August 8, 2012

Shorten and Track Your Links with Google URL Shortener




How do you share content found on a website or blog? Mostly you don't wanna copy and paste whole bunch of content you find in the source page. However you can do that if you share via email. But rather than sending content, you would prefer to share link or URL of the source content. If you are sharing links on micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, sharing whole link won't leave you much room to include your intended message as they impose character limitations in messages. Well, you can't send an URL partially. What if you can shorten the URL you sharing into few characters and able to find how many of users actually clicked on your shared link?


URL Shorteners


You may have heard of URL shorteners. If not, it is a service which converts your standard long URL into a short URL with few characters which points to the same content or page. For example, the URL of this post is http://www.mayura4ever.com/2012/08/google-url-shortener.html and if you make use of an URL shortening service to shorten this URL, it will come out as http://shorten/Pmzwv or like that but when someone clicks on that shorten URL, that person will land on the source page URL which has been shorten. Isn't it really shorty? Haven't your tried it out? You will find it more convenient when you sharing links on micro-blogging sites. Further, usually URL shorteners provide analytics for particular shorten URLs or links, so you can track how many people clicked on that link and related information.


Google URL Shortener


The Google URL Shortener is one of them. Google URL shortener is a reliable service provided by Google. If you are a Google account holder, you can access and manage your short URL history and review click analytics for each shortened URL easily. Hence, it's not only to save space when sharing, but also very useful as you can find more about the users who clicked on your shared short URL.

On the aspect of security, Google URL Shortener warns you if the URL points to a phishing, spam or insecure websites. Further you can grab QR code for your shortened link or URL. So you would find this service very useful for you and URL shortening is just simple as ABC. Anyway analytics of shorten URLs can be accessible by anyone, if they know how. It doesn't matter, right?


Before You Go:

You need to have a Google account to save your short URL history with analytics corresponds to each URL. Don't you have a Google account? Create a new account before you proceed.


Steps:

1. Sign in to your Google account.

2. Go to Google URL Shortener website.

3. Now paste your long URL aka actual URL in the text box.


4. Click Shorten URL button.

5. Now you will see the short URL for your entered URL right next to Shorten button. Use it when you share or email content or links to your friends.



More Information:

* When you logged in to your Google account, Google URL Shortener creates random short URLs for the same URL each time you shorten them. So you can share same content multiple times with different short URLs and able to view analytics for individual short URL.

* On the dashboard, you can see all the short URLs you have created while you were signed in. It depicts relevant details and no one has the accessibility to your short URL history.


* You can hide URLs or links from your dashboard using Hide button. Eventhough you hide URLs from your dashboard, the short URL will remain public.


* You need to keep in mind that, all the individual short URL analytics are public. You can see click analytics for your created short URLs by clicking Details link corresponds to your short URL in the dashboard.


Alternatively, you can see analytics by appending .info at the end of your short URL too. But it doesn't reveal the identity of the user who created short URLs.

i.e: http://goo.gl/ABCDE.info


Enjoy :-)




Awesome! Thanks for coming by and taking your time to read this post :) I hope you have learnt something today. Now you can share it with your friends and I'd love to hear from you too.






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Lisa Buben said...

Mayura, what is the difference between Google shortner and Bitly for example? I wonder if the Google one would be better for SEO. Have to check it out - Thanks for sharing.

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Lisa,

Google URL shorterner doesn't add big SEO value to your links. But it can crawl by Google bots and follows techniques of Google when handling URLs such as if those URLs are redirected to another domain or so. I think you can get to know more at Matt Cutts' post about Google's shortener ~ Goo.gl url shortener is now open to everyone!.

Cheers...

Jeevan Jacob John said...

Hey Mayura,
I have used Google shortener in the past, when I was using Blogger (I still use it with, but this time with Feedburner Socialize feature which automatically shares your blog post every time you publish one). I don't see any advantage to it, do you? (I use bit.ly and buffer app for sharing tweets, both provide value information like the clicks I get).

Adrienne said...

I personally use Bitly because it tracts the clicks to my links.  I do know that there are so many different services out there though that can shorten your links and I'm not surprised that Google has jumped on that boat too.

Always a pleasure learning from you Mayura.

~Adrienne

Praveen Rajarao said...

Mayura - Nice to know about the Google URL shortener service, there are many out there and they are easy for bloggers to track and share. Thanks for sharing.

Mok said...

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know Google URL Shortener is open to public before reading this. What I did in the past to generate Google short URL was using Feedburner Socialize tool. I prefer Google short URL over other shortener service because you know they are against linking to phishing and spam websites.

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Adrienne,

Goo.gl or Bit.ly are popular and reliable URL shorteners and what we mostly aware of analytics except for shortening our links. However functionality of them are quite similar and yet I have nothing much to differentiate except its Google and follow Google search tactics. As you already use Bit.ly, you may find that how much useful it is.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and compliments dear :)

Cheers...

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Praveen,

Absolutely mate :) URL shorteners provide us opportunity to track each links and save resources when sharing too. Bloggers can definitely make use of 'em.

Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your views on it mate :)

Cheers...

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Mok,

I can agree with that and it adds protection by warning you if links points to spammy or phishing websites. Yeah, it was started to use with FeedBurner service and now open to public too. Though analytics are public, you need to know how ;) Anyway now you already learnt it.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

Cheers...

Mayura De Silva said...

