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Are Your URLs Too Long?

Are Your URLs Too Long?
Innovation
Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 24 april 2009

Digital wisdom has been that URLs should be as descriptive as possible so that Google can use the words contained in them to help judge whether they should point a search query to that link. This has led to longer and longer URLS which has been ok until Twitter came on to the scene and became a main driver of traffic for websites.

The big issue people who use Twitter sharing links is that a lengthy URL means less words to write around it. Yes, Twitter does shorten URLs but after a user submits them – therefore in the default ‘What Are You Doing Box’ a link like this one http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2009/04/consumers_blame.html takes 88 characters and leaves only 52 for the user to add commentary to.

Of course, there are ways around this – users go to URL shortening sites and I’m sure there are other services that process Tweets with long URLs – but for the majority of Twitterers, we’d suspect they’re just going to the main form to update their friends with news and links.

Why do we think this is an issue? Over 20% of our traffic comes from links in Twitter feeds. Yes, we want to keep Google happy but we also want to make it as easy as possible for everyone out there who is spreading the word.

Just a thought.

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