URLs were a popular topic in yesterday’s Google hangout with John Mueller. Along with how important keywords in URLs are, he was also asked about the overall length of a URL and if shorter versus longer URLs played a part in ranking.
What definitely plays a role here is when we have two URLs that have the same content, and we are trying to pick one to show in the search results, we will pick the shorter one. So that is specifically around canonicalization. It doesn’t mean it’s a ranking factor, but it means that if we have two URLs, and one is really short and sweet, and the other one has this long parameter attached to it, and we know they show exactly the same content, we’ll try to pick the shorter one.
There’s lots of exceptions there, and different factors that come into play, but everything else being equal, if we have a shorter one, and a really longer one, we’ll try to pick the shorter one.
The duplicate content issue is actually something Gary Illyes confirmed in a Twitter conversation with me last year, when I was looking into an issue Rand Fishkin had with how Google was choosing which URL to display when it was viewed as duplicate content.
But unless you are going to be duplicating pages without canonicals, Google doesn’t place more value on shorter/longer URLs.
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