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URL Shorteners for SEO

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.

How To See Competitors Social Media Link Statistics

An interesting way to monitor how successful your competitors social media channels are is based on how many people are actually interacting with links and information they are sharing. This can then be compared with your own statistics to see how different your fans and followers are to that of your competitors.

It can be extremely easy to increase fans and followers on social media by linking up your current customers who are visiting your site using the various ‘follow me’ on social media buttons that are available these days. Along with running engaging competitions that will make current fans and followers entice their friends to join up.

But back to monitoring competitors click statistics.

When people are using the service for shortening URLs, via any of their domains or a custom URL shortener that has been set up, then you can easily see the statistics on that link simply by adding a + to the end of the URL.

For example, here is an old link that I have shared so you can see some statistics

Similar statistics are also available when using URL shortnener, for example here is a recent URL Google shared

The above link shows lots of cool information which shows you how successful competitors links are and how much influence they really have from their thousands of followers.

I haven’t tried all URL shortening services to see if similar statistics are available, but since these are two of the main ones I thought I would just cover those for the time being.

There may be a way to automatically pull all of this data into a Google Doc Spreadsheet and automatically compare how followers and fans behave on the links that have been shared, although with twitter now using “” for all links contained within tweets (at least via their API that is how everything comes back) then I am not sure this will be as easy to generate. Although if anyone does know of a way to do this, then please do share.

In summary, this piece of information to find out how engaged fans and followers are can be very valuable in addition to just monitoring the number of people following you on social media. This should provide some additional information into your competitors.