Google makes no distinction between relative and absolute URLs

Google makes no distinction between relative and absolute URLs
Google makes no distinction between relative and absolute URLs

Nothing can be linked without a URL. Links are very important for SEO – but is an absolute or a relative URL better? Search Advocate John Müller answered this question.

Links are an important lever for search engine optimization. Accordingly, SEO experts aim to make the best possible use of them so that the greatest possible effect is achieved for the page to be optimized. In the video series AskGooglebot on Youtube, John Müller, Search Advocate at Google, answered the question: What are relative and absolute URLs and which type is better for SEO?

What are relative and absolute urls?

The absolute URL is virtually a completely complete address specification. “Everything is included that you need to be able to call up the page,” explains Müller in the video. He compares it to giving someone the full address of a place they are looking for – with street, house number, postcode and city. An absolute URL therefore contains the protocol such as https, the domain and more – an absolute URL is what you normally think of as a URL.

A relative URL in turn describes where the target page is from the current position. It is therefore a relative specification, depending on where the current page is located, and only contains the path of the page. In the example of a searched location, Müller compares the relative URL with saying: “Go down the street to the green house.” If they were used correctly and without errors, both types of URL lead to exactly the same target page. But there are web developers and content management systems who prefer one type – that should be checked beforehand, says Müller.

What Kind of URL is Better for SEO?

The answer is short: It doesn’t matter what kind of URL is used for Google Search. According to Müller, Google treats both types of URL the same. It is also not a problem to use relative and absolute URLs on the same page.

The question came up for the first time as early as 2018, when Müller also denied the effects on search engine optimization in a tweet. However, since Google regularly updates and changes the ranking factors and likes to throw everything around with core updates, renewed confirmation is important. It’s just as important to keep asking the Google team the same questions in order to track changes.

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