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Relative Vs Absolute links



5:20 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

For technical reasons I've converted a clients links fron relative ones (/images) to absolute ones (www.site-etc/images/)

Can anyone foresee a drawback in doing this? (in terms of page loading times).

It then occurred to me that this might affect SERPs.

Has anyone any opinions regarding load times and SERPs?

SEO practioner

5:48 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi web manager

It's always better to have a link text (www.yoursite.com/widgets.htm) than to have an image
link point to it. I always use text links.

As far as load times are concerned, they have nothing to do with it. The smaller the image, the less it will take time to load. For that, use .GIF's, they load faster and are
smaller on the server.

Hope that helps

:-) SEO


5:55 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well it can add some bloat to your code if you have alot of links but it should not matter to the engines.


6:01 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

On a related but slightly different topic, am not sure if it helps... using serverside include, eg <?php include();?> with absolute paths to locations on your server will up your bandwidth bills as your host counts the request for the file to include and the request to take the master page, including that file...


6:03 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's Brett's old post on this issue:


One question I would pose: don't absolute links call an additional DNS lookup for each internal webpage the user selects, thus slowing down their browsing of your website? Plus the bloated code...


6:06 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Some dim distant memory is nagging that 'full' links may be impacted slightly in terms of load time if a DNS lookup needs to be done each time.

Someone will now tell me that I'm wrong, which would be par for the course anyways.


6:07 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Damn, that canuck post wasn't there when I started typing. But hey, maybe I'm right after all.


6:15 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


If I understand your question you are asking whether relative urls vs. absolute urls for a giving page affect load times? Is this correct...if so I think the effect would be negligible...as for how this would affect the SERPs...I don't see how it could affect the SERPs at all since this is just call to all the links on a particular page in order to bring in all the elements that make up that page...absolute vs. relative achieves the same thing..

The benefit to absolute urls is that you are now referencing the absolute position of the resource in question in relation to your directory tree (be it flat file or database...

And you will never have the problem of making the mistake of leaving out the necessary "/" before a file name when using relative url referencing which then means that a url string will not resolve properly from the inner pages of a site back to the root..

From the spiders perspective they now see a full domain reference for each link they encounter and my belief (and experience) is that this is beneficial...

Now, if you were referring to just the fact that you had to rename your "/images/..." calls from relative to absolute will this mean that everytime an image is called in for a particular page (and some pages of course can have many image calls) will this affect your page loading times? Well these events happen in milliseconds so if in fact you had several hundred images to call in for a particular page (why would anyone call in several hundred images per page I do not know)..then you might see a slight degrade in load times....



6:25 pm on Apr 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Seems like the DNS/IP should be cached?


8:09 am on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many thanks for the opinions - I suspected it wouldn't make much difference - Brett seems to be a positive fan of abs refs according to the link.

The points about DNS lookup are interesting. What I was most concerned about was whether browser caches would be affected in any way - I wouldn't want images to be reloaded unnecessarily. Any thoughts?


8:37 am on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you use absolute URLs, when you ask for a link to your site and someonen instead outs your site in their frame, you will at least get credit for the link from the frame. Of course, you don't need to change everything, just put an absolute link from your homepage to your homepage. Heck, I think you could even hide that one. Probably doesn't answer your questions at all but I hate it when people put my work on their site.


8:57 am on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

On IIS (I assume similar on apache etc)

From an page inside the directory /images/ on the domain www.widgets.com


would result in an almost identical performance hit, (with the exception of a slight bloat in code for the client)

The only problem is if you were to permananently redirect at the server side!


where /images/ redirects to [someimagedomain.com...]

This is a massive hit on your server, if this is your intention you should use the full destination in the output html eg:


which is fine for your server (no activity), and normal for the image server.


7:09 pm on Apr 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Everyone seems to have answered the question but I'll throw my two cents in.

I'd stick with absolute links just for the load time savings alone (reduced code).

On a site I'm currently working we're utilizing both absolute and relative links. Depends on how you use links and objects in general. For instance, I would be more likely to use a relative link as the source for an image then I would be to link to a page (I'd use relative for things like images, scripts, etc. but would think about linking to pages a little differently). This holds true if you have a keyword+keyword type URL. You'd want to use those keywords whereever possible regardless of whether or not it actually helped (because some day it might).


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