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Different custom URL shorteners behave differently and can either help or hinder SEO so I have put this guide together for reference. I will be looking at both HootSuite and in this article to show how the different options behave.

HootSuite &

HootSuite has 4 different options when shortening URLs with their service. Each of the shorteners behave slightly differently, all have a use, but the only one that passes any SEO benefit is the one that 301 redirects the user to the page on your site.

This URL shortener will automatically 301 redirect visitors to your website and passes all of the SEO benefit to your site which is what we all want.


This URL shortener will 302 redirect visitors to your site although with it being a 302 redirect then there is no SEO benefit passed through this link. This may be a good option when linking out to websites other than your own if you don’t want to be seen as endorsing them in the eyes of Google.

Example: &

Both of the URL shorteners above actually display the content of the page on your site, but on their URL which is no good for SEO. This has been implemented via an iFrame, which Google find difficult to index correctly. This page does have it’s benefits though, mainly being that these pages include lots of social sharing buttons at the top of the page. So even though the pages do not pass any direct SEO benefit, they could still be beneficial if they result in more people sharing the pages with their friends. Although personally, it is not my choice.

Example: and

Now looking at how shortens URLs, they also have several options which all 301 redirect and do not have the variety that HootSuite have.

I am a little confused as to why there are 3 different URLs that all behave in the same way, maybe it is due to the limitations of custom URL shoreners – The fact that you can only have a maximum number of possible short URLs using 6 alpha-numeric characters (which is into the millions mind!).

There are also lots of other URL shortening services out there which likely behave in similar ways and offer different methods of redirection, so it is just something to be aware of when pasting these short URLs around the internet. Make sure they are passing the benefit you require.

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Michael Cropper

Founder & Managing Director at Contrado Digital Ltd
Michael has been running Contrado Digital for over 10 years and has over 15 years experience working across the full range of disciplines including IT, Tech, Software Development, Digital Marketing, Analytics, SaaS, Startups, Organisational and Systems Thinking, DevOps, Project Management, Multi-Cloud, Digital and Technology Innovation and always with a business and commercial focus. He has a wealth of experience working with national and multi-national brands in a wide range of industries, across a wide range of specialisms, helping them achieve awesome results. Digital transformation, performance and collaboration are at the heart of everything Michael does.