You’ve seen those pesky URL shorteners. They’re usually a normal URL (yourbrand.com) followed by a string of unintelligible characters. They may also be characterized by a short phrase such as yourbrand.com/URL-shortener. Another version involves a third-party site like tinyurl.com or bit.ly. The primary domain is followed by a strnig of unintelligible characters such as tinyurl.com/h3co2y, or by a short phrase like tinyurl.com/ULRshortener. Are these good?
There are benefits to using URL shorteners. Here are a few:
- Short URLs encourage more click throughs
- Shorter URLs also get shared more often
- Short URLs are more likely to get linked to since they are shared more often
- Short URLs can be tweeted and retweeted
- If done correctly, they can pass PageRank
So what’s that mean, “if done correctly.” In short (pardon the pun), it means you must use a 301 redirect as opposed to a 302 redirect.
A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect and it doesn’t pass PageRank. A 301 redirect (a permanent redirect), on the other hand, does pass PageRank. That means you’ll benefit a whole lot more over the long term with a 301 redirected short URL.
If you plan to use a third-party URL shortener like tinyurl or bit.ly then you need to make sure they use a 301 redirect. Otherwise, the service won’t benefit you a great deal. Any inbound links the short URL attracts will not help your SEO efforts.