URL Shorteners Are Powerful Link Building Tools and Pass Pagerank

compress links As social media continues to factor more and more on the web, webmasters need to keep an eye on how new trends and/or developments such as URL shorteners affect SEO rankings. For these useful tools, at least, URL shorteners have been integrated into sites without any drawbacks – really without much difference at all in how search engines value the links.

To Google, custom URL shorteners are basically viewed as general redirects and the PageRank comes through just like a regular 301 or permanent redirect, so there isn’t any downside for SEO. As Matt Cutts of Google says in a video posted on their Webmaster Help YouTube Channel, “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.”

He adds that since the PageRank and anchor text will flow through, there shouldn’t be any harm to using custom URL shorteners in SEO.

There are some nuances, of course, such as Twitter webpages that have a nofollow link, that might require other ways for Google to find out about the link. As he puts it, “Now, just to let you know, if you look at, for example, Twitter’s web pages, many of those links have a nofollow link, so those links that are on the webpage, may not necessarily flow PageRank. But we might be able to find out about those links through some other way, maybe a data feed or something like that. But just URL shorteners, as far as how they relate to SEO, are not necessarily a problem at all.”

The bottom line is that URL shorteners are a powerful way to build links and support SEO. “The vast majority of well-behaved URL shorteners have good uptime, and also pass PageRank and anchor text because they use a 301 redirect,” concludes Matt Cutts.

Google has just evolved their own shortener, goo.gl, with several new features to improve its ease of use and performance.

Here is the full version of Google’s Matt Cutts talking about custom URL shorteners on their Webmaster Help YouTube channel:

URL Shortener Options

  • www.h38.com – very cool, this our custom shortener. If you would like to have the source code just ask us.
  • bit.ly and j.mp – the grandaddys of URL shorteners, now owned by Twitter. They have great tracking tools.
  • goo.gl – Google’s new shortener, we have not tested it but it should work well
  • is.gd
  • tinyurl.com – This was the original URL shortener, although it is rarely used anymore. Sad story from a top 100 web 1.0 website.

We still believe that you should get quality links from unfiltered sources, and not rely solely on 3rd party services for your linkbuilding URL’s.


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18 Responses

  1. I tried to use SEO friendly rewriting in the manner in which you have presented this and had difficulty getting my script to run.

  2. URL shorteners are bailing me out of this particular problem of having too many offsite links to manage.

  3. Hi, i think that i noticed you visited my website thus i came to go back the want to use URL shorteners to our SEO benefit.

  4. Nice weblog right here! Additionally your web site lots up fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink for your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol.

  5. I agree, 301 Redirect is the deciding factor when choosing a URL shortener.

    I recently decided to use HootSuite and it’s default is Ow.ly – Question: Does Ow.ly pass Link juice with a permanent/ 301 Redirect?

    1. @Jim I prefer to use my own shortener, so I have full control of the links. It also lets me see the exact click stats. After posting a link on twitter, it is immediately hit by 20+ bots, scrapers and search engines!

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