October 10, 2010 by Ivan Kristianto
URL Shortener Service Comparison Criteria
Twitter and Identi.ca or other micro blogging have maximum character to be published. And it’s human friendly to see if the long url shorten to a short url. URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a URL may be made substantially shorter in length. This involves using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short to link to a website which has a long URL. But how does the url shortening and http redirect effect on your site SEO?
So hoe determine how URL shortener service is good or bad? See the criteria belo:
1. HTTP redirect
All url shortening will use HTTP redirect. There are 2 known type of HTTP redirect: 301 (permanent redirect) and 302 (temporary redirect). A 301 redirect says that the URL requested (the short URL) has “permanently” moved to the long address. Since it’s a permanent redirect, search engines finding links to the short URLs will credit all those links to the long URL. A 302 redirect is a “temporary” one. If that’s issued, search engines assume that the short URL is the “real” URL and just temporarily being pointed elsewhere. That means link credit does not get passed on to the long URL. So i consider url shortening with 301 is good and 302 is bad. To know whether your link is 301 or 302 redirect you can use Rex Swain’s HTTP Viewer to find out.
2. Free, Fast and Reliable
URL shortener service should be free, fast and reliable. Can you imagine when thousands of your shorten url spread over the internet and all of them are not accessible because the servers down? This will effect your website at the end.
URL shortener service should have an API, so you can build your own program or client to access the API and get your shorten link from anywhere and any platform. This bring more feature ahead.
URL shortener service should have Statistic to count how much visitors come from your shorten url.
5. No dmr and spam/ads
Some bad URL shortener service, will use dmr (double meta refresh). When you click the shortened url it will bring you to their website and show the ads, ask the visitor to wait around 5 seconds before it redirect to your site. The shortened url will not count as your link. I assume this a bad URL shortener service.
6. Path character
Because it is basically shortening the url, the domain name also need a short one. For example tinyurl.com is 11 character, wp.me is 5 characters, and bit.ly is only 6 character. And path character also count. Tinyurl need 6 characters and so bit.ly. Less character would be better.
So far i’m using bit.ly which have all the criteria and it’s easy to use because it have API. And not just me, Twitter also use bit.ly as their default url shortening. Danny Sullivan from searchengineland.com have been analyse the most known url shortener service at that time. Even it is outdated, but you can see which one is the best for you. You can see his article “URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use?” and decide which one is the best for you.