Written by Pavan Kumar on December 19, 2008
TinyURL is the most popular URL shortening service. People use TinyURL so that they can limit the number of characters while sending a URL in a limited character media like twitter, sms… It becomes important to study the behavior of TinyURL in relation with SEO.
Our main aim is to know if a shortened URL is going to serve the same purpose as the original one in passing PageRank juice. To know about it, lets study the behavior of a shortened URL in terms of HTTP header request / response.
HEAD /4nq6r9 HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:18.104.22.168) Gecko/20070725 Firefox/22.214.171.124
• Finding host IP address…
• Host IP address = 126.96.36.199
• Finding TCP protocol…
• Binding to local socket…
• Connecting to host…
• Sending request…
• Waiting for response…
End of Header (Length = 172)
Now, observe the Receiving header section, the TinyURL site is making a 301 Permanent Redirection to the destination URL. We all know that all Search Engines pass link juice in case of permanent redirection. Hence we can easily confirm that TinyURL helps us SEO and linking your site using TinyURL is not a loss.
I have seen people simply using TinyURL in forums for some link building discussions, and now it is very clear that even using TinyURL can bust them. Also it is seen that bloggers use TinyURL when they want to link some bad sites. Even this is also a bad practice, best way is to go with nofollow.
Update: June 2, 2009: Matt Cutts clarifies about this and it is now clear to everyone that tinyurl supports SEO.
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