Can URL Shortening Hurt SEO?
The SEO sphere is constantly changing, and as an entrepreneur, you need to adopt the current trends to ensure that your rankings aren’t negatively affected. Content has a significant impact on your SEO; therefore, it is prudent that you don’t miss great opportunities that help you share it efficiently. One of the recent changes in SEO is URL shorteners.
URL shorteners can be referred to as online applications that take long URLs and transform them into short, manageable links that don’t exceed 20 characters.
Surprisingly, URL shorteners are not new. Content strategists have used them for a considerable amount of time. Their prominence has increased because of the growth of the social web, mainly micro-blogging platforms, such as Twitter.
Why Use URL Shorteners?
Most social platforms, such as Twitter, have a character limit to encourage people to be relevant and concise when posting a tweet. Search engine optimisers use URL shorteners to reduce characters in a link to an acceptable number. Additionally, it allows a company to brand a URL so that readers can know the information is authentic and was shared by a particular brand or company.
How Do URL Shorteners Work?
A URL shortener is a web-based tool in layman’s language that shortens a link by utilising a redirect. It transforms the original long link into a shorter link. You can then share or publish the shortened link on blogs, social media, and various web properties.
When a user clicks the short link, they will be redirected to the long, original link. Optimisers run a link through a URL shortener to create a unique link using the service’s domain.
Popular URL shorteners include:
Why Should You Use A URL Shortener?
Here are some of the reasons why you need to use URL shorteners.
1. They Come In Handy When Sharing Content
As said earlier, most social media platforms have a character limit so that posts can be concise and offer real value. That said, a URL shortener can make your posts more relevant instead of having a tweet with a long URL. It is also possible to customize a URL to enable users to know whether a brand or company has shared content.
2. Traffic Monitors Can accompany URL Shorteners
Some URL shorteners allow you to monitor the behavior of your content and how users react to it. Bitly, for example, allows optimizers to monitor the sharing activities of their tweet/post over a specified period.
However, it is essential to ensure that URL shorteners do not hurt your SEO. The more your post gets shared by people, the better. If you need some help finding the best ways to do this, see my SEO services.
3. For Aesthetic Appeal
Besides helping you reach the required characters in a link, URL shorteners make an URL look prettier, especially when sharing content on social media. URL shorteners are also helpful when producing other types of content, such as an infographic or a print ad, and you want to add your link appealingly.
Furthermore, if your users view your content via a smartphone, they will enjoy an exceptional user experience if they see a shorter URL.
The Effect of URL Shorteners On SEO
Contrary to what most people think, URL shorteners have no adverse effects on SEO. According to a former Google employee, Google treats shortened links as typical 301 redirects. Other search engines pass these short links through their link equity. When scanning the authenticity of a link, search engines award the page to the original link.
301 redirects are mainly used to change the location of a web page. For instance, if you want to move a web page to another location on your website, you can take advantage of 301 redirects to keep the page’s search ranking.
Link Shortening Hacks for Better SEO
Now that we have elaborated on why URL shortening won’t hurt your SEO efforts let’s talk about how they can help. Here is what you should do for better optimization.
- Avoid Unnecessary Characters And ‘Stop’ Words
It should only take a glance at an URL to tell what a page is all about. When the URL is long, it’s difficult to tell what the page is all about. Thus, it is essential to eliminate unnecessary characters, including some punctuation and stop words.
Stop words are words that don’t add any value to a link. Examples of stop words are “for,” “and,” and “the.”
Besides, most punctuations are unnecessary in a link. Although incorporating commas, quotation marks, and parentheses in page titles and meta descriptions doesn’t harm, including them in URLs can confuse and distract users.
On the flip side, hyphens are exempted from unnecessary elements as they separate words and enhance readability. While some people prefer interchanging hyphens and underscores, it’s good to note that Google considers underscores as word joiners rather than separators.
2. Align Your URLs with Page Titles
Maintain consistency in your online marketing for outstanding results. One practice to adopt is to align your URLs with page titles. When internet crawlers index your pages, it’s essential that the page’s content is relatable to its URL.
In addition to keeping the content of your titles, keywords, and permalinks consistent, it’s advisable to apply the same structure for every permalink.
On top of helping search engines, matching URLs with titles lets users know where a link is directed and what the page features, hence building trust.
3. Brand Links Using Keywords
There is no doubt that keywords play a crucial role when it comes to SEO. Therefore, including them in your URL is essential. Also, you can create brand links and utilise vanity URLs to optimize the links for certain keywords. One way to do this is by using a links plugin.
A vanity URL can be used as a branded link. Besides, plugins incorporate a feature to tailor and optimize slugs so that you can include them in other target keywords.
The idea that link shortening hampers SEO is a fallacy that you shouldn’t subscribe to. URL shortening gives you a chance to gain a competitive edge. It also helps you keep your links relevant, memorable and straightforward. Need some help with this? Get in touch.