URL Shorteners and SEO, According to Google

Matt Cutts: The PageRank Will Flow Through

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URL Shorteners and SEO, According to Google
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With Google looking more at social media these days, in terms of ranking signals, a lot of webmasters continue to wonder how Google treats URL-shorteners in terms of SEO.

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.

“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 bit.ly or goo.gl) will do, if we see that 301 then that will pass PageRank to the final destination.”

“So in general, there really shouldn’t be any harm to using custom URL shorteners in your SEO,” he continues. “The PageRank will flow through. The anchor text will flow through, and so I wouldn’t necessarily worry about that at all.”

“Now, just to let you know, if you look at, for example, Twitter’s web pages, many of those links have a nofollow link,” he adds. “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.”

When we spoke with Gil Reich of Answers.com at SMX Advanced last summer, he suggested using shorteners that let you get keywords in the URLs.




Google actually updated its own URL shortener, goo.gl, with some new features this past week. New features include: copy to clipboard, remove from dashboard, spam reporting, and improvements in speed and stability.

“Even as we add features, we continue to focus on making goo.gl one of the fastest and most reliable URL shorteners on the web,” said Google software engineer Devin Mullins. “We’ll continue working hard to ensure that we add minimal latency to the user experience and extend our track record of rock-solid reliability—we’ve had no service outages since we launched last September.”

Anything to add to the URL-shortener/SEO conversation? Comment here.

URL Shorteners and SEO, According to Google
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  • http://www.azkmedia.net best affiliate network

    hey that’s a really nice post. but i want to know more about SEO. thanks

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  • http://searchtempo.com JohnH

    Great information. I always wondered about tinyurl and PageRank.

  • Sam

    I seriously recommend everybody to ignore anything this man has to say. Do the opposite of what he always recommend or nothing and you’ll do much better. Talking from experience. The man has contradicted himself so many times I don’t know why he is still working there really. His job is to confuse webmasters to keep them at bay in my opinion. Look at the Panda victims, all following the rules. Take my advice and don’t listen. It is obvious the man doesn’t know every single detail of the work the team of coders are actually doing.

    • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

      Sam wrote: “The man has contradicted himself so many times I don’t know why he is still working there really. ”

      Really? Can you give us a for instance?

      • Sam

        Way too many times Michael. Meaning, he tries to keep people from doing one thing and then you see sites at the top by doing the opposite. For example the reciprocal linking BS and millions of other 1995 blackhat tricks work wonders these days. I haven’t paid attention to anything he has had to say for awhile now. Peeking for a couple minutes in Blackhatworld where I have a HUGE following, you’ll see enough evidence from users that shows this man is full of hot air. I mean, study the man. He has the answer for every Seo trick question that is thrown at him. He BS his way through with every answer. He doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about most of the time. It’s common sense; he doesn’t know everything his team is doing. He is the Bagdad Bob of Google. Loves the attention.

        I’ve never been affected by Panda or any of their algo. changes. That’s what I’ve always done, blackhat, the opposite of what he recommends.

        • Sam

          “1999” blackhat tricks I meant. I was thinking of eBay for some reason.

      • THE MAN


    • http://www.absolutewebworks.com/ Jesse

      Wow this is an interesting reply. By blackhat, are you talking about techniques that have little risk of being banned? I use known tricks on my own sites. Maybe what I do would be considered grey hat.

      • http://guideforwebsite.wordpress.com eli

        No, by blackhat he means that you have a high risk of getting banned. Blackhat is bad.

    • http://onlinetrafficwizard.com Bluestar

      That is simply not true.

  • http://www.myrisedesign.net Taylor Clark

    Just because the blackhat tricks work, does not mean that this author is wrong, or full of hot air for that matter.

    Perhaps he, like many of us, appreciate SEO without tricking the system. Its difficult enough as it is to do things the right way, the more tricks people pull, the more changes they will make over time. Just a thought.

  • http://www.bs.com BS

    Thank you for this great blog. BS96

  • http://www.cheap-ralph-lauren.com cheap ralph lauren

    If in this way,I think there would be many black hat seoer ,they can just make the main domain name 301 redirect to the new page? And rank will be transfer to the new domains?

  • http://webhostingreview.info/green-hosting/ smith

    great helpful info you have shared

  • http://www.loginbd.com Web Directory

    URL Shorteners is significant for SEO.Great article.Thnaks .

