It’s said that content is king. So what kingdom do you rule if you have the longest website URL in the world? And what SEO benefits do you get?
For years, companies have battled for the longest domain name. But since the web address limit is capped to 63 characters between the “www” and “.com”, they had to get creative.
This time, we’re breaking down the wild story behind the longest website URL in the world.
Then, we’ll see why these companies spent years vying for the title of longest domain. Plus, we’ll identify the SEO benefits in having the world's longest website URL.
THE WILD STORY BEHIND THE LONGEST WEBSITE URL
Let’s go back to 2002.
It was a big year. Nickleback released "How You Remind Me". Spider-Man dominated the box office (the Toby McGuire movie). And llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.co.uk won the title of the longest website URL in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.
Turns out, the website is actually part of a tourism campaign for a Welsh village.
The Village's long name translates to "Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave in English".
If you haven’t seen it, this long domain is straight out of the 90’s. Clip art is everywhere, though, it does support responsive design. Maybe the coolest feature is where you can submit sound bites of you trying to pronounce the village name.
But just because this website won the title for the longest domain doesn’t mean it didn't fight to keep it.
THE LONG DOMAIN FIGHT OF THE CENTURY:
Here’s a timeline:
2002 – The Welsh website earns title of longest website URL in the world from Guinness Book of Records.
2006 – 6 other people register the longest possible domain name in 2006. The Welsh website loses the longest url.
2007 – WalesOnline reports that the Welsh Website URL was upgraded to 68 characters when Keith Wood registered the domain, “www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochuchaf.eu”.
So the Welsh tourism website didn’t hold the title for long. Between 2002 and 2006, another domain had the longest URL. That is, until a Birmingham man, Keith Wood, expanded the Welsh website’s URL, and retook the title.
So who were those other six people?
Meet Gerad Steffens.
Gerad Steffens is a mathematician who channeled his love of pi by creating 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592.eu.
This website is interesting. Steffens’ blog covers all things pi related, from the mathematical number to Life of Pi (the movie).
Steffens didn’t stop there. He also purchased the domain for "thisisthelongesteuropeandomainnameallovertheworldandnowitismine.eu”.
Other contenders have cropped up over the years, like:
And just last year, Hotels.com registered “the longest URL in Internet History” as part of a marketing campaign.
Certainly not as original as the Welsh website or the Pi website, but still notable.
The real question is, why did these people compete for the longest URL?
WHY COMPETE FOR LONGEST URL?
Publicity. They did it for publicity.
In the Welsh website’s case, they did it to boost tourism. Local councillor John Roberts said "It's just another way of getting more publicity for the village and hopefully some benefit will come of it.”
I’m sure the Guinness Book of Records was a nice bonus, too.
Whether this is part of a marketing strategy, as seen on Hotels.com, or simply a good-ol’-fashioned attempt at going viral on the internet, people fight over the longest URL in the world.
But what’s the SEO benefit in long URLs?
Here’s where we pivot from pop culture to marketing strategy and SEO. So, is there a SEO benefit to having the longest URL in the world?
ARE THERE SEO BENEFITS TO LONG DOMAINS?
Yes and no.
Things have changed since 2002. Google constantly updates their search algorithm. And the algorithm’s only improved since 2002.
If you want to see what changed in Google’s search algorithm, and how it affects your website ranking, I wrote an entire guide for that. For now, just know that Content is King.
By that, we mean that website ranking (and your ability to show up in search results) is primarily determined by the quality of content (among other things).
Why? Because good content gets returning website users. It gets more social media shares. It might even get other blogs writing about you (like this one).
And if we look back at all those “longest website urls”, it’s safe to say that the Pi website has the best content. The concept, the pi blog that bounces between mathematical pi and edible pies – it’s all engaging, authoritative and informative.
Here's the deal. Content will always be king. But there's still SEO benefits to the type of domain you use for your website.
Think about all the domain extensions. There's .com's, .nets, .govs, and many more like it. These are top-level domains. And top-level domains bring the best "SEO juice". According to Google, all top-level domains receive equal treatment in Google Rankings. Here's a list of all the top-level domains available.
46% of websites use the .com TLD. It's so popular, that you might have trouble purchasing the exact domain you're searching for. So if you're thinking of switching domains, or vying for the longest domain for your company, keep this in mind.
However, there are some benefits websites without TLDs. Local domain extensions, like 'co.uk' can actually lead to more clicks for people in the Geo region. You're also more likely to rank higher in local search results, like "marketing agencies near me."
Let's put a bow on this SEO and domain discussion. Top-level domains will most-often be your best bet for SEO. This can change if you're looking to boost your local search performance. Just remember to register your location in Google My Business to make the most of your local search engine ranking.
The moral of the story? If you want to attract viewers, write good content, have a good concept and be original.
Or, if you’re late to the game, be like Hotels.com and repurpose a trend for your own marketing strategies.