The debate between absolute links and relative links continues to live on in the SEO world. The individual significance of each has been contested, but it is widely regarded that absolute links provide better overall SEO value than relative links. Here is why:
- Much less chance of having broken links when moving documents or pages
- Crawlers cannot mess up your site links
- The source code more often contains the full domain name
- Visitors will are more likely to bookmark your website since it is more recognizable
But first, let’s see what’s what.
Absolute links are there to show you the location of a document, for instance. It includes the clues such as the protocol needed for getting the document, the server to get it from, the directory where it is stored as well as the name of the document itself.
On the other hand, relative links have a slight starting advantage in the race, as the server already “knows” where the document is, and thus, the complete URL of the file is not necessary.
Many believe that absolute links have less potential for getting messed up when search engines index your page because some relative links can be missed by the crawlers. It shouldn’t really make a difference, but many conclude that this is reason enough to use absolute links whenever possible.
Furthermore, content scrapers and RSS services may “re-purpose” your content legitimately (or not). Should that happen, you would need absolute links in order to get back what is yours by attributing a proper backlink to your site.
Moreover, if you use relative links to your website page, the search engine may not recognize you as the domain owner and crawl over to the similar website address. This could lead to the drop in back linking and subsequently to losing search engine rankings to your competitor (which is not what you want).
Therefore, use absolute links over relative and be thorough in doing that. You can never be too diligent when it comes to your business, so do what you can to help it thrive.