Websites like TinyURL allow you to shorten long URL’s into short ones. For instance, you might be reading a post on our blog that has a long URL, such as http://www.web1marketing.com/blog/index.php/archives/international-seo-subdomains-or-folders/. This can cause problems in email and will take up all of your message room in text messages or Twitter. TinyURL converts this into a much shorter URL, like this: http://tinyurl.com/67lwfe. This link will take you to the same place, but it’s much easier to share.
How does this service work? What’s actually happening behind the scenes? In particular, does the technical implementation hinder SEO efforts that use such links?
Using Rex Swain’s terrific HTTP Viewer, we can how the TinyURL server responds.
TinyURL uses a 301 Redirect to translate their constructed URL to the intended one. This means that any links to the TinyURL should be interpreted as pointing toward the target URL, preserving most or all of the “link credit” of those links.
Other services like Zi.ma and u.mavrev.com also use 301 redirects. BudURL uses a 307 redirect. We don’t know how search engines treat 307 redirects with respect to passing page rank, and we thus advise using 301-based URL shortening services.