Is Google+ URL Shortener gplus.to Keeping Your Link Juice?

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Google+ URL Shortener gplus.to was introduced to me by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable the other day via this Twitter post. It should come as no suprise that I immediately loaded the root URL and created my own Google+ shortened link with nary a thought about SEO or long term value. Sign up first and ask questions later is my motto. Well for some reason today I decided, out of the blue, to check the HTTP status code. For those not familiar with the HTTP status codes, or the SEO implications of which code is returned, I refer you to how HTTP status codes impact SEO over on SEOMoz. For those who just want the gist of it, continue below.

[Update: to be clear gplus.to is NOT an official Google product!]

I went to several HTTP status code checkers and sure enough http://gplus.to/kevinmullett, as seen below, is a 302 redirect rather than the preferred 301 redirect. In short this means that any potential link juice stays with the domain gplus.to instead of being passed to https://plus.google.com/111355895099122965371 my actual Google+ account. At least that is the commonly held opinion based on what we’ve seen in the wild. Most URL shorteners like bit.ly use the 301 HTTP status code. It could and has been argued that some link juice will pass and that eventually Google figures out that it isn’t a temporary move. BING has indicated in the past they don’t index 302 URL’s, but in other instances indicated they treat 302′s the same as a 301′s. Either way I would feel a lot better if the correct 301 moved permanently status was given.

gplus.to Is Not A 301

A larger point to be considered is who in the heck is gplus.to owned by and will they be around? I don’t know for sure, but research seems to indicate that it is hosted by Natro Communication in Turkey. See WhoIs and Netblock owner.

What does this all mean? It means I am not likely to be adding the gplus.to link to profiles and almost certainly will not be adding it to any printed materials.

Have you created a gplus.to link already? Does this change your mind on usage? Will you use it anyway? Comment below or hit me up on Google+ » http://gplus.to/kevinmullett. See what I did there?

15 thoughts on “Is Google+ URL Shortener gplus.to Keeping Your Link Juice?

  1. Don Rhoades

    As I read your article Kevin, I recalled RT’ing something earlier from Michael Streko with claims that gplus dot to was not affiliated with Google. I read from the Know’Em blog (written by Barry Wise) that the site is a rogue! I rarely sign up 1st and ask questions later anymore, I’ve touched that glowing hot stove top before.

    Link to tweet via @streko — http://twitter.com/streko/status/88340889281380352

    Link to knowem blog post — http://knowem.com/blog/2011/07/05/warning-new-gplus-to-site-not-affiliated-with-google/

  2. Kevin Mullett Post author

    Thank you for the thought and links! I tend to put my fanny out there a little to far to test things for clients and occasionally get bit. Not sure how they would use this data though as it is didn’t require authentication and is publicly view able info, but still should have checked it out first.

  3. Allen

    I signed up quickly as you did. Is there any way to undo this? If I never give out the url will they still be able to access my account since they have my account number?
    Thanks,
    Allen

  4. Kevin Mullett Post author

    Keep in mind that the user ID number you put in to create the short URL is publicly view able and no account authentication occurred during the setup. This means that while not technically the only thing that could happen, certainly the primary issue is if you start handing it out and they pull the plug.

  5. Jeff

    IF they do pull the plug, can we not just default to the G+ version when they release it, at the same time will we be able to change it when The G+ version is out.??

  6. Kevin Mullett Post author

    You could always revert to using the default G+ link, but any post, profile, or link you created with it would stop forwarding. I.E. it would be a broken link. Also any printed material you would put it on, because that is a good use of short URL’s, would also stop working.

  7. shaheen

    i created in gplus.name site and gplus.to.. the outlook of gplus.to is quite qood.. but gplus.name.. was looking weird.. can we trust this site..

    is it safe.. if dont use this shortcut url to inform my friends…?? kept it for my personal use..???

    please reply…

  8. Kevin Mullett Post author

    The gplus.name service also uses a 302 status code and is subject to the same potential shortcomings of gplus.to and ongpl.us service. You have no control over where they may send choose to send your shortened url too.

  9. Kristi

    I set mine up and now it’s redirecting to another person’s page that I had viewed before signing up. That’s kind of annoying.

  10. Pingback: Google Plus custom URLs | My Local Business Forum

  11. Alain

    It appears gplus.to is down right now (forever?)… Oops, my bad for choosing this as a vanity URL… :(

  12. Kevin Mullett Post author

    Thanks for the heads up Alain. I checked and it was down yesterday, but it is back up today. Not sure how long the gplus.to outage lasted, but every service has a blip now and then. Still not something I recommend to clients.

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