Backlinks from short URLs and redirect links can be counted as good backlinks if they come from high-quality and relevant websites. However, there are a few things to consider:
- Quality of the linking website: The quality of the website that the short URL or redirect link comes from is an important factor. If the website is authoritative and trustworthy, the backlink is more likely to be valuable.
- Relevance of the linking website: The relevance of the linking website to your website's topic or niche is also important. Backlinks from websites that are relevant to your content are more likely to be considered valuable by search engines.
- Redirect type: The type of redirect used can also affect the value of the backlink. A 301 redirect passes link equity from the old URL to the new URL, while a 302 redirect does not. Therefore, if the short URL or redirect link uses a 301 redirect, it may pass some link equity to your website.
In general, it's better to have backlinks from direct links rather than short URLs or redirect links, as they provide a clear and direct path to your website. However, if the short URL or redirect link comes from a high-quality and relevant website, it can still provide value as a backlink.
For any small business, finding a strategy to increase PageRank without spending a lot of money is beneficial. Although URL shorteners have been around for a while, according to marketing experts, how they are used can affect rankings as well as engagement with current and potential customers.
The Redirect Risk
Companies that shorten URLs employ 301 redirects, which route customers through their platform before directing them to your content. When it comes to SEO, Google Webmasters stated that "if we see that 301, that will transmit PageRank along to the final destination... despite there being some concern that utilizing URL shorteners may create PageRank dilution... Because they employ a 301 redirect, the vast majority of well-behaved URL shorteners have high uptime, pass PageRank, and pass anchor text.
Know more about 301 redirect
A 301 redirect is a type of HTTP status code that tells search engines and web browsers that a webpage has permanently moved to a new location. When a user or search engine crawler tries to access the old URL, the server sends a response with a 301 status code and the new URL, instructing the browser or crawler to redirect to the new location.
A 301 redirect is commonly used in the following scenarios:
- When a website changes its domain name or moves to a new URL structure
- When a webpage is permanently removed and there is a new page with similar content
- When multiple versions of a URL (with or without "www") exist, and one version needs to be chosen as the canonical URL
301 redirects are important for SEO because they pass the link equity and authority of the old page to the new page. This means that if the old page had backlinks, those links will now point to the new page, helping it to rank higher in search engine results.
To implement a 301 redirect, you need to modify the server configuration file (such as .htaccess for Apache servers) or use a plugin if you are using a CMS like WordPress. The redirect should be set up for each individual URL that needs to be redirected, with the old URL pointing to the new URL.
According to Dallas McLaughlin, Director of Interactive Marketing at The James Agency, "URL abbreviated links from third party sources behave comparable to any other third party backlink." "The value of a backlink and its influence on organic search rankings increase with the domain and page authority of the connecting site. The drawback is that shorter URLs for links are viewed as 301 redirects. To make this more or less of a non-issue, recent research showed that 301 redirects are now much closer to passing high-90s to 100% of link equity.
Use Reputable Companies
Make sure to use URL shortener services from reliable, long-standing businesses. Customers trust Epsi.link, Bit.ly, Ow.ly, and Google's new Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL), which will take the place of Goo.gl short links on April 13. These services lower service provider risk.
"Over time, many URL shorteners come and go, and when they do, your links from everywhere you have placed them and where others have reposted/retweeted them also cease to exist. Choose a reputable business that has existed for some time and will continue to do so, advised Colling Media SEO specialist David DeMar.
"You also don't want to use short URLs and then send people to unrelated content, (which can sometimes even be a home page), because if it's not relevant to the topic and where the short link came from, your bounce rates go up, and your time-on-site metrics go down - this can have a negative effect on rankings," the article continues.
Customers are increasingly wary about clicking on links that aren't related to reputable domains due to the heightened risk of cyber assaults.
According to McLaughlin, "Users questioned are hesitant to click on a URL with a top-level domain they do not recognize." This is why picking a reputable URL shortener is crucial.
Customize Your Shortener
Making their own branded shortened URLs is another strategy companies use to develop online trust and brand value.
According to Ville Salminen, the creator of Cordcutting.com and Flixable, "many URL shorteners provide you the choice of choosing your own short domain, meaning that your shortened URLs will utilize your domain instead of the service's domain." If you choose this course, you can reduce the risk to the service provider because you would keep ownership of the domain even if the service was to discontinue operation. Your links wouldn't vanish with the service as a result. Having your own short domain name also has the advantage of promoting your brand, increasing brand recognition, and, in some cases, click-through rates.
Compare Your Efforts
Utilize the free analytics offered by any URL shortener to track clicks, referrers, conversions, reach, social sharing, etc.
"Depending on the requirements of our clients, we use various URL shorteners for various purposes. When constructing a straightforward short link, standalone URL shorteners like Google's* perform effectively in many situations. You receive a user-specific page that tracks all your Original URLs, Dates Created, Short URLs, and rudimentary tracking of the total amount of clicks to the links because it's connected to the Google account you're using. Additionally, there are paid shorteners with a range of functions and data tracking, according to DeMar.
"Once you have access to the data, you can start running some basic tests to try out various messages and see what works. Over time, those little "wins" mount up, and occasionally you're lucky and your material really resonates with people.
You can test the campaign with a variety of link shorteners to see which one performs best. Then, make adjustments as necessary.
Salminen stated that "major URL shorteners offer you analytics that you can use to determine which components of your marketing strategy [require] additional resources." You might, for instance, post one URL to one social media platform and another to another. This would allow you to quickly determine which social media platform is best for that campaign or post.
The Ugly Link
An "ugly link" typically refers to a URL or web address that contains long, complex, or difficult-to-read strings of characters, numbers, and symbols. These types of URLs are often difficult to remember and can look unappealing to users, hence the name "ugly link."
Some examples of ugly links include:
- URLs with parameters: URLs that contain parameters such as "?id=12345" can be difficult to read and understand.
- Dynamic URLs: URLs generated dynamically by a content management system or e-commerce platform can also be long and complex, containing a string of numbers and letters that do not make sense to the user.
- URLs with tracking codes: URLs that contain tracking codes or affiliate links can also be long and complex, making them difficult to remember and share.
Ugly links can be problematic for several reasons. They can be challenging for users to remember and share, and they may look unprofessional or spammy. Additionally, search engines may not be able to crawl or index the URL correctly, which can negatively impact the website's SEO performance.
To make URLs more user-friendly and SEO-friendly, it's best to use descriptive and concise words in the URL, avoid unnecessary parameters, and use hyphens to separate words. Creating short and easy-to-remember URLs can also make them more shareable on social media and other online platforms.
So when should campaigns utilize a URL shortener? Our experts say that this is the time to enhance the aesthetics and user experience.
According to Mclaughlin, "I advise saving the use of abbreviated URLs for locations where the full URL would otherwise be exposed." In other words, shortening a URL for aesthetic purposes. A shortened URL reduces the number of characters needed and is more aesthetically pleasing than, say, displaying a complete URL with the typical tracking parameters and dynamic variables shown inline with a Twitter or Facebook post.
Additionally, print campaigns benefit from using shorter URLs.
"Use URL shorteners instead of your lengthy original URLs when distributing content in printed media. Additionally, you may gauge the effectiveness of your print advertisements if you utilize distinctive shortened URLs, according to Salminen.