URL Shortening: Avoiding Mistakes and Making the Most of Your Links

PHAN TRUONG AN Published on August 20, 2021

You'll probably need a URL shortener if you share stuff online. And if you're not, come and chat to me, I know you can utilize an extremely good custom link shortener! But did you realize that when it comes to URL shortening there are certain significant no-nos?

Things that could cost you, brand awareness and clicks, worst of all! We all want additional clicks, do we not? Here I'll guide you through and how to prevent the top URL shortening errors.

The Seven Murderous URL Reduction

1. Making Use of a Random URL Slug

Using a random URL slug – also known as a slashtag – is the most common issue that social media marketers face right now.

Do you think I'm exaggerating? What would you do if you discovered an extra 100 website visits every month? And all it takes is a few minutes of your time – or, better yet, the time of an employee.
Social media managers and digital marketers will A/B test an ad or landing page as if it will change their lives, but they won't take the extra 2 minutes on social media to make their link "beautiful" with a branded domain and bespoke keyword for the URL slug.
I recommend that you always put in the extra effort up front to reap the long-term rewards of enhanced link trust and possibly a tiny SEO bump.

Use a Benefit-Driven URL Slug that is Descriptive.
This is where Rand was correct. Unfortunately, Rand's rankings for "voice" will suffer as a result of his use of bit.ly, a public generic URL shortener that is blacklisted.

And, with a name like his, he's not going to lose much confidence by having a generic domain name in his link. But you're probably not Rand Fishkin. And if you are, Rand, I am a tremendous admirer!

When generating a brief link, consider what aspect of the content you're providing will truly wow people. Then include that word in the URL slug. I've used phrases like "get-more-traffic," "Twitter-cheatsheet," and "increase-customer-happiness." Find the sweet spot between ensuring it is connected to the customer/user and the URL you are sharing.

People can remember and spell common sentences, but they can't remember or spell random babble.

2. Making Use of a Generic Domain
URL shortening is now an established industry with a plethora of complex capabilities. One of these capabilities is the ability to link branded domains quickly and cheaply. You may do it in Bitly, with yourls, or with Rebrandly. Whichever one you like is alright with me. (Please, please, please choose Rebrandly!)

OK, but seriously, we have a domain search and purchase option that makes choosing and purchasing the proper name to use as your custom link shortener a breeze.

Here are a few reasons why you should start utilizing your own custom link shortener:

Branding - If you're going to share links on the internet, do you want to promote your own brand or someone else's?

Again, we're doing this to make folks feel confident in the link they're about to click on. True, the majority of that trust stems from your brand's relationship with the client, but it extends all the way through the link. What are individuals thinking just before clicking on the link? Something along the lines of, "Where will this take me?" Also, "this had better be worth my time." Link trust removes that barrier, resulting in more clicks. Use your psychology, guy!

Improved SEO - Using any link shortener has no effect on SEO. The click-through rate, on the other hand, does. If employing a branded link shortener enhances CTR, you will receive more clicks and rank higher as a result. For most people or brands, this isn't a magical or visible boost, but it exists. We are nearing the end of a case study on the effects of branded URL shorteners on SEO. In the meantime, you may learn everything you need to know about SEO and URLs right here.

Improved Tracking — Yes, you can trace links using a generic URL shortener. When using numerous custom domains, however, you can separate your content by domain and track campaigns accordingly. You may also create campaigns using additional features. For example, when sharing branding-related articles, I use brandings.link, and when sharing our own blog pieces, I use rebrandly.blog. I do this to split the two sorts of material into distinct domain "buckets," as well as to offer value to my audience by providing keywords related to what they should anticipate to find on the other side of the link.

3. Failure to use UTM parameters
If you've ever used Google Analytics, you'll know that not all traffic can be traced back to its source. Sometimes traffic comes in as "direct" from Twitter or other sources.

If you're a social media marketer whose employment is dependent on the outcomes you deliver, this can be disastrous because you're losing credit for website traffic and conversions.

4. Reporting on Metrics Containing Massive Bot Traffic
Let's say you posted a post with your 500 followers and subsequently got 45 website traffic as a result of it. Despite the fact that you did not receive a single retweet...

Most likely not! The majority of the traffic you're seeing is bot traffic. Bots are all over the internet, crawling all of your pages and clicking all of your links, skewing your data. Some generic URL shortening services do not eliminate bot traffic from their analytics, which is simply insulting to marketers and raises their expectations.

There are a few methods for cross-referencing a URL shortener's click report with other data sources. Begin with Google Analytics first. If you used UTM parameters in the link, you'll be able to monitor how many new page visits and unique visitors came in as a result. You can compare the outcomes.

5. Creating Links That Are Too Short
Yes… It's referred to as a link shortener, but it's not 2010. We can now shorten links for our own benefit, not merely for the sake of decreasing them. Because Twitter has standardized all URLs to be 23 characters long, the size of your links is irrelevant when constructing them. If I had to choose between two equally tempting options, I would go with shorter.

If your company's name is Acme Tires and you're thinking about registering a domain, don't do the following:


Instead, do the following:

acmetires.xyz, acme.xyz, or tires.xyz

Depending on your brand and the keywords you want to target, any of them could work.

And don't do this if you already have a domain and are sharing a link on Hubcaps:


Instead, make it the entire length:


Alternatively, make it a little more benefit-driven:


6. Link Shortening a Link Shortening a Link Shortening a Link Shortening a Link Short
This is one of my pet peeves. Have you ever clicked on a link and the website took forever to load? That could be due to a double redirect – or the site simply being extremely slow to load.

Essentially, the link you click sends individuals from one URL to another, and then to a third. It should happen as quickly as possible so that it goes unnoticed. If you're going to shorten a link, be sure it's the final destination rather than someone else's already abbreviated URL.

7. Failure to capitalize keywords
Do you want to know what the issue is with many of the generic link shorteners available?

Uppercase letters are treated differently from lowercase letters.

Assume you're presenting at an event and want everyone to go to derric.link/slides to download the slide deck you're discussing. (By the way, if you want to download a presentation about social media methods, that is a true example.) Imagine having to explain to everyone, "Oh, it's a capital 'S,'"

It doesn't make any sense... That is not how the human mind functions. We don't want to remember if something is in capitals or lowercase.

That is why Rebrandly does not use case sensitivity - so that users can find your links more easily.

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