Posted December 14, 2009 5:21 pm by with 19 comments

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Have you noticed how most bloggers are at their meanest best early in the day? Come 4:20pm, they simply don’t have the same energy levels.

You’ve not noticed? Well Google has! And the search giant has a growing tendency to announce potentially polarizing news late in the day.

Exhibit A: Google’s launched its own URL shortener called As the search giant describes it, offers:

  • Stability: Google’s scalable, multi-datacenter infrastructure provides great uptime and a reliable service to our users.
  • Security: As we do with web search, shortened URLs are automatically checked to detect sites that may be malicious and warn users when the short URL resolves to such sites.
  • Speed: At Google we like fast products and we’ve worked hard to ensure this service is quick. We’ll continue to iterate and improve the speed of Google Url Shortener. is also being added as a new feature to Feedburner–letting you “tweet” your new blog post automagically!

So, that’s all sugar and spice, and all things nice. Right? Yes, right now, absolutely. But, so was “nofollow” when that was introduced to save us all from spammers. Fast forward and Google threatens to kick you from its index, if you don’t play by its nofollow rules.

I’m not saying that is evil, just that it has the potential to be evil. For example:

  • What if Google starts using this click-thru data as part of its algorithm?
  • How does this effect SEO?
  • What if Google insists that sites with long URLs slow down the web and insists you convert to Not that far fetched!
  • What if it was added to the Google Toolbar because PageRank is going away–and Google needs a new reason to get you all downloading the toolbar?
  • What if Google starts adding AdSense to the destination URLs? Actually, that might be OK. 😉

There are a lot of unanswered questions. Go ahead and use, just don’t do so with that blindfold on! 😉

  • Andy, I don’t get the relation between long/short URLs and the speed of page served. Am I missing something?
    .-= Ani Lopez´s last blog ..How context in social media influence rankings in SEO =-.

    • I’m stretching, based on Google saying that slow loading sites may see their rankings drop. What if a URL with too many characters was penalized by Google, because it took too long to type the characters into a browser? Or looked too cluttered in the Google SERPs. 😉

  • I would have to ask why? Google doesn’t need the data and the popular short URL services are fast, stable and secure. I have to be suspicious once again…I’m slowly becoming a conspiracy theorist.

    Is it possible Google sees this as a way to get another toe in the door for social networking? One of these days, soon I believe, Google will bring out a product to take on facebook and myspace head on in an attempt to dominate yet another part of our online lives. Then again maybe they’ll just buy them.

    I’m getting the whole “big company steals ideas from creative little startups and tries to crush them with shear market domination and infinite capital” feeling on things like this way too much.
    .-= poorwebguy´s last blog ..Another Day, Another Penny =-.

  • I want to make out with this blog for its use of “automagically”. Impressive.
    .-= Lisa Barone´s last blog ..LisaBarone: Heating up cold coffee, making a tuna melt (first meal of the day!) and setting in for a long, long night of work. If I tweet, yell at me. =-.

  • “…Have you noticed how most bloggers are at their meanest best early in the day? Come 4:20pm, they simply don’t have the same energy levels.”

    Did Andy Beal make a 420 joke? :.) #surprised

    • It’s like the NFL. I watch, but don’t participate! 😉

  • I’m interested to see how this will affect SEO. Definitely something to look out for.

  • Google has their own surprises so we may really be in for a surprise with this
    .-= Andrew @´s last blog ..Get The Free Income Blogging Guide Blueprint Here =-.

  • I think 4 things about this post and the announcement from Google:
    1) Google’s desire to run one of these shortening services seems clear to me: One of’s really neat additional services is to track how many times people click the link in your tweet. Google sees itself as the King of Analytical data regarding the web (not to mention the Ubba King of the meta-content – its Index in other words). So adding this portion of the tweet stream is just another arrow in the quiver; like adding twitter search was.
    2) Google already appears to use our Google Analytics account data in their algorithm. This thought is bound to stir controversy and outrage and I’m not even writing this at 420 pm! But if you want to know why I think this, visit and read about Bounce Rates and SERPs. They do your own measurements. So if they were to add a peek into the shortened url stats, it would be par for the course.
    3) One hopes Google will use 301 redirects to achieve the goal of using the link. Some of these players don’t, in which case the count for your number of external links is credited to them, not you.
    4) And on this one I will really go out on a limb and say that basically, I think Google is good. Given their power, they could exercise it in ways which would destroy anyone who pissed them off. And they do, of course, but they only penalize sites who break the rules. Their strength lies in the power of the web doing what it does best and in a large measure they enable it do just that. Win, win. Now if I were an advertising medium and had to compete against Adwords, maybe I wouldn’t say all this…

    • Some great observations Eric, thanks for sharing!

  • I don’t see any of the conspiracy theories holding water. The only thing is with the advent of URL shorteners, Google has found to gauge the true value of URLs which seem to be popular among people…

    Use and probably the seo-juice to your link will remain provided the website you are sharing it is dofollow..
    .-= Anand Srinivasan´s last blog ..Websites Defacement In India – Hacking And Phishing Statistics =-.

  • You posed a few scary questions at the end of that post. It almost makes me feel that we should do everything google-related just so our sites remain safe and aren’t threatened to be kicked off the face of this planet.

    Google are in control of the web, kinda scary. They are a very powerful unit!

    Sarge |
    .-= Sarge |´s last blog ..Guest Post Interview: Derek Jensen =-.

  • Only time I use URL shortener tool is when I have to hide my referral link and post on twitter. other then that I have no use of it. I love google so I will use this tool from google not others. But you analysis is not bad at all. Actually it is a critical thinking that I don’t have.
    .-= Rennell Garrett´s last blog ..Are strong relationships really important? (Atlanta Marketing) =-.

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  • As Google plays the biggest role in the search engine industry, it really has that biggest capacity to take control of everything happening around the world wide web. I only can say that URL shortener especially in Twitter has gone effective for defining easy clicks rather than placing all that long link title just to be recognized and also, with the less characters it would only cover, Twitter uses this strategy to show not the link names but on how it’s described in much interesting and short manner. Well, regarding SEO, I am still trying to figure this Google’s catch.

  • Here, y0u can create a short link of online:

    is gratis, and have API, for your site 😉