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Shortened links and SEO

URL Shorteners are one the most popular free tools bloggers use today.  There are benefits to using URL shorteners.

  • Shortened links are convenient to use and are required on site like Twitter where characters are restricted;
  • Shortened links can be tweeted and retweeted may be shared more often;
  • If they are 301 re-directs they can pass PageRank.

There are also concerns that center on the longevity of shortened links services and on security issues as we do not know what may be lurking at the end of a shortened link. It could be a phishing site, malware  site,  or could cloaking affiliates.  Without doubt  they assist spammers to do their dirty business, undermine googlejuice, and expose users to security vulnerabilities.

To extend our knowledge of shortened URLs commenced in Link Shorteners: The Short Version  I’d like to draw attention to what Chris Crum reports on passing of PageRank and anchor text:

This isn’t completely new information, but it still seems to be a topic that continues to come up fairly regularly. Google’s Matt Cutts addressed the issue in a video posted to Google’s Webmaster Help YouTube channel. — URL Shorteners and SEO, According to Google

Do URL shorteners pass anchor text?

“Custom URL shorteners are essentially just like any other redirects,” he explains. “If we try to crawl a page, and we see a 301 or permanent redirect, which pretty much all well-behaved URL shorteners (like or will do, if we see that 301 then that will pass PageRank to the final destination.” — Matt Cutts

However, Twitter’s Web pages have a “no follow” tag – which means that anyways pagerank does not pass through.

Read also: Quality links to your Site

10 thoughts on “Shortened links and SEO

  1. Hello, timethief. This looks like as good a place as any to give you a heads up that you’ve been “Touch”-ed with a blog award link at my blogcasa. Thank you for all the help you provide bloggers all the time.

  2. Thank you for posting this confirmation. The fact that short links can pass pagerank is part of what encouraged me to make my own link shortener.

    • Do your shortened links pass pagerank? Where do you use them? It seems the use of the “like” buttons and “tweets” is replacing backlinks and now we have shortened links being copied and pasted from tweets into posts and those Twitter shortlinks do not pass pagerank.

      • The link shortener I use does pass pagerank.

        I use the shortener for a fairly narrow range of destinations. I don’t know what benefit I am reaping from using it, but one thing I have learned is that Twitter doesn’t like shorteners.

        That is to say that if I tweet using my custom link shortener, Twitter converts the short link again to its own link shortened URL. I think the technology behind that is pretty cute because it has to recognise that it is a shortened link and then shorten it.

        • Hi David,
          Thanks for sharing that information. It’s very interesting that the Twitter software is set up to apprehend and substitute shortened links when they aren’t bitly links. What that involves is two 301 redirects for the same original link. I assume this has something to do with the fact that bitly shoretned links don’t pass pagerank.

  3. As mentioned on your other article (Link Shorteners: The Short Version), I still prefer to use my own URL shortener. Those who actually clicks those links (via Twitter, FB, email, etc) have confidence before making the decision to click. :)

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