Since SEO is all about optimizing your business’s online presence, it also includes the website’s link shortening. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) shortening is a technique that has positive SEO effects.
According to a survey, 57% of online marketers believe that optimizing content is the best SEO strategy. Now, if your content is fully optimized but the links need trimming, users might not show interest in your content.
Today, we’ll learn how link-shortening affects your site’s SEO.
- What is URL Shortening?
- How Does Link Shortening Work?
- Benefits of Link Shortening
What Is URL Shortening?
The link is working fine, and the page is active. However, there’s an issue; it’s bothersome to the eyes.
In simple words, that link is pretty long and messy.
At times, avid surfers try to read between the lines just by looking at the URL. If you use links without shortening them, they might repel the users from reading content on your website.
The above link is the trimmed version of the former. This URL may not give a lot of information, but it contains the most relevant word. Rather intriguing, isn’t it?
As you have seen, the first benefit of link shortening is better readability. Generally, simple and concise links help visitors make a quick decision, making it more click-worthy. This can help you get more organic traffic from the white hat-shortened links back to your website.
This process of trimming a link without losing its purpose is called URL shortening. But what about the long link? Was it wasted? No!
How Does Link Shortening Work?
Basically, a link shortener doesn’t lose the original, long link in the shortening process. Instead, it just trims the original link and makes it small and easy on the eyes.
When the user clicks the trimmed link, they are directed to the original link. The newly created shorter link acts as a redirect.
For optimization, all your short links should be 301 redirects, explained in the next section.
This is a process that refers to sending one URL to another URL. The redirects send the user and the search engine both to a different link when they click the short URL.
Here are the three most common redirects:
1) 301 Redirect
This redirect permanently passes full link authority to the trimmed URL. 301 is a status code that refers to permanent redirects. This means that the link equity or the ranking power transfers from the longer link to its shorter version.
Now, considering the conciseness and readability improvement, 301 redirects are useful for your website’s SEO.
2) 302 Redirect
When the page you’re loading is temporarily moved to a different location, you get this “302 Found” message. This redirect is similar to the 301 redirects, except that it temporarily passes the link authority to a different link.
b) Meta Refresh
Meta refresh works on the page level rather than on the server level. Therefore, it’s not recommended for your website’s SEO.
c) Link Shortening Services
These are the most popular link-shortening services:
Each of the above services can shorten any URL you paste in the box. People often use them to send long links via text messages or to post on social networks, especially on Twitter.
That said, the shorter links you get for free may not be as effective as the example we quoted above. This either contains the name of the service or some odd letters and numbers.
You’ll have to subscribe to their premium package to avail of the feature, as well as its potential benefits.
Benefits of Link Shortening
Let’s look into the benefits of using shorter links in your site’s SEO on a deeper level. The following infographic depicts the benefits of the process for your quick reference.
1. User-Friendly URL
Let’s start with Google that’s been maintaining a clear stance of providing readable and user-friendly content to its users.
Long and disorganized URLs are not only bad from the leading search engine’s perspective but raise the probability of broken links, leading to a poor user experience.
For example, while copying/pasting a long link, a user might miss a character or two, and that’s it. Your opportunity to get more traffic is gone.
As opposed to this, link shortening makes your URL user-friendly, attracting users to click on the link. A good option would be to use the main keyword in the shortened link.
This way your content’s overall SEO score will improve and so will your chances of getting more organic traffic to your page.
2. Link Tracking
Shorter links can easily be tracked down, especially when you have a uniquely focused keyword in the URL. Some link-shortening services offer you a tracking feature to help you gauge how the link is performing.
You can track the following factors:
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Users’ location
- Devices used to click the link
- Link referrals
- Operating systems
In short, the tracking feature helps you figure out where your traffic is coming from and who your target audience is.
3. Targeting Pixels
Apart from the tracking feature, the link shortening services offer targeting pixels, similar to a tracker. By using these pixels, you can monitor the following metrics:
- Site conversion.
- Website traffic.
- User behavior.
This feature is quite beneficial to those who are running eCommerce stores. It lets you segregate your audience on the basis of common interests.
4. Social Media Coverage
Link shortening works best on social media. How?
As discussed earlier, shorter links are common on social networks, especially the platforms that apply character restrictions per post.
Considering there will be 4.41 billion social media users by 2025, sharing a trimmed link on social platforms may prove helpful for your SEO. It is good practice to get free organic traffic to your page.
5. SMS Marketing Cost Reduction
Link shortening can save money on SMS marketing.
Generally, network companies charge according to the size of the message. Since a trimmed URL has fewer characters, your network carrier will charge you less for SMS marketing.
Even if they have a size limit per SMS, you can utilize the extra space to make your message more attractive.
6. Neat & Clean Emails
You can incorporate link shortening into your email marketing as well.
Long URLs that occupy more than a line make your emails visually unappealing. These lengthy links look unclean in a professional email.
Instead, you can add short links to make the email more formal, clean, and attention-grabbing.
7. Customized Link Alias
An alias is a name that you give for identification purposes.
You already know that this link will take you to Henry’s profile.
By adding a custom alias to a link, the user understands what the link is about, which increases the CTR and readability of your content.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it necessary to shorten URLs for websites?
Shorter URLs have the benefit of ranking high in the SERP and it helps Google better understand that particular blog or an article or webpage. Also, shorter URLs rank higher than long URLs.
2. Are there any SEO tools to reduce the URL length?
Some of the popular link shortening services are
Enter your URL in the field provided and click the Shorten URL button. Copy the shortened URL from the output field and paste it wherever necessary.
3. Is it advisable to change URLs once they have been published?
Without a valid reason or in case of an exception, it is not advisable to change the URL. If you think the URL slug is not fancy enough or doesn’t fit the entire keyword, the primary purpose of the link is not to be aesthetically pleasing but to be SEO & user-relevant.
In A Nutshell
No doubt, link shortening positively affects your site’s SEO. However, to make it more effective, we’d recommend using a link shortening service. Especially, when you have a website with lots of pages, you need a reliable service to get the job done.
You can implement link shortening to the following platforms:
- Website Content.
- Guest Posts.
- Social Media Posts & Profile Pages.
Besides optimizing your URLs, link shortening services also offer a tracking capability. So, you can create more targeted campaigns.
Shorter links are not only cleaner and easier to rank, but they minimize the risk of broken links. Shorter links can improve your chances of getting organic traffic from social media and emails. For further expert opinions and insights on SEO and link-building, check out LinkDoctor blogs.