search rankings.

Did you know that incorporating relevant keywords in URLs can increase SEO by helping search engines understand the content of a webpage? That is true.

Make sure to discover relevant keywords and include them naturally in the URL structure. Make sure to avoid keyword stuffing.

Consider employing “long-tail head keywords” because they are typically shorter.

Examples of long-tail head keywords include:

  • Best shoe to buy online
  • Free SEO website audit checklist
  • Blue running shoes for women

Furthermore, long-tail keywords are easier to rank for and have higher conversion rates. (Image source: Backlinko)

long-tail-keywords

Using hyphens to separate words instead of underscores makes your URL easier to read and understand.

Search engines frequently use the keywords contained in the URL to determine the “context”. That is why incorporating relevant keywords in the page URL is vital; it helps search engines understand the website’s content and relevancy.

On-page optimization plugins, such as Rank Math SEO, can help you optimize your URLs for relevant keywords. Rank Math can be used to create a simple permalink URL structure like this:

permalinks

Overall, employ keywords that are relevant to the page content to increase your search rankings.


3. Avoid stopwords in URLs.

“Stop words” are popular terms that are largely irrelevant and add little to the sense of a document. These include terms such as “a,” “the,” “is,” “are,” “and,” and so on.

In some circumstances, search engines such as Google may ignore stop words in order to index and crawl web pages more quickly.

Here are some examples of stop words you should avoid while designing URLs:

  • a, an, the
  • is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been
  • of, in, on, at, to, for, from, by
  • as, but, or, and, if, because, then
  • I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, them
  • This, that, these, and those

When generating URLs, make sure to include hyphens.

URLs like “how-to-make-pancakes” are easier to grasp than “how-to-make pancakes.”

However, keep in mind that stop words should only be removed if they provide no value to the page’s context. In some circumstances, deleting stop words helps shorten URLs, but it can also modify the overall context of the URL.

Here’s a great example of how stopping words can change the appearance of your URLs.

stop-words-in-url

So, what is the takeaway?

Finally, whether or not to remove stop words is determined by the unique content of the page being created. Remember that stop words may be necessary in some situations.


4. Use canonical URLs

A canonical URL (or canonical tag) is an HTML code that allows search engines to index the proper URL while avoiding duplicate content.

If your website has dynamic pages for product listings or user profiles, you risk mistakenly creating duplicate information.

So you don’t want to get penalized for something you didn’t intend to do. Canonical URLs are in handy here because they specify which version is the primary one.

There are numerous ways to use canonical URLs, including:

  • Use canonical tags for paginated content
  • Specify only one canonical URL per page
  • Use self-referencing canonical tags

When using canonical tags, make sure to provide the whole URL. This means that the URL must include the following parts:

  • The HTTPS
  • The www (if it is part of your preferred domain)
  • Your domain name
  • The .com part

You can read our free article on how to use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues on your website.


5. 301 Redirect URLs.

What happens if you wish to alter the URL for whatever reason?

Do not change URLs abruptly, since this can result in the removal of a page that Google has indexed and other websites have linked to.

Simply put, modifying the current URL (by adding or removing words) will result in 404 error pages.

It could eventually impact your website’s search rankings. Instead, utilize 301 redirections. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that sends all link juice to the rerouted page.

Here’s a free guide on how to handle 301 and 302 redirects correctly without losing SEO value.


6. Don’t include dates

Finally, do not include dates in your URLs.

Why? The explanation is simple: they make your website’s information appear out of date.

Search engines such as Google favor fresh and new material over obsolete content.

Furthermore, if your material is evergreen or often updated, dates become irrelevant. Remove these to make your URLs more timeless.

Above all, the date adds no value to the URL and only increases its length. So, don’t use dates or years in your URLs.

However, there are several occasions on which dates might be advantageous. For example, you may incorporate dates into time-sensitive material like news articles, event-based blog entries, special announcements, and so on. Finally, the option to include dates in URLs is mostly determined by your content type and website objectives.


FAQs on Ideal URL Length SEO

Here are some frequently asked questions concerning the best URL length for SEO.

How long can a URL be?

There is no thumb rule or accepted guideline for the maximum URL length. However, most browsers will allow URLs of up to 2,048 characters.

Does the length of the domain name influence the URL length?

Yes, certainly. Because the domain name is part of the URL, a longer domain name leaves less space for the remainder of the URL’s length. For example, “www.ThisIsALongURLName.com” will use more space than “www.ShortURL.com.”.

How do you handle long URLs on existing pages?

If you’ve previously published blog articles or pages with long URLs, utilize 301 redirects to make them shorter. If you want to post something on social media, you can use URL shorteners.

What happens if I enter a URL that is longer than the limit?

If the URLs exceed the maximum number of characters that a browser can handle, the browser will simply fail to load the page or display problems.

Can I use a URL that is longer for SEO?

You can use longer URLs. However, it is generally preferable to avoid using long URLs for SEO because search engines will truncate them or have difficulties interpreting the page’s context. Additionally, longer URLs can be more difficult to remember and type.


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Final thoughts

Finally, the best URL length depends on the page you’re developing. But there is one thing to remember: make short, descriptive URLs that clearly reflect the page’s content.

Avoid using numerals, years, and special characters. URL length is not a big ranking criteria, but it can improve search results and the user experience.

What are your thoughts on the maximum URL length limit? Have you found this guide useful? Got any questions? Please let us know in the comments.


An aspiring MCA student formed an obsession with blogging, SEO, digital marketing, and helping beginners build amazing WordPress websites.

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