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?