Hey Jeevan,

Actually, Goo.gl and Bit.ly has similar functionalities. Links shortened by Google can easily crawled by Google and when it comes to page redirects and sort of SEO stuff, it works efficiently. Further, provide protection against spammy and phishing sites. But not a huge advantage for us, as we are not into bad stuff :)

FeedBurner is the first service which offered Google shortener service to send links to Twitter when new content available. But as it's now public, you can make use of it, but it's our choice :) I'm using Bit.ly with Buffer to share tweets, but Goo.gl with my official blog tweets to track 'em separately.

Thanks for commenting and for sharing your experience on URL shorteners mate :)

Cheers...

Jeevan Jacob John said...

Of course, Google shorteners have their own privileges, because of being owned by Google itself :D

Same here, both Bit.ly and Buffer gives me great detail on how my tweets perform and the best time to tweet :)

Sylviane Nuccio said...

Hum, that's interesting. I always use Bitly and I see that Lisa just ask the right question that you answered here.  

As a matter of fact I do use bitly only for my email marketing and don't really use URL shortner for anything else, but I will try this just to see :)Thanks Mayura :)

Mayura De Silva said...

Ha ha :D That's true enough Jeevan. Google on its way ;) As I said, I do use Buffer and Tweriod help me find best times and sync them with Buffer too :)

Cheers...

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Sylviane,

Oops... Well, you already know the answer there dear ;) It's a matter of choice and selecting a different URL shortener doesn't impose a bigger risk. Shorteners helpful as they can track clicks and provide analytics while saving space in tweets.

Yet I recommend Goo.gl or Bit.ly as they have similar functionalities. Hope you will give it a shot though :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting dear :)

Cheers...

donna_tribe said...

Hi Mayura,
Every time I come to your blog, I learn a new thing.  I was using tinyurl.  But the heck with that now...there are more benefits in Google URL Shortner.  If using that, and it can crawl by Google bots instead of going to another domain, it is a great way to go.
Thanks soooo much!
Donna

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Donna,

Many URL shorteners are out there but I think we need to find what's best for us. URL shorteners doesn't cost you and then why we don't go for one with awesome features. Isn't it true Donna? :)

I'm really glad you found it very useful and hope you love the way it works as I do. You can try and find how it goes :)

Thanks for stopping by and I really appreciate your compliments dear :) Really means to me.

Cheers...

The *Official AndreasCY* said...

Hey Mayura this is another great post buddy! I'm reading what you write often but sometimes your posts fits exactly to my questions :) i already tried some of these well known services for shortening our urls like bit.ly, Goo.gl etc. and i find them really useful and of course are making the links more user friendly..i was searching though for an automatic way that will help us to share shortened the post links without having the need to visit a different page and generally losing time on this..it helps also those people who do not know these services and just want to share fast a post just by clicking a provided button..its like food ready in their plate :) i am using the "Add this" service as sharing buttons and i was skeptical how i can make Add this to share as shortened the links..and how we edit the sharing twitter message so each time we click the tweet button to share a pre-formatted message with the basics like post title - shortened link -via @.... etc. Thank you for your attention and your great help you to all of my questions! These for now! :)

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Andreas,

You can use bit.ly to shorten links when sharing via AddThis. But not Goo.gl mate. Refer AddThis - URL Shortening to know about how to configure bit.ly with AddThis :)

Make sure you are using header script as mentioned on Add Share Buttons for Your Blogger Posts with AddThis. That's where you need to add shortening code of AddThis. Also there you can configure your tweet format too.

Always glad to hear from you and thanks for your wonderful compliments mate :)

Cheers...

The *Official AndreasCY* said...

Thank you so much!! I ll try to figure it out!!

Brad said...




I use http://www.ttwi.st which is a premium URL shortener
made for Internet Marketers. They are Clickbank friendly, have great tracking
and have their own API. Your stats are also your own rather than having links
shared with other people like some other URL shorteners.

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Brad,


As I think and according to stats, most of users happy with the free URL shorterners such as goo.gl, bit.ly, ow.ly as they have useful features such as tracking, redirection and offer demographic data. It's true that data is publicly available on some services, but I think it's not a major disadvantage on most occasions Brad :)



Anyway, users can select what URL shortener service matters to them :) Someone may like premium features as you do. Or else just use a free service if the features available are enough for them.


Thanks for sharing your insights on the URL shortener you use :)


Cheers...

Inity Jobs said...

Are there any SEO benefits of using Goo.gl or Google url shortner?

Though spammers would definitely be using it...

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Mate,


Well, as it's a product of Google, it's much more compatible with Google web crawlers. So Google easily crawls shortened URLs and handle redirections well there. Obviously, Google friendly, not all search engines. But it's much nothing to obsess with SEO, but to make use of the shortener well to track users and get analytics to analyze :)

Spammers can use 'em too. But if it directs to spammy or phishing sites, then it will automatically block and the shorten URL will be invalid.


Cheers...

Alison said...

Hi,
I recently created a Google shortlink, but was not signed in to my Google account. Is there a way I can track analytics for the link I created or is this information lost? I thought maybe Google stores this somewhere for all links.
Thanks,
Alison

Mayura De Silva said...

Hi Alison,


Don't worry! Still you can access the analytics :)

As I've mentioned at the end of this post, alternatively you can access analytics by appending .info at the end of your short URL. You will find analytics regarding your short URL there.