Will Twitter's New URL Shortener Hurt SEOs?

Jun 10, 2010 • 8:15 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

Twitter announced they will be wrapping all links through their own URL shortener. So if you post a URL, it will automatically be shortened and passed through http://t.co/ as a URL.

I tested the URLs and they are 301 redirected, which is a good thing. But many SEOs already use a URL shortener and yes, those URLs are 301ed.

The thing is, most SEOs prefer not to chain redirect URLs. By that I mean, you do not want to 301 redirect a bit.ly URL to a t.co URL and then 301 that to a final destination URL. The more 301 redirects, the slower search engines pick up and pass through.

Plus, we do know that some PageRank is lost during 301 redirecting a URL to another URL. So having it go through two redirects adds to that. Plus, it takes Googler a longer time to realize chain redirects. Finally, a recent SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday with Matt Cutts said chain redirects are a bad idea.

So if SEOs continue to use their own shorteners and if Twitter passes short URLs through their own shorteners, then SEOs may have a problem with the chain redirects.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Jono Alderson

06/10/2010 12:23 pm

Better that than the nasty cannibalising shorteners which are prevalent at the moment!

Zaddle

06/10/2010 03:10 pm

If you can track it - then great, you don't need to use bit.ly for URL's on twitter - will the shortener work anywhere? i.e. non twitter websites? If not just adds a bit of work to posting links surely?

Michael Martinez

06/10/2010 05:25 pm

This concern makes the SEO community look rather pathetic. We're so obsessed with links we're thinking in terms of PageRank and 301-redirect chains. Has no one given any thought to the user experience?

Barry Schwartz

06/10/2010 05:31 pm

users?

AJ

06/10/2010 06:36 pm

We're worrying about 301 redirects through nofollows here? Really? Last time I checked, 80% of 0 was still 0.

Michael Martinez

06/10/2010 06:44 pm

Barry, it just seems to me that the discussion (not your report) in the community tends to overlook the fact that people are using Twitter as a means of gathering information. I get more traffic than link value from Twitter, in my opinion. AJ -- many of the Tweets are picked up by other services that drop the nofollows.

AJ

06/10/2010 06:55 pm

Michael, great point in both respects. How prevalent are the services that rebroadcast tweets? Is this an issue worth spending time on?

Mike Ebert

06/10/2010 09:33 pm

It sounds like Twitter is trying to solve a problem that has been adequately solved already and doesn't need to be solved again, and they're FORCING everyone to use their solution. I don't like being forced! I sure hope this doesn't mess up bit.ly tracking.

AAfter Search

06/11/2010 06:17 am

How can twitter force us?

_mjc

06/11/2010 08:51 am

I just don't get what people's problems are with this. For the beginning user, having to use a 3rd party shortener is a hassle and this is really something that should have been implemented long ago. As for chained redirects, the simple solution is to just NOT USE the first URL shortener any more. It's hardly rocket science people.

Julio Melanda

06/11/2010 11:25 am

I think it's easier just stop using bit.ly or anything else. If twitter will have a built-in shortener, great! This will really save a lot of time to me!

Larry Lim

06/11/2010 01:41 pm

Twitter is not blindly forcing you to use their URL shortener - they're doing this for a reason. Specifically, to protect readers who unknowingly click on malicious links and also for them to track metrics for Promoted Tweets.

Philip

06/11/2010 07:01 pm

Two points about this: 1. As AJ has pointed out, Twitter links are nofollow anyway. 2. As Matt Cutts said in his interview with Rand Fishkin on SEOmoz last friday, Google has no trouble handling chains of 2-3 301 redirects. So it's a non-issue on both sides of the issue! :)

Spunky Jones

06/21/2010 02:18 pm

I don't see this as a issue to be concerned about, since the links are no-follow. I'll go about business in the same manner as I always do. I use Twitter to get a small stream of traffic to my SEO blog. I haven't seen much use for it, other than that so far for me.

Matthew

07/30/2010 09:19 am

I think Spunky Jones above has a good point - being no follow, the links are of limited value for "link juice" anyway, so this may be a storm in a teacup. That said however, if you are going use use a URL shortener, nothing is forcing you to use to - if you use the new twitter one why would you also encode it with bit.ly? It just doesn't make sense! Matt

Reg

12/15/2010 01:11 am

How do you check if a URL Shortener supports 301 redirect?

SEO Professionals

08/31/2011 03:26 pm

Remember when a friend would send you an email, and you couldn't click-through because it broke? Shortened internet URLs fixed this problem. And though TinyURL, one of the oldest URL shortening services, has been around since 2002, their competition has grown fierce-- and fast. With the advent of Twitter and its 140 characters or less platform, shortening URLs became a no-brainer, and sites all over began popping up to offer this service. I can't recall exactly how I stumbled upon 9mp.com, but I am faithful and impressed with the URL shortening service. 

SEO Professionals

08/31/2011 03:27 pm

Remember when a friend would send you an email, and you couldn't click-through because it broke? Shortened internet URLs fixed this problem. And though TinyURL, one of the oldest URL shortening services, has been around since 2002, their competition has grown fierce-- and fast. With the advent of Twitter and its 140 characters or less platform, shortening URLs became a no-brainer, and sites all over began popping up to offer this service. I can't recall exactly how I stumbled upon 9mp.com, but I am faithful and impressed with the URL shortening service.

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