Make links more memorable with a custom, short domain

Make links more memorable with a custom, short domain

13.Sep.2021

When you first set up a custom short URL, the default “title” is typically something like:

https://moz.com/article?src=XXXXXX

Where the XXXXXX is replaced with a randomly generated string of numbers and letters. In theory, this should be enough to help searchers find your content without even clicking on it, because what they can see right there in the search results will match what they were searching for...right?? And if someone already knows your brand well enough, maybe that's enough... But… Here are some issues with using these random strings as link titles:

URL length – The chance of a long-tail keyword containing 4 or more words into a single search is very low. The search tail for a single, long-tail keyword might be 15 or 20 words. That means a link title with 3-4 words will become too lengthy to be effective.

Search engine optimization (SEO) – If someone clicks your custom short URL and it leads them to the same page they were planning on clicking (i.e., if there is no difference in content between that clicked link and the other results), then SEO value was lost. It’s also possible that Google “sees through” your link shortener and still understands the original source of the page; this could mean SEO loss as well.

Visibility – With attention spans shrinking and social media feeds filling up quickly, people may not even see your link in the first place if it is excessively long.

So, I’d like to propose you think of a title for your custom short URL that does three things:

1) Shortens the link (ideally keeps it under 20 characters); this will make it visible and more likely to be clicked on (especially when shared on social media) 2) Keeps trackable analytics data (such as Google Analytics UTM parameters…more on those later), and 3) Conveys what the content is about. This last suggestion can take many forms; one example that we've started testing at Moz is using our main keyword phrase as the title, i.e., "link building" vs. "Moz: link building."

Why would I want to use a custom short URL?

- Shorten the link (ideally keeps it under 20 characters); this will make it visible and more likely to be clicked on (especially when shared on social media)

- Keeps trackable analytics data (such as Google Analytics UTM parameters…more on those later), and

- Conveys what the content is about. This last suggestion can take many forms; one example that we've started testing at Moz is using our main keyword phrase as the title, i.e., "link building" vs. "Moz: link building."

What should I include in my custom short URL?

Include either your brand or your main keyword phrase

- Moz's custom short URLs include "moz.cm."

- But you could also use www.yourbrand.com/keywordphrase if your brand is already established and people know how to spell it! For example, Buffer uses the title of their blog post for their short URLs: www.bufferapp.com/blog/posttitle vs. buffer.com/someurl

How do I create a custom short URL?

The custom URL feature is currently in beta and no longer requires an invitation code to use (cool!). Simply head over to bitly and sign up there with the same email address that you use for Moz—that will link up all your accounts so you can get started right away (plus the step-by-step tutorial video at bit.ly/mozorgcustomshorturl is really helpful).

 

Cool! So links like this:

http://bit.ly/MozCM

will go to Moz's link building article (URL shortened with bitly.) How do I know? Because both my Twitter and Facebook share of this post will include "Moz: link building" as the title in addition to a shortened URL, and it takes me to Moz's page with that exact title—"link building"—just like I expected when I shared it (and if you don't see that for your posts on social media, make sure your custom short URLs are set up with UTM parameters so you can see that data in Google Analytics. See more at bit.ly/mozorgcustomshorturl.)

Moz: link building

Title: Make links more memorable with a custom, short domain

Content: So links like this: http://bit.ly/MozCM will go to Moz's link building article (URL shortened with bitly.) How do I know? Because both my Twitter and Facebook share of this post will include "Moz: link building" as the title in addition to a shortened URL, and it takes me to Moz's page with that exact title—"link building"—just like I expected when I shared it (and if you don't see that for your posts on social media, make sure your custom short URLs are set up with UTM parameters so you can see that data in Google Analytics. See more at bit.ly/mozorgcustomshorturl.)

- Moz's custom short URLs include "moz.cm."

- But you could also use www.yourbrand.com/keywordphrase if your brand is already established and people know how to spell it! For example, Buffer uses the title of their blog post for their short URLs: www.bufferapp.com/blog/posttitle vs. buffer.com/someurl

Why should I use a custom short URL?

Include either your brand or your main keyword phrase

Include either your brand or your main keyword phrase

How do I create a custom short URL?

The custom URL feature is currently in beta and no longer requires an invitation code to use (cool!). Simply head over to bitly and sign up there with the same email address that you use for Moz—that will link up all your accounts so you can get started right away (plus the step-by-step tutorial video at bit.ly/mozorgcustomshorturl is really helpful).

 

- Moz's custom short URLs include "moz.cm."

- But you could also use www.yourbrand.com/keywordphrase if your brand is already established and people know how to spell it! For example, Buffer uses the title of their blog post for their short URLs: www.bufferapp.com/blog/posttitle vs. buffer.com/someurl

How do I create a custom short URL?

The custom URL feature is currently in beta and no longer requires an invitation code to use (cool!). Simply head over to bitly and sign up there with the same email address that you use for Moz—that will link up all your accounts so you can get started right away (plus

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