What Does "URL Too Long" Mean?

A URL is considered too long if it is longer than 100 characters.

Why It's Important

An overly long URL can cause both usability and search engine issues:

  • Any potential benefit you may have by including keywords will be diluted since it's such as small percentage of the total URL text.
  • If you're using multiple URL parameters (which is often the case with long URLs), it's possible that this will create duplicate content issues.
  • Users like to see clean, human-readable URLs, since it makes them easy to read, remember, and type. A long, unwieldy URL can be a usability issue. It could potentially also lead to lower click-through rates on the SERP.

How To Fix

There are several things that you can do to avoid URLs that are too long:

  • If using dynamic URLs with URL parameters, use server-side URL rewrites to convert them into static, human-readable URLs (e.g. www.example.com/easier-to-read-url-here)
  • Try to minimize the number of parameters in the URL whenever possible (eliminate duplicate, unnecessary, or empty parameters).
  • If using URL rewrites, consider truncating them at a maximum length. This is especially important if you're rewriting them programmatically using page data such as page title - long titles will result in very long URLs.

A Word of Caution

When making changes to many URLs of existing pages on your site, it's important to remember that this process can be tricky and potentially risky if not done correctly. If the changes are not made correctly, it could result in the de-indexation or lower ranking of pages on your site. Therefore, the relatively small benefits that come from undertaking these changes may or may not be worth it for your site.

The process for fixing URLs on your site depends on multiple factors, and is too detailed to list here. Instead, remember a few important principles when updating many or all of the URLs on your site:

  1. Create an individual 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one for every page that is being updated
  2. Be sure to update all links on your site to point to the new URLs instead of the old ones.
  3. Test extensively before rolling out the change on your production server.
  4. Update and submit your XML sitemap.
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