Everyone has had theories for years about URL structure, particularly as it relates to Google rankings. Should you use keywords or no keywords? Should you ever go beyond a single directory or can you safely go three or four deep? The question was raised at SMX Advanced last week about just how important URL structure is, and whether it needs to be short.
Gary Illyes from Google dropped some tips about how best to create your URL structure and what it means for ranking.
Length of URL
The length of the URL doesn’t matter to Google, as long as it doesn’t pass the http limit. And for the curious, the http limit is commonly recognized as 2083 characters, as Internet Explorer can’t handle URLs longer than that.
Structure’s Effect on Ranking & Discover
Illyes said that the URL structure does matter for discovery, however, it doesn’t impact ranking. The further away something is from the root, the longer it will take Google to discover it. “If it is further away from the root, it signals to us that it must be less important,” Illyes said.
Keywords in the URL Structure
When asked about keywords in the URL structure, Illyes sarcastic response was “Fill them with important keywords, that’s super important.” In other words, stuffing keywords into your URL structure won’t help it rank better for those keywords.
No Ranking Benefits
Illyes stressed again that there are no ranking benefits dependent on how you create your URL structure.
Bottom line, place more importance on the URL structure that works for your site, don’t go too many directories deep unless page discovery isn’t much of an issue, don’t go overboard with super long URLs, and remember stuffing keywords into your structure won’t help your ranking cause.
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“The further away something is from the root, the longer it will take Google to discover it.”
In my opinion, the distance from any page to the root (homepage) has no connection with the URL!
It’s related to the number of clicks someone must do on links.
Do you agree with me Jennifer?
Jennifer Slegg says
I am just quoting what he said 🙂 He was talking on the issue of discovery for new URLs, he wasn’t talking anything about user experience related on actual users finding those specific URLs. But he also said that the further away something is from the domain, Google sees this as a importance signal as well for crawling.
But this is something SEOs have done for years, not letting the directory structure get too deep.
“When asked about keywords in the URL structure, Illyes sarcastic response was “Fill them with important keywords, that’s super important.” In other words, stuffing keywords into your URL structure won’t help it rank better for those keywords.”
Stuffing is not a good idea. But I think RELEVANT keywords in URL’s helps.