  • http://www.askbangladesh.com Mahi

    Thanks sharing….great information

  • http://www.weballways.com Lily Candice

    Now, this information will insist to make short url’s for webmasters.

  • http://freeradiofm.blogspot.com/ Free Radio Fm

    That is good Post..Really I Love SEO

  • http://www.longislandrealestatelady.com Jackie Connelly-Fornuff

    I use them for my blogs. Activerain.com supplies it for us and we can copy and paste that into facebook and twitter. It’s good to see how many clicks I get from the URL I pasted into FB and twitter.

  • http://techgyo.com Sreejesh@techgyo

    I was little bit worried about using URL shortners when it comes to SEO, its really good to know that it doesn’t harm the link flow.

  • http://www.elainequinn.com Diet For Weight Loss

    Thank you for this excellent post that has helped clear up an issue for me. I’ll make sure of sharing it on twitter.

  • http://www.web-media.co.uk Rob Willox | SEO Falkirk

    Regardless of what anyone says if the shortening service you are using doesn’t do a 301 redirect then change to one that does. I use my own 3rd party service which was changed to do a 301 and it also enables aliases (keywords) to be used as link text as well.

    Posted about the very same thing earlier this month entitled Google: Short Urls are fine for SEO! with the Matt Cutts video.

  • http://www.naturostudy.org Naturopathy

    I use Zonealarm security suite and am unable to access any URLs shortened with snipurl and tinyurl – they are flagged up as spy sites. Bit.ly works fine.

  • http://www.marketingtoolguide.com Titus

    SEO stuff seems right but that last statement was incorrect. I started using the Google URL Shortner as soon as it was launched. Ha – it’s from Google!

    But a few months back – one of my URLs threw up a “Page Not Found” killjoy… just after I sent the shortened URL in a Twitter Post and in an email to my lists.

    And yes I checked everything – about five times and it still wasn’t working… and yes the URL was working right when I created it – the service wasn’t down but it wasn’t working correctly. I noticed because it was one of the few things from Google that didn’t work as planned. I went back to bit.ly for my URLS.

    I am gradually weaning my way back to Goo.gl because, well, it’s from Google!

    • http://www.webdesigndevelopers.co.nz Pen

      I had the same experience when I checked one of my Google shortened links later, so I reverted back to bit.ly.

      I inititially changed to Goo.gl because it was Google, but think I’ll be sticking with bit.ly from now on.

  • http://www.sahelmarketing.com SEO Expert SF Bay Area

    That’s reassuring for SEO purpose.

  • http://www.webartistuk.com Ecommerce web design

    Well this is nice to know, infact i didnt even know up until now that it was a fact that you will get page rank from the links. I fought it was just a myth but now it is confirmed so thats good to know…

  • http://ultimatemarketingstrategies.net Peter Sundstrom

    I generally always use bit.ly, but I do try to customise the URL to include my keyword.

  • http://www.airclimatise.info/climatiseur Climatiseur

    Wonder if using goo.gl instead of bit.ly gives a better page rank and more juice…

  • http://earnonlinebloggingtips.com Dan

    It’s great to get up to date information on the ever changing SEO tactic’s and to keep up with Google’s fickle personality. Great blogging tips as well. Building blogs that rank well with Google takes time and dedication on our part, thank you for your help to do just that!


  • Guillaume Bouchard

    Are you guys ever going to delete all the comment spamming on WebProNews? Roughly 50% of all comments I read are 1. Useless 2. With a targeted spammy anchor..

    Its not like its bringing anything to the conversation and you guys are no editors if you let that happen.

    • http://taiwansecrets.com Taiwanese Secrets

      I believe that is an unfair characterization of what happens on this board.

      • http://onlinetrafficwizard.com Bluestar

        I agree with you Taiwanese Secrets.

        Most have much more spam. Guillaume Bouchard, do you have any idea how hard it is to follow up on ALL the comments? The site is good and relitaively clean. good job.
        From experience URL shortners do not effect my SEO. OH, and I DARE ANYONE using blackhat garbage to rank high on Google. And THAT is where the money is!

