Recently, these happened to me, I wrote my regular weekly newsletter and posted it on my site. Since this is a longer WordPress URL , like countless other webmasters, I used a URL shortening service to create this link more usable and manageable.
I posted this shortened URL to Twitter and placed it in my own weekly email posting… immediately I began getting emails from my subscribers and followers… the hyperlink doesn’t work, you must have made a mistake.
Which can be easily done, however when I checked the hyperlink, I discovered that the shortening service was not working properly and giving the dreaded “Page Not Found” response. To compound the issue, I was using the Google URL shortener Goo.gl and since it was Google everyone assumed the mistake was on my part. After all Google is Google.
Before, I have been using bit.ly but had switched to Goo.gl, well – because it’s Google. And everything works better with Google; this is the very first time something I combined with Google had not worked as planned. And it really wasn’t my links, none of the links with Goo.gl were working. No big loss, unless you’re linking your Black Friday & Cyber Monday traffic through these shorteners. Ouch.
But this raises the complete question of whether you need to use a link shortener?
A URL link shortener works by redirecting your shorter link to the longer one you’ve entered within their database. If this can be a permanent 301 redirect, then your SEO benefits should pass to your longer link. No harm done bit.ly alternative. But if the shortening service uses a 302 temporary link then SEO isn’t passed to your longer link since the search engines only read this link as temporary.
All the most effective URL shorteners such as tinyurl, bit.ly and goo.gl uses 301 redirects so they’re SEO friendly, if they’re working!
Using this SEO perspective, there’s no reason not to make use of these shortening services, besides they are good for sharing links and getting your links out there.
I only started using those link shorteners as a result of Twitter which only provides you with 140 characters to create your point. These shorteners are also great for sharing and spreading your links round the web. However, in one way employing a URL shortener is not a smart marketing move because you’re quitting control of your link, putting it in someone else’s hands, in cases like this Google’s.
When it goes down, or they decide to not link to your content for reasons uknown, you’re in trouble. Same goes for bit.ly, they’re in control of your links. Maybe it doesn’t count so much if it’s a broad link, but if you a have an affiliate link in there, you can’t change or alter it.
Or perhaps imagine, you’ve 10’s, even 100’s of 1000s of these shortened links spread all over the web, bringing valuable SEO PR back once again to your site. Suddenly the service or company goes under and all of your links disappear on the internet overnight.
Web services and sites go bankrupt or change directions all the time, so the aforementioned scenario isn’t from the question. If you’re using and depending on these shortening services to provide both traffic and SEO to your internet site, then you should ask yourself.
Is this really a clever move?
Among the unwritten rules of Internet Marketing, always control your links and route them during your own domain which you control. Especially if you place these links into viral ebooks, articles, videos… be sure you are linking via a URL on your own site. In this way you can easily alter the hyperlink if anything changes.
By utilizing these URL shorteners , even one run by Google, you truly are quitting control of your links. Granted, Google and Goo.gl will likely be around for the foreseeable future and until last week I didn’t hesitate to make use of their shortening service. Now I’m not too sure about employing their service and question my usage of any of these shortening services in general, despite all the truly amazing benefits they provide your online marketing.
Should you choose use one of these brilliant URL shorteners , be sure you completely check out the service and its history before you start using it. Actually, if you’re going to make use of these shorteners , it may possibly be advisable to make use of three or four of them so that all your eggs/links won’t all be in the main one basket. Better safe than sorry.Read More