On March 30th 2018, Google announced they would be closing Google URL shortener to new users from April 13th, with existing users being able to use the service until its eventual discontinuation on March 30th 2019.
So, what impact will this have on all your shortened URLs? Why is the service being shut down? And what are the best alternative platforms for shortening link? Find out here.
What Will Happen To My Shortened URLs?
If you already have a bank of URLs shortened, they will still work as intended and you’ll still be able to access them; so long as you have an account, you’ll be able to keep on shortening URLs until March 2019.
When this day comes, Google have confirmed that all “all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination”, so don’t worry about users being sent to a 404 error instead.
At this point it will also be possible to export your link information from the goog.gl console so no data is lost.
Google themselves have recommended the use of Firebase Dynamic Links for shortening links in future, a powerful tool packed with functionality; watch the video below to get a feel for how they work.
Most Popular Free Link Shortening Alternatives
For those looking for an easy and just as powerful way of shortening links, here are the best free alternatives to goo.gl:
Bit.ly – Bit.ly offers near identical features to goog.ly, and it’s free. It’s been a trusted platform for a while and offers premium features in its paid plan such as real-time analytics and custom branded links. Uses a 301 redirect.
Rebrandly – Unlike Bit.ly, rebrandly allows for custom branded links at no extra cost, in fact it’s the main selling point of this URL shortener. Using branded links helps you cut down bloated links into easily shareable ones, without detracting from your brand.
Tiny URL – Short, sweet and straight to the point. Tiny URL is a trusted platform that’s been around for years, offering short links that never expire, but little more than that.
Do Shortened Links Have an Impact On SEO?
Sensible use of shortened URLs from trusted providers will have little to no impact on the SEO of your site. As most trusted URL shorteners have good uptime and use 301 (permanent) redirects, meaning they pass anchor text and link juice as any other link would. This was confirmed by Google’s own Matt Cutts, you can watch the full video below.
Just URL shorteners as far as how they relate to SEO, are not necessarily a problem at all. The vast majority of well-behaved URL shorteners have good uptime and also pass page rank and anchor text because they use a 301 redirect.
That being said, you should be careful with your use of shortened URLs and only use them as required, particularly when advertising to a new customer base.
As shortened links hide their final destination, spammers have been known to use them to send people to undesired websites; leading to some people openly avoiding clicking shortened URLs from companies they don’t know or trust.
Additionally, you should only use a trusted provider (like the ones mentioned above). Using an unknown provider could impact your SEO and also opens you up to the risk of losing all your shortened URLs should the service shut down unexpectedly.
Talk to the Experts
Farewell Google URL shortener, you will be missed. If you’re confused about when and why you should be implementing shortened links, we can help – give us a call today on 01793 766 040 and we’d be happy to help.