Do URL Shorteners Affect SEO Efforts?

We all know that you have to get other websites linking to yours in order to gain that little bit of love from Google. Those links are even better if the link text has your keywords in it (sometimes). So what happens when those links are shortened by URL shorteners, which have neither keywords nor a full URL to your business and product pages?

What Are URL Shorteners Anyway?

If you use Twitter then you’ll notice when you paste a link, that the link changes but it still points to the correct website. Have a look at this post as an example:

URL Shortner

What Does a Short Link Link To?

Twitter URL shortener

You can see that the link is displayed as hub.am/12dTh4y. However when you click the link, it takes you to this page https://socialmediatoday.com/socialbarrel/1582511/google-why-bloggers-need-it-so-badly

Track The Results of Your Marketing Efforts with URL Shorteners

Some services such as Twitter will automatically shorten your URLs. However there are some instances where it can be beneficial for you to use a particular URL Shortener service because of the fabulous extra features they offer. We all know that we have to track the results of our marketing efforts, otherwise we’re just shooting in the dark with no real idea of where we’re going.

The great news is that you can easily track detailed results of your Twitter and Facebook (and other) marketing efforts. By using shortened URLs created by a service such as Bitly.com, you also get detailed link tracking statistics as shown below. Other statistics which are available include geographical location of those clicks, how many times the link was shared etc.

Bitly Link Tracking

Source: bitly.com

The Effects of URL Shorteners on SEO Efforts

There are mixed opinions from SEO experts as to whether such shortened URLs can have an adverse affect on your SEO efforts. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, released a video post about this very subject (Video: Do URL shorteners pass anchor text?) in which he mentions that these shortened URLs are no different to any other form of 301 redirect.  He even says that they receive the same amount of page rank value as normal URLs which basically means that if you’re still making an effort to include your keywords in your URLs that this still earns you a few SEO points.

Matt Cutts does suggest checking to see whether those incoming links are ‘do-follow’ or ‘no-follow’.  No follow links like those on Twitter will not give you as much SEO link love as much as a do-follow link will. However the consensus here is that as far as shortened URLs are concerned, there is no harm in using them in place of standard, long URLs.

Nina Young About the author

I studied mathematics at university, taught myself software development, honed my skills with multinational companies such as IBM and have set up and sold my own businesses. My perspective covers the all important period when a business moves from small and successful to substantial and market-leading, and my personal experience allows me to provide online solutions that give business leaders mastery of their online presence and control over business development.

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