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11 Interesting and Useful URL Shortening Resources
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
It seems as though everyone is getting into the URL shortening business these days, Facebook, Bing, Google, YouTube.  So along with all of these announcements comes the numerous blog posts about this URL shortener or comparisons between URL shorteners, or whether it is even a good idea to shorten your URLs?  So rather than have you sift through all of this information out there, we decided to compile a list of some of the more interesting posts on URL shortening that have graced the Web over recent months.

First, we should describe exactly what URL shortening is. As described similarly by Wikipedia,

URL Shortening - the process by which a web site owner  makes a web page available under a very short URL in addition to the original address.

11 URL Shortening Resources That You May Find Useful
  1. URL Toolbox: 90+ URL Shortening Services - an exhaustive list or URL shortening options from Mashable.  Who know that there were so many options?

  2. URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use? - Great post from Danny Sullivan, the God-father of Search on which URL shortening service you should be using.  http://searchengineland.com/analysis-which-url-shortening-service-should-you-use-17204

  3. Google Jumps on the URL Shortening Bandwagon... - this article from Web Monkley makes some critical points on URL shortening.

    Of course the bigger problems with URL shorteners — link-rot, spam and redirect mishaps to name a few — are still problems regardless of whether the shortener is controlled by Google or anyone else. And for anyone who thinks that Google services have a better chance of being around far into the future, may we remind you that Google Notebook, Google Answers and several other services have disappeared over the years.
    As always, if you really want a future-proof URL shortener, your best bet is to build your own using one of the many libraries and apps available for Python, PHP, Ruby and other popular programming languages.

  4. Wikipedia mentions that "The first notable URL shortening service, TinyURL, was launched in 2002; however, the idea dates to at least 2001."  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_shortening

  5. URL Shorteners Come to Google, Facebook - the folks over at Search Engine Land share their thoughts on a couple of new players in the URL shortening field.  http://searchengineland.com/url-shorteners-come-to-google-facebook-31880. An interesting reminder from Google:

    Google URL shortener is not a stand-alone service; you can’t use it to shorten links directly. Currently, Google URL Shortener is only available from the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner. If the service proves useful, we may eventually make it available for a wider audience in the future.
  6. Official Google Announcement - Google URL Shortening -  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/making-urls-shorter-for-google-toolbar.html

  7. 11 Best URL Shortening Services – Vote Your Favorite - another interesting comparison from Lee Odden and the folks at Top Rank Online Marketing blog.  http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/01/11-best-url-shortening-services-vote-your-favorite/

  8. URL shortening is hot--but look before you leap - this post makes a number of great points including mentioning the fact that:

    One of the problems with short URLs is knowing what you're getting into when you click them. Is that link really the fun video of the guy tripping into the lake, or is it site that will spam you or attempt to install malware? Is it really a warning from your bank about a bad transaction, or is it a phishing attack to try to fool you into parting with your password?
    Clicking many regular URLs involves a leap of faith, to be sure, but not being able to see a "youtube.com" or "bankofamerica.com" name because it's masked by a short URL makes that leap even longer.

  9. URL Shortening Services, The Ultimate Listhttp://www.hongkiat.com/blog/url-shortening-services-the-ultimate-list/

  10. Fa.il: Bing's URL Shortener Is Longer Than Bing's Own Domain - is it me, or is Bing always late for the dance?  http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/15/bing-url-shortener/

  11. Survey of URL Shortening Service APIs - includes a nice overview of URL shortening:

    URL shortening services map long URLs to shorter URLs usually encoding the path with a sequence of letters and numbers and provide a redirect to the original URL when the short form is clicked. The shortened URLs are useful for Twitter tweets since they take up fewer of the 140 characters...

From an SEO perspective, we might make the recommendation that before you select a URL shortening service, that you consider creating search engine friendly URLs to begin with.  This may involve rewriting your existing URLs or even mapping out a new hierarchy if you are planning a site redesign.  URL structure is important to the search engine spiders but also to site visitors, which means that URL shortening may in fact be something that you will need to evaluate prior to making a final decision on a URL shortening service.


posted by Jody @ Wednesday, January 20, 2010  
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Name: Jody
Home: Kelowna, BC, Canada
About Me: SEO guy by day, family man 24/7.
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