I read a good post on Search Engine Watch today about the possible effects of Google’s new URL shortener, https://goo.gl – similar in essence to Bit.ly and all those other URL shorteners people use to post links on Twitter, Facebook etc.
The article suggests that Google has very good reason to promote this service – it offers Google another way of measuring what people “like” on the web, even when they don’t have a website of their own from which to make links. That means that whilst traditionally, links from websites have counted as “votes”, not many web users actually had their own websites from which to link. Being able to track what users of social media sites are linking to adds a significant amount of web users to those empowered to “vote”.
Not only that, but because you’ll be logged in to your Google account, Google may well have some demographic data to associate with the link you’re making. And of course, Google can aggregate all the links being made through Goo.gl and get a picture of “what’s hot”, enabling it to inform its search results better when people are searching for related topics.
Of course, Google has a habit of changing its mind about services (goodbye Google Wave, pages being tracked in Google Reader etc.), but as the functionality is essentially the same as other URL shorteners, it might make sense to start using Goo.gl when making short links to your own pages for Tweets etc., just in case you do get that extra bit of SEO juice…