There are many URL shortening services out there, all of which do a similar job. TinyURL, Owly, Bitly, Trim, all of which are popular on social media sites like Twitter to keep the character length down. But just how helpful are they for SEO?
Just go along to one of the websites, enter in your unhelpfully long URL, and it shrinks it down to a series of random characters in upper and lower case and also makes use of digits 0-9. So your link to Amazons page of the recent movie hit, Slumdog Millionaire goes from
to a much more readable and considerably shorter
But just how good are they when it comes to SEO? Search engines take into account factors such as the age of the domain name, keywords relevancy, links in and out of the domain. If you shorten the URL using these services, you lose the www.domain.com part of your link. You also lose any relevant sub-folders, so your page at www.yourdomain.com/category/product/page.php loses those extra keywords.
If the post that the short link is contained in doesn’t describe the link properly, then http://tr.im/hN6i/ does nothing to explain it. Twitter, I feel, suffers for this. The tuny url also cannot make use of your well established domain names age. Google will look more favourably on your 8 year old domain name, than a 5 minute old shortened url.
Something I’d like to do more research on is whether a shortened url posted on a site like Twitter or Facebook will still count as a good link in to your website, or does it count as a link in to the site you used to shorten the url?