Be very careful when choosing which url shortening service to use.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) URL Importance for Social Media Linking

We have probably all used a url shortening service like bit.ly goo.gltinyurl.com or tiny.cc , however using the wrong one can seriously affect your SEO rankings.

Over the last couple of years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of firms offering URL shortening services. Reducing the length of links, however, does come with it’s risks as well as it’s benefits.

Let’s look at the benefits first

  1. They are shorter and can fit into the limited character status bar
  2. That fact that only 140 characters can be posted in a Twitter post- or Tweet, so if a URL has only 10 characters, there are 130 characters left for Tweet updates
  3. They are easier to type and are less prone to typing errors.
  4. They usually come with some kind of tracking analysis (especially bit.ly and goo.gl)

Now let’s look at the problems:

  1. The link is to the shortening service and not your site, so effectively the backlink goes elsewhere.
  2. The text in the backlinks built to that particular URL are directly related to its ranking in search engines
  3. If backlinks are being built to a shortened URL and not the real URL, the impact of your Twitter efforts could be significantly diminished.
How do they work – it’s going to get a bit technical here.

Some of the shortening services employ a 302 (temporary) redirection – which doesn’t not pass any value to the destination.

Some employ a 301 (permanent) redirection which will pass the full value.

Yet others require an additional click on a link to get to the destination., and in that case, there may be a rel="nofollow" in that link or a robots "nofollow" meta tag on the page. You will have to check it.

So, how do you get over this – eat your cake and have it! A: choose your service carefully.

You are looking for services that use a 301 (permanent) redirect
 
I strongly recommend that you check each of the shortened link services to check their response in a tool like web-sniffer.net to see which is best to use for your purpose.
 
The good news:

I know however (from having tested) that the following use 301 redirects

http://goo.gl
http://bit.ly

However, if you look at the HTML source of Twitter pages, the links in tweets have rel="nofollow"

In summary – unless you know for a fact that your shortening service is using a 301 redirect, only use shortened urls for ease of access.

BEWARE TWITTER!

Unfirtunately, even if you use a service that uses 301 redirects, when you post to twitter, or twitter uses bit.ly’s service to shorten url’s automatically,  Twitter it insert’s ‘ rel="nofollow"  into ALL of the links it displays.

So – the Golden Rule should be: Consider using shortening services for ease of accessibility and do not rely on them when establishing backlinks.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Tips

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!