In a significant change in the Acceptable Use Policy, short links made with services such as TinyURL and Bit.ly will follow a redirect to whatever link they point to. The use of these services was previously allowed so long as they were not abused.
The ‘no-follow’ tag is used when a webmaster wishes to tell the search engines not to pass link juice through a specific link. This might be due to the website being new, or linking out to web pages which are owned by competitors.
As of this morning on Web master World, some members are reporting that they are no longer able to incorporate these shortened links on their sites.
Shortened URLs that do not violate our Terms of Service will remain active and continue working as they always have."
Some of you may have noticed that shortened links do not have "nofollow" tags applied to them anymore. This is because we have decided that they should be followed, just as all other outbound links are crawled and followed currently. We believe that shorteners/advertisers who follow our guidelines deserve the same treatment as other advertisers on AdSense who also follow our policies."
Title: Google Says "No Follow" Tag for Shortened Links Will No Longer Be Used (Unless They're Spammy)
Description: In a significant change in the Acceptable Use Policy, short links made with services such as TinyURL and Bit.ly will follow a redirect to whatever link they point to. The use of these services was previously allowed so long as they were not abused.
Author: Dan Shure
Date: January 24, 2012
Categories: Google Search Algorithm, Google Updates, Link Building
Tag(s): bit.ly "no-follow" google update webmasters
2 comments:"No Follow" tag for shortened links Now Followed by Google? - BNOTIONS BLOG http://bit.ly/xIw8E4 #seo","No Follow" tag for shortened links Now Followed by Google? - BNOTIONS BLOG http://bit./xpDYmf #seo" "no-follow" tag for shortened links Now Followed by Google? - BNOTIONS BLOG http://bit.ly/ykaUUM #seo <img src="http://www.backlinkspider.com/image/event_badge.gif" border=0>
Webmasters who use URL shorteners such as TinyURL and Bitly should be aware that those services now follow a redirect, regardless of whether or not the link is nofollowed within the webpage where the shortener is used. On January 24th, 2012, Google's Head of Webspam Matt Cutts posted an explanation on his blog: For quite some time now we've had systems in place to detect and block comment spam using shortened URLs in the link schemes we detect. While these systems have been effective, they aren't very scalable - it's difficult to differentiate between comment spam and valid short URLs pointing to actual websites (for example http://bit.ly/r9R0mq). As a result, we've developed a more robust system that treats URL shorteners differently than other types of rel=nofollow links...Some of you may have noticed that shortened links do not have "nofollow" tags applied to them anymore. This is because we have decided that they should be followed, just as all other outbound links are crawled and followed currently. We believe that shorteners/advertisers who follow our guidelines deserve the same treatment as other advertisers on AdSense who also follow our policies. To clarify, Google is not forbidding the use of URL shorteners nor are they forbidding the creation of shortened links that point to a different website. However, if a URL shortener does not have a policy in place of redirecting shortened links to their original destination and does not allow for user customization (i.e., custom short URLs), then that URL shortening service is considered spammy by Google and will likely be banned from using AdSense despite any nofollow command placed within the webpage's HTML code where the link is embedded. For example, if someone created a TinyURL account for the sole purpose of creating shortened links which redirect back to his or her own website without any other destination URLs, then that account will be considered spammy by Google. As a result, the user in this case would not be allowed to use AdSense with that TinyURL account because it violates one or more of AdSense's policies including "Creating misleading links...using URL shortener". However, if someone creates a shortened link using TinyURL and places the nofollow tag within the webpage's HTML code where he or she is using the link, then Google will continue to honor the nofollow command even though it's being used on a URL which redirects back to its original source. This policy primarily targets individuals who are creating automated accounts for the sole purpose of generating large volumes of shortened links which redirect back to their own website without any links to other destinations. For more information on Google's policy towards URL shorteners, please refer to the official Google Webmaster Central Blog.
Posted by Matt Cutts at 6:23 AM - 2 comments
I'm not entirely sure, but it sounds like they are nofollowing these urls because they are spammy. I am curious if the quality scores change when Google goes back and rereads the content on your site after you've changed your urls to use a link shortener if that may have an impact on rankings? February 1, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Hi John! Looks like this is actually something which is done automatically by Google. First of all, for those who don't know what "no follow" means...it's basically telling search engines not to follow certain links within any webpage on a domain (if you place this command within the <head> section of your HTML code). I wouldn't worry too much about it, but I would also include your current webpages' links on your website's "Resources" page along with any link shorteners you use. By doing this, Google will most likely re-index all of the links on both pages and follow each one...thus helping to diversity (if done properly) your overall link portfolio. Good luck! February 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM
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