Some forums are currently rumored to have a new Google update coming up these days. Since there’s nothing reliable to report yet, we’ll stick to this week’s SEO news, which answers a question you may have asked yourself: Should you use absolute or relative URLs?
FOR SEO IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU USE ABSOLUTE OR RELATIVE URLS
Those who know their way around will probably ask themselves: Where did the seo-nerd get it from? Answer: from a tweet by John Müller, Google’s contact person for webmasters (or an article by Christian Kunz, who followed this tweet and classified its meaning).
If you haven’t been involved with SEO and website design, you may want to know what absolute and relative URLs are. The difference refers to the form of internal links. You basically have the choice between two options:
- Absolute URL: You enter the protocol, the domain address and the path of the respective directory as well as the URL name of the page, for example: https://(www.)domainadress.de/category/site.html
- Relative URL: They always start with a slash. So you just enter the path to the category and the page, for example: /category/page.html (relative to the web server). If the page is not assigned to a category, /page.html (relative to the document) is of course also sufficient.
As mentioned at the beginning, according to John Müller for Google it does not matter which form of internal linking you choose. This is obvious inasmuch as Google always examines the context in which internal links appear anyway. The assignment to the domain is therefore not necessary for the understanding of the link.
Although you can use both methods from an SEO perspective, you should still consider which one you choose. Because both the absolute URL and the relative URL have advantages and disadvantages.
THE ADVANTAGES OF RELATIVE URLS
- The loading time is somewhat faster with the relative URL. However, this “something” is so minimal that it is of no further importance for the ranking.
- Relative links can be programmed quickly and easily
- If you move your content or put it on another server for testing, this can be done quickly and easily with relative links.
DISADVANTAGES OF RELATIVE URLS
- Content theft (scraping) is made extremely easy with relative URLs. They can simply copy the entire page and do not even have to rewrite the internal links, since the domain was not named
- Relative links often encourage the creation of duplicate content. If pages are moved, the relative links often lead to nothing, since the relation to the higher plane can no longer be established.
- Search engine crawlers often have a similar problem with the relative reference. If they are always routed from one relative URL to another, you may never get to the full standard version of the domain. In the worst case, the search engine may even crawl and index pages that duplicate (such as an https and an http version). Relative links therefore always carry the risk of giving away valuable crawlbudget. Possibly unimportant pages will then be indexed while other important pages will no longer have a chance to be ranked
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ABSOLUTE URLS
When using absolute URLs, the link always points to the correct URL. The content is thus better protected against theft. If someone simply copies the content 1:1, at least the internal links still refer to your domain. The disadvantages of relative URLs described above are avoided by absolute URLs.
Disadvantages of absolute URLs are that they are not suitable for testing your site on a local or other server. If you even plan a move, the effort is much higher.
Which variant you choose should always depend on your needs. If you test a lot or know that you still want to migrate the content often, relative URLs are certainly a good choice. In terms of security, however, the absolute URLs are unbeatable.