Tip 7/21: Google vs. Bitly – Link Shorteners

[graybox]This is part of the 21 Google tips & tricks Series. Check out the other posts![/graybox]


[yellowbox] Update 2017: I currently use Pretty Link Pro (aff link) instead of goo.gl and bit.ly as it offers a better overall solution for my needs.[/yellowbox]

On social media platforms it's common for people to shorten links instead of using the full long URL and this is especially true for Twitter due to the 144 characters limit. Link shortening services have been around for quite a while now, but not everyone knows how to use them or why they should?

So before we dive into how to shorten your links with Google and Bitly link shorteners, which it’s ridiculously simple – let’s first understand the benefits of doing so.

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Why short.en links?

1. It looks better.

When sharing posts on social media, both post length and structure play an important role. Thanks to link shorteners you have the ability add a shortened version of your link to your post – i.e instead of sharing the full and long link to this blog post – www.danielfuterman.com/google-vs-bitly-link-shortening I could shorten the link and it will look like this: Google vs Bitly Link Shorteners

2. Analytics.

Link shortening services give you access to a personalized dashboard with tons of data about your links. Google's shortener provides the following data:

★ Total clicks on your shortened links (all time, monthly, weekly).
★ Referrals (where on the web the link was clicked).
★ Browsers (chrome, firefox, safari).
★ Countries.
★ Platform (mac, windows, tablet).

Google Link Shortener Dashboard

3. QR codes.

Google link shortener will automatically generate a QR code of shortened link for scanning on mobile devices.

Google Shortener QR Code

How to shorten links?

Head over to goo.gl and paste the full URL into the box. Click “Shorten URL” and you're done! It couldn't be more simple.

Google URL Link Shortener

 Make sure you're logged in to your Google account in order to save the link to your dashboard.

An honest insight, I use Bitly link shortener more often.

You all know that I love Google and their products. I wouldn't be doing this series otherwise. But when it comes to link shortening services I actually don't use Google’s shortener that often… I use Bitly instead. The simple truth is that the Bitly link shortener services is a more powerful and provides more tools and analytics.

Bitly link Shortening Explained

Bitly link shortener features:

1. Add a custom ending to your link (Google vs Bitly Link Shortners vs. Google vs Bitly Link Shortners).

Bitly Link Shortening Services

2. Create bundles (i.e. “Email marketing links”).

Bitly