Are Long URLs Bad For SEO?

are long urls bad for seo

Having Long URLs is sub-optimal for SEO purposes.

Ideally, your URLs should be short, easy to read and keyword-focused.

For example, look at the two URLs below:

  1. /heres-a-question-for-you-are-long-urls-bad-for-seo-what-do-you-think/
  2. /are-long-urls-bad-for-seo/

Which one do you find most helpful?

For me it is URL 2, it is far quicker and easier to read and understand.

Search engines want the same things that we do; clear, easy-to-understand URLs.

That said Google spokesman John Mueller explicitly stated that “URL length is not a ranking factor”:

However this does not mean that there is no benefit to using shorter URLs, just don’t expect your ranking to fly up if you shorten them.

Reasons Long URLs Are Bad For SEO

Search engine-friendly URLs are rarely long.

A good URL should be easy to read and understand both for humans and bots.

Failing to do this is bad for SEO for a number of reasons:

  • Can Cause Broken Links – overly long URLs can easily be broken when shared, for example, a user may not copy and paste it fully if it is very long.
  • Lack Of Keyword Optimisation – Long URLs often lack basic keyword optimisation, on WordPress URLs are auto-generated from the post-title. If the title is not keyword optimised then the URL won’t be either.
  • Off-Putting To Users – Long complex URLs with unfamiliar characters are off-putting to users and can make them feel like they are on a spammy site. Shortening URLs will help users trust your site.
  • Makes Navigating Around Your Site Harder – URLs help guide users on their navigational journey, a short URL with clear subfolders helps users to understand where they are on your site. Complex URLs make this difficult.

The SEO Benefits Of Short URLs

There are numerous benefits to using shorter URLs on your website:

  • Easier To Link To – Short URLs are easy to copy and paste meaning that people aren’t going to link to a 404 on your site, over time this can have an impact on rankings.
  • Clear Keyword Optimization – Keyword optimization within a URL is a ranking factor, it’s far easier to clearly state your target keyword in a shorter URL than a long convoluted one.
  • Builds User Trust – When users see clearly labeled URLs that are easy to understand and have no unusual characters in them this helps users to trust that a site is safe and legitimate.
  • Makes Site Navigation Easier – Short URLs make it easier for users to understand where they are within the framework of a website.

Found this useful? You may be interested in these 18 SEO Newsletters That Will Help You Rank.

4 Tips For Creating SEO Friendly URLs

Below are a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your URLs:

  • Use your primary target keyword in the URL – ideally at the start of the URL.
  • Avoid generic URLs – Your URLs should clearly describe what the content is about, they shouldn’t look like this; /blog-post-2/
  • Use hyphens between keywords – Hyphens make URLs easy to read and understand.
  • Don’t try and force more than one keyword into the URL – while it can be tempting to add secondary keywords to the URL this can make it lengthy and difficult to read. Just use the primary keyword in the URL (this will typically be the keyword with the most search volume).

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