URL shortening services like “goo.gl” and “bit.ly.” are marking their prominence in the search world with the uprise of the social web, and most especially on micro-blogging services like Twitter.
In the past, these URL’s have drawn little concern for search engine optimizers, because Twitter and other social pages were almost never included in the SERP’s. However, times have changed and Google now indexes these sites so their content is being included in the SERP’s.
While most companies frequently place shortened URLs on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to promote their site, online marketers have become increasingly concerned with how search engines (namely Google) would treat these short URL’s in terms of PageRank. Specifically – will custom URL shorteners be looked at as providing anchor text on links?
Matt Cutts recently addressed this issue in one of his famous Webmaster Help videos. He said that custom URL links will be treated the same (like any other URL) and he also confirmed that there is no negative impact on a company’s search engine optimisation. Here is an excerpt from the video:
If we try to crawl a page, and we see a 301 or permanent redirect, which pretty much all well-behaved URL shorteners, like bit.ly or goo.gl, will do, if we see that 301, then that will pass PageRank to the final destination.
So, in general, there really shouldn’t be any harm to using custom URL shorteners in your SEO. The PageRank will flow through, the anchor text will flow through and so I wouldn’t necessarily worry about that at all.
However, Cutts added that Twitter links may be processed and ranked a little differently as the links on Twitter’s web pages are usually no-follow links and may not necessarily be considered for PageRank. However, this doesn’t automatically make these links irrelevant – Google will still find the webpage as it is processed through other channels like a data feed instead.
Matt shares additional details on this issue in the video below. Its well worth a watch, after all it will only take up 1 minute and 26 seconds of your time.
Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.