and Geo-targeting

This content is 12 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind as SEO changes rapidly and while the past is useful to remember and reference, it often doesn't provide the best strategies to apply today.

Recently I was reading a debate about link shortening with non local country code domain extensions. If you use .co you are telling Google you’re Colombian, likewise if you use Tuvalu’s .tv or Liberia’s .ly extensions.

This issue was fixed last year and now you can remedy the location issues by using the geo-targeting options in Google’s webmaster tools; At this point even Greenland’s .gl extension is fair game.

When Google’s own URL shortening system,, was released in 2010 producing URLs like it didn’t make a big splash in the eyes of most users. In fact most web users already had a preferred shortening method and Google’s offering looked like a “me too” service nobody needed. Early bird gets the worm?

A couple weeks ago I was reading a really neat post on the simple tracking features of the link shortening service and how you can use it to quickly see who is getting to links you’re putting out. If you had the time to make a unique link to some information, you could link the info vs. including it in an email, and a visit to the tracking page for the shortened link would give you a confirmation that someone has seen the link and read your email.

Shortened URL tracking

As you can see, it gives just enough information to be handy for confirmation of receipt. Plus there’s a link use-over-time graph that would really help someone with no other quick way to record popularity of a shared link. All you need is a working Gmail account/login.

When I see Google offering any method to submit a URL my SEO hat goes on right away and I have to speculate that if I was Google, I’d do well to crawl the destination URL of a popular shortened link, even if it isn’t found anywhere else online. This is something to really consider if you shorten a lot of URLs and have interests in Google caching the target URLs. Why use if there’s a chance will get you crawled faster?

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