Will New Twitter Shortener Affect SEO Efforts?

URLs can be up to hundreds of characters long, which obviously makes them impossible for people to enter in manually. But it also makes it difficult to attach in emails or on sites like Twitter, where you get 140 characters. Those wishing to include a link on this particular microblogging site need to include their message and URL in that small space. A URL shortener does just that: it shortens the web address so it can fit within the confines of your tweet. The tremendously popular Twitter is set to introduce a new shortener to users this summer.

t.co, the new shortener, will automatically cut URLs down to size. An excellent feature of t.co is that your link will count for only 20 characters, which is the length of the shortened URL, instead of the length of the actual URL to which you are linking. According to Twitter’s official blog:

“When this is rolled out more broadly to users this summer, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL. A really long link such as www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title. Ultimately, we want to display links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened link and lets you know where a link will take you.

Other benefits of the shortener:

• Decreased spam and phishing because users will be able to see where the URLs actually go. Twitter also checks the links against a list of potentially dangerous or malicious sites. If there is a match, users will be warned.
• Make the Promoted Tweets platform more efficient and effective.
• Easier sharing of links with other users.

In terms of SEO, some experts are concerned that this may result in more 301 redirects, causing a more sluggish response by search engines. Whether this will become an issue remains to be seen, but tweets will be more clean, safe, and user-friendly.

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