There has always been the debate that absolute links provide better SEO value on the whole compared to relative links as there are fewer chances of absolute links being messed up. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, the debate still continues. So, what are absolute and relative links?
An absolute link defines a specific location of a web file or document. An absolute link includes the following:
With relative links, the search engine already knows the current location of the document. So, you will not need the whole URL, just the file name. The example below shows a relative URL.
Absolute vs. relative, what do I go for?
If you look at it theoretically, it shouldn’t make any difference what you go for. But according to SEO experts, absolute links don’t have the same associated risks for hurting your domain and authority as relative links do. This section will go through the pros and cons of both.
Absolute links offer the following advantages:
Relative links are shorter as they don’t include the website domain name and so help improve the efficiency of the code and reduce redundancy.
This has to do with website development; it helps developers when they are testing, updating, or changing the website. There’s a live website and a replicated version of it on the staging site of the domain. With relative links, developers don’t have to recode all the URLs, making it easier to change and manage the website.
The benefits absolute links offer to outweigh these. A flexible and efficient website is great, but it does come with its downsides.
Absolute links protect your site by minimizing the risks of damage to SEO and help maintain a good standing. How do they do that?
Protection from scrapping
Absolute links prevent scrapers from grabbing your website and putting it on a new domain. If you use relative links, scrappers can easily place it on a new domain, and it will work. With absolute links, you get added protection through the complexity as the added layer of details keeps scrappers away.
Help search engines ignore duplicate content
Absolute links reduce issues of duplicate content by ensuring that search engines like Google don’t have to translate between URLs to pick original content. One of the problems is that most of the time, relative links don’t redirect to the main URL, so you end up with multiple live domains.
The big problem with relative links is that most of the time, they are not properly set up to redirect to the main URL. When that is the case, the search engines will get to your website from any relative link, and to them, it will be different websites from different domains.
Most people fear that this situation will result in a duplicate content penalty, but it causes an even bigger problem, it is diluting the power of your domain and backlinks. How does that work? You have different links leading to different domains; this dilutes the authority instead of consolidating to one domain, which is terrible for SEO.
As you can figure out by now, from an SEO point of view, absolute links are better as they optimize SEO to its full potential and worth the extra effort.
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