Search Engines Tips & Tricks

URL Shortening: How Short URL Can Help or Hurt Your SEO

URL Shortening is a bit controversial. Always a subject of debate on whether it’s beneficial or otherwise. Make a verdict yourself.

URLs are an important ranking factor. According to Backlinko, in their list of 200 ranking factors, URL length, URL path, Keyword in URL, and URL string, all maintain a critical position. To succeed with SEO, URL optimization must not be treated with levity. Invariably, you are reading this because you understand that URLs are one of the essential elements of SEO.  

URL optimization isn’t just about throwing a few keywords into the URL; it’s beyond that. The confusion we’ll settle with this blog post is whether to shorten URL or not. This is not a wrong or right thing, that’s why we’ll state some facts about URL shortening and optimization while we leave you to make a verdict. 

1. How Readable is Your URL for Humans

While SEO is largely dependent on machines and algorithms, there’s also the human factor. 

My concern is that if you shorten your URL, would it be readable to humans? The readability of URL by humans is an overlooked aspect of URL optimization. 

URLs cannot all be perfectly clean, but being understood by users will go a long way. It could be the reason why they find your content compelling. 

Let’s paint a scenario;

Anyone knows what this all about from first look. 70% of visitors will always go with this.

Oh! This could be a scam link. I’ll not click this.

Not bad, rather than click the previous link, I’ll give this a try. 

2. Are You Sure The Shortened Link Always Sends Visitors To Your Page? 

This is what SEO enthusiasts refer to as the redirect risk. What’s risky about 301 redirects that URL shorteners use? According to Google Webmasters, shorteners could bring about PageRank Dilution. Nonetheless, the majority of URL shorteners have been said to pass PageRank with their use of 301 redirects. 

To allay your fears about URL Shorteners, they are said to have between 90 to 100% success rate in recent times. 

URL shorteners could even be doing your SEO a lot of favor as it works as a reputable backlink source. That’s not to overlook the fact that the backlink is still treated as a 301 redirect. 

3. What Happens When the URL Shortener Company Close Shop?

This is not a fiction; even Google shut down its own URL shortener in 2018, giving users only a year to count their losses and fix it. When choosing a URL shortener, go with a reputable firm. However, are we going to say Google isn’t reliable enough? 

You cannot avoid the service provider risk, but you’ll limit it by sticking with a trusted URL shortening service. 

The concern is that when a URL shortener fizzles out, so are your URLs, What will happen to your backlinks everywhere they are originating from, or where it was posted and shared. This is what happens when you find yourself on an unrelated content when you click some links. Let’s say your homepage. 

URL Shortening

You’ll be doing your SEO a lot of harm as your bounce rate will shoot up while your time-on-site takes a hit. Both of these have adverse effects on your SEO, all because of a shortened URL. 

4. How Does the Shortened URL Perform in Campaigns and Social Signal? 

An essential aspect of social media campaigns is user experience and aesthetics. 

Look at these two examples of a post shared on Facebook; 

Want To Learn More About Microsoft Excel Formula, Click here;

Or Want To Learn About Advanced Excel, Click Here;

Which of these posts will be taken seriously by your target audience? The latter will suffice. 

URL shortening can help to avoid the “ugly link syndrome.” While we are more interested in the SEO perspective, aesthetics and visuals can also do a lot of damage to user experience. In the end, they are indirectly affecting SEO ranking. 

You will be saving wordcount on social media while also making your post visually appealing. 

5. Keyword in URL, How Will It Work When Shortened? 

No one has been able to prove the irrelevance of targeted keywords in URL. Having keywords placed in your URLs is still an important ranking factor, but when shortened, your keywords disappear. How beneficial is that to SEO? 

There’s a lot of keyword in URL does to SEO. Right from the point of loading, the visitors are in the know of where they are headed. When shortened, this removes this advantage. URLs with keywords also serve as anchor text when shared and posted. This is another influential ranking factor. 

These two benefits are eliminated when the URL is shortened. 

Final Thoughts On URL Shortening

We’ll make this easier; URL shortening has no negative impact on SEO. 

However, if not done cautiously, there’s a possibility of limiting your SEO performance.