URL shortening, and URL shortener services, are evolving rapidly into a real hype. And while they do make sense with Twitter (due to their 140 characters per tweet limitation), they are not all that harmless from a SEO perspective.
The most harmful thing when you use a shortener to link to your own site is: It is not you who gets the link love, but the URL shortener website. The same is true when other people link to your site via a shortener.
Now in the case of Twitter there is counter-value you receive: More space for your message.1 But I’m observing a trend to use shortened URL even in normal blogs / websites. There is even a growing number of plugins that help you automate their usage.
It is not because the shortened URL is more memorable (or would you be able to remember http://bit.ly/4CSWyR?)
Is it because it is “trendy”? Well, go on, fall for it if you must.
I can think of only one logical reason to use an URL shortener in the own blog: To cloak a link the target of which you don’t want to be immediately visible to the reader (an affiliate link, for example).
If your intention is to cloak a link, why not use link cloaking software instead. There is an excellent free link cloaker for WordPress from White Shadow. (He even provides a much extended premium link cloaker with many more features.)
And if you must have short URLs, check out a URL masking solution that creates short URLs on your own domain, like the Kael.me URL Shortener plugin for WordPress.
Cheers and happy URL masking. 😉
- And you need that space, because everything is part of the message, even tags. [↩]