Google Shortener and SEO

With the demand for URL shorteners like bit.ly/, is.gd/, tinyurl.com/ and a host of others, it was only a matter of time before Google entered the fray with their own version. They have done so with goo.gl/. The purpose, of course, is to condense long URLs into bite-size, or more importantly, Twitter-sized, links.

The services are often used by those who want to link to websites on social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Tweets, for instance, must be 140 characters: a very condensed URL allows you to get your message out and provide a working link. Will Google’s new URL shortener have any effect on SEO campaigns?

Goo.gl is a tremendously accessible tool: consisting only of a text box and a “shorten” button, users only need to enter in the web address they’d like to condense, and it is put into the goo.gl URL and followed by a unique combination of four letters and numbers. The need for shorteners is obvious as some URLs exceed the 140 character limit set by Twitter and are too long for status updates on other networking sites. This is all Google wants to do this with particular service. Muthu Muthusrinivasan, Google software engineer, says, “We don’t intend to overload goo.gl with features, but we do want it to be the stablest, most secure, and fastest URL shortener on the web. With goo.gl, every time you shorten a URL, you know it will work, it will work fast, and it will keep working.”

This should enhance SEO campaigns as social media becomes a more prominent factor in the optimisation equation. According to Matt Cutts, goo.gl uses the 301 redirect to bring visitors to their destination. The click-throughs, he said, could benefit the end website. Among other possibilities:

·         Google will be able to see what’s trending and use the data for ranking. Instead of concentrating on the anchor test, Google would look at possible trends based on URL sharing.

·         PageRank may be refined to include social media and trending topics and ranking pages on a more social basis.

·         While you shorten, Google will gather data.  SearchEngineWatch compares goo.gl to Facebook’s “Like” button.  Every time you shorten a URL, you are, in essence, “liking” it and Google can use the data to determine trends and demographic information.

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