Thursday, 28 October 2010

Goo.gl - URL Shortening service

Google has set up a new URL shortening service at http://goo.gl

This allows you to turn exceptionally long web addresses - for example, http://www.istockphoto.com/file_search.php?action=file&membername=michael_donkin - into a much shorter version - such as, http://goo.gl/jdBo

This has many uses, especially when using Twitter where the number of characters you can use is limited, or in Blogs where you may not want the reader to have to wade through a whole web address.



The main benefit of using the Goo.gl service, as opposed to others such as the ones built in to Twitter or Linked In, is that you can track how often that link has been clicked, and which web site the user clicked the link from. This could allow you to use several different shortened links in different marketing strategies.

Anyone can use the Goo.gl service, although you need to set up a Google account to use the tracking system. Many businesses will already have such an account to use other Google services.

The disadvantage of using any URL shortening service is that you may wish your web address - for instance http://www.the-it-dept.co.uk/backup.html - to be picked up by Search Engines for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes. An address reading goo.gl/25rU is not going to give you that benefit.

It is for this reason that when using Twitter, Linked In, etc, you should try to use the full web address, if possible, rather than accepting the default Twitter setting of automatically shortening the URL.

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