  • http://libertywebmarketingandseo.com/about web designer

    So Google finally let the cat out of the bag and shared this very critical information with the SEO world!
    For me, I have shied away from URL shortening unless necessary, i.e., Twitter. Perhaps it’s not a safe assumption that this may be a more effective tool in the SEO toolbox, especially seeing that page rank is passed on.
    On a more interesting note, it sounds as though Matt may have indicated that despite a “no-follow” attribute, short URL’s may still be recognized by search engines if implemented through data feeds:

    (Quoted from above)
    Great post!

  • http://kbgoldbiz.com/xmoning Horace Moning

    How can i get this facebook marketing.

  • Jostyn

    Just a nit pick – “Page Rank” thought that was dead (according to Cutts) as in every page is ranked 0-10 – do you actually mean page ranking as in where the page ranks for a search term?

  • http://www.zygella.com Joe

    Interesting piece of information.

  • http://omega3information.com/ Michael Holman

    That’s good to know. While I do not use url shorteners yet, I’ve been toying with the idea of using them for a while now. Just wasn’t sure what impact they would have on the SEO front, but that’s clear now. Much thanks.

  • http://mynews.mumbleabout.com/ Opie Winfrey

    It is getting harder and harder to find good backlinks without nofollow code. It would be nice to know the best way, if any, to get around this, especially on twitter/facebook. If we can’t, there has to be some better choices out there to earn pagerank, but it’s hard to see where. Blogs all have nofollow now, and if you buy links, Google shoots you down.

  • http://curiouslittleperson.com Sandeep@CuriousLittlePerson

    Hey Chris – Thats’ pretty nice information on shortners.. never really have thought about this..

    • http://www.barbie-dressupgames.net/ Barbie

      Yes, Chris is bringing new updates every time, let’s see his opinion about Penguin this time.

  • http://www.mrmediagroup.com Misae

    I hear deja vu. Matt has already had this discussion as it’s really a cannonical URL issue and it’s nothing new to have several URLs hitting one destination.

    I would suggest declaring the canonical URL in the meta as being best practice – after all, you may send out shortlinks to a page using 301 style URL shorteners, but who knows who else might link to it or what tools they choose to use?

    I’ve used bit.ly pro and awe.sm but I’ve settled on making my own URL shorteners for customers as it’s not hard to set up a 301 generator and allows them to take their branding into their links (without the massive costs associated with bit.ly enterprise, although I’d highly recommend that tool for those with budget).

    There is a really awesome French WordPress dev called Richard Ozh (@ozh on Twitter) who open sourced his URL shortener project. It’s called Yourls and anyone with php/MySQL can use it to run their own 301 redirect shortener. For those with WordPress, there’s a neat plug in to go with it that’ll set a short URL and auto tweet it with your new posts as you publish them. Well worth checking out (and contributing to!)

    • http://www.localmapsguru.com/ Jeff M

      thanks for the Yourls info

    • http://www.patantconsult.com/ @SEObrat

      Thanks for that yourl info. I will definitely take a look. I have been thinking of my custom url shortener. Oh and please edit the spam it is becoming an annoyance.

  • http://www.electric-reviews.org Mark Demers

    It can never hurt to use Google`s own URL shortener -if they`re the ones ranking you then why not use all of their stuff they have available to you?
    Webmaster tools, analytics, search, keyword tools everything they got – I use it and they`ve been doing pretty good for me so far.

  • http://www.FindLocalUSA.com FindLocalUSA

    Great information. Sometimes, however we are left as publishers and users with no choice as to what type of url short we can use, as in the case of twitter auto posts. So far those publishers give no public metrics.

    • http://onlinetrafficwizard.com Bluestar

      I GUARENTEE you it does not matter what you use. But it DOES matter where you send it.

  • http://www.myway2fortune.info Brian Mc

    Found this part of the quote interesting..“So those links that are on the webpage, may not necessarily flow PageRank..” especially “may not necessarily”. Am I right to take it “nofollow” can a “link love”?

  • http://terryjett.com Terry Jett

    Great article, thanks for sharing the information.

    I have tried many URL shorteners and finally found bit.ly to be the best. Really like their API also.


  • http://simplynaturalcures.com SadieJane

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    I had wondered about this for awhile,
    and have been hesitant to use shortened url links.

    Glad to know shortened links will be followed,
    although still definitely not my first choice.

  • http://www.chancenotes.net Tommy Douglas

    Thanks for posting, I had been wondering about url shortening.

  • http://www.bengebo.com Ben Gebo

    Great post, never heard of goo.gl before. I am going to start using that from now on!

  • http://www.webmasteratoz.com andrew h.

    I Personally Use “Pretty link Lite” its a Free WordPress Plug-In And All You Re-Directs Are Customizable So You are Using “Your Domain” Which We Can Assume it Keyword Friendly and You Get To Choose The Other Words That Designate The “Page Folder” So You Get To Choose SEO Friendly Keywords,And Like Discussed Above By “Matt Cutts” The Page Rank Still Transfers in a Re-Direct To So Why Not have It Pointing Back at Your Blog Drew H.

  • http://www.hoppingmad.com.au web design

    great info – i am amazed though how google will preference URL’s witht he keywords in the name – just seems a bit unfair to me.

  • Michael

    I Will Never Click On A Link That Contains What You Call A “URL Shortener” It Is Nothing More Than A URL Mask To Hide The Malicious Site That You Will End Up At Full Of Malware And Spam Tracker. Since Any Legit Website Will Have A Direct Link To Their Home Page With Their Name As Part Of The Address Why Would Anyone Ever Click On A Suspicious Looking Link That Come To You As A Spammed E-Mail Saying Things Like Hey “Click Here Check Out My New Profile” With A Link That Leads To http://bit.ly/34h3ze4 Or Something Close To That. From A Web Surfers Point Of View I Can Tell You It Will Never Happen In Fact I Reported Bit.ly To The Web Of Trust As Untrustworthy Since It Has Only Led Ever Led Me Into A Site Filled With Trackers So It Can Steal Your E-Mail Addresses For Spamming Purposes And/Or Containing Things Like Viruses, Trojans, And Spyware. Besides Who Really Needs URL Shortners Anyways I Had A Web Site Until Yahoo Dropped It’s Free Geocities Web Sites And All I Had To Do To Shorten It Was Check Out My Site And Used The Link Username.com Or Just Username But The Actual Link Being Linked To yahoo.geocities.com/username.html Looking Like This And Since Username Is In The Link When People View The Status Bar They Can See It’s A Genuine Link. By The Way Don’t Click The Link It Will Take To A Page Cannot Be Displayed Page.

  • Dave Cleinman

    301 Redirects are followed by Googlebots… I assumed that. Glad to know it’s true. I’m guessing this means that url redirects increase the number of pages on a domain as well…I hope.

    Very helpful post, Chris. You always have gems to share.

    Dave Cleinman

  • http://www.blissseo.com.au Mark

    “Now, just to let you know, if you look at, for example, Twitter’s web pages, many of those links have a nofollow link,” he adds. “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.”

    This cracks me up, I love how vague they are, correct me if I’m wrong but it’s been well confirmed that Twitter supply Google and Bing with a data feed of their link profile, all of which are do-follow.

    As for Matt saying they “necessarily flow PageRank”, does this mean Google could be ignoring the nofollow attribute on some sites???

  • http://www.gam-legalalliance.com wey

    nice post!… good info.

  • http://www.bluehorseradish.com Larry Chrzan, Philadelphia SEO Professional

    Looks like the good URL shorteners are the ones that do 301 redirects. Are there other criteria?
    What URL shorteners are SEO friendly and do 301 redirects? Cutts mentions bit.ly and goo.gl. What others are good?
    Which ones are not good?

  • http://www.cheapthermalpaper.com Ronn

    i never use the url Shorteners for my anchor
    great read iam learning new things everyday

  • PC repair Boca Raton

    What’s is the upside/benefit for goo.gl and bit.ly to provide the shortening service?

  • http://facebook-advertising-marketing.com/ Kris Olin

    Bit.ly has always been my favourite. It’s metrics have also gotten better lately. I also use goo.gl because it’s fast to use on the odd project.

    twitter.com/#!/KrisOlin” title=”Kris Olin, MSc (econ.)” rel=”nofollow”>

  • http://www.kokoarena.com mbanusick

    I just think using goo.gl will give give webmasters more advantage; i don’t really trust google 100%…

  • http://www.pharmacyware.com/ pharmacy

    This Information i like the most its all working with the SEO and the URL Shorten.Its very helpful for the SEO Marketing.Nice Job you have done here.

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