Google’s John Mueller recently stated that URLs should be kept under 1,000 characters in length.
This number was mentioned in a Google Webmaster Central hangout during a discussion about URL length as it relates to SEO.
While it’s uncommon for URLs to reach, much less exceed, 1,000 characters – it’s not impossible. Various factors such as parameters and sub-folders can greatly expand the length of a URL.
At what point does URL length start to impact SEO?
Well it turns out you likely don’t have to worry about URL length until you’re approaching the 1,000 character mark.
In other words, you have plenty of room to work with. With that said, it’s generally recommended to keep URLs short and avoid making them any longer than they need to be.
Web browsers can handle URLs up to 2,000 characters in length, which is what makes Google’s limitation of 1,000 characters particularly noteworthy.
In fairness, Mueller may have been throwing an arbitrary number out there, but he brought up this number once before.
Back in 2009, in a reply to a thread in the Google help forums, Mueller stated:
“We can certainly crawl and index URLs over 1000 characters long — but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good practice :-).”
So, there it is. Keep URLs short, but don’t stress about it if they get a little long. As long as they’re under 1,000 characters.
Hear Mueller’s full statement in the video below, starting at the 42:39 mark:
“These are just different URL structures that some sites have. Some sites use parameters, some sites use folders with file names. Everyone does it slightly differently.
The important part for us is that we can take that one URL that you have, we can crawl it, and we can index it with that URL and pick up the content. How you determine which URL to use is ultimately up to you.
The only thing I would watch out for is it should be, I think, less than a thousand characters – which you probably have to work pretty hard to make URLs that long.”