Social media / microblogging marketers can now use Google’s URL shortener at goo.gl which is a free, simple tool/service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters.
- Web links or URLs with fewer characters provide better usability to users who may want to share, tweet, retweet or email your URLs.
- Google URL shortener provides click reports on the number of clickthroughs your links receive.
Wikipedia defines URL shortening as:
URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a URL may be made substantially shorter in length. This involves using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short to link to a Webpage which has a long URL.
Google URL Shortener’s History
Brief history about Google’s URL shortener:
- December 2009: Google made the URL shortener available to Google Toolbar and FeedBurner.
- Between December 2009 and September 2010: The URL shortening feature was integrated to Google News, Blogger, Google Maps, Picasa Web Albums, and Google Moderator.
- September 2010: Google launched the URL shortening tool (goo.gl) to everyone globally.
Google URL shortener’s major objective is to provide stability, security and speed to users.
- Stability: We’ve had near 100% uptime since our initial launch, and we’ve worked behind the scenes to make goo.gl even stabler and more robust.
- Security: We’ve added automatic spam detection based on the same type of filtering technology we use in Gmail.
- Speed: We’ve more than doubled our speed in just over nine months.
Why Using URL Shortener
Google needed a url shortener for its own products where we knew the shortener wouldn’t go away. We also wanted a shortener that we knew would do things the right way (e.g. 301/permanent redirects), and that would be fast, stable, and secure.
Danny Sullivan provides a thorough story through Search Engine Land about different URL shorteners:
- Google’s URL shortener
- Twitter’s t.co
How to Use Google’s URL Shortener
Use Google’s URL shortener through the web version:
- Go to http://goo.gl/.
- Log on to your Google account.
- Copy and past your long URL on to Google’s URL shortener.
- Click the “Shorten” button.
- Copy the shortened URL and use it for your campaigns on social media sites / microblogging sites (e.g. Twitter, Google Buzz).
- Review your shortened URL’s click statistics.
Google’s URL shortener is unofficially available as Mozilla’s firefox add-on and Google’s Chrome extension:
Google URL Shortener Example
Short URL created through Google URL shortener:
The Google URL shortner reports will show:
- The number of clicks on the short URL
- The total number of clicks on all goo.gl short URLs pointing to the long URL
Other URL Shorteners
Besides Google’s URL shortener, other URL shortening tools are also popular to social media marketing users: