We have all posted in the various social networking sites at one time or another. We may have even gotten involved in promotional campaigns using social media. In some of those micro-blogging sites, there are very strict character limits. It is easy to go to a site such as bit.ly or goo.gl and shorten a link that needs to be added. After all, this could occasionally save a huge number of characters.
Will this approach have a negative effect on you search engine optimization? The normal answer to that question will be “no, well behaved URL shorteners will give a ‘301 redirect’.” By issuing this type of redirect, the search engine will follow that link to the destination just as if it had seen the original link. Most link shorteners will be completely SEO friendly.
That leads into a second topic. Are Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites truly search engine friendly? This would receive the same answer as the last question. “Not generally. If the post has a ‘nofollow’ tag attached, it will not allow the search engines to visit any links included in the post.” If this is the case, what good are links in the social media posts? That is an interesting thought. Let’s say that you have 200 followers (some have thousands if not millions). You may post something with a link to your web site and it will be seen by those 200 people. Even if you get 5% of them to click the link, that would be ten visitors. You may post a link to your Yahoo Contributor Network article, such as this one. Those ten clicks equal money for YCN and for you.
Yes, link shorteners are a good thing. So is promotion through social networking sites. This approach would be even more productive if we could get more SEO value from social media, so maybe they will oblige soon. Meanwhile, keep working all of the promotional avenues that are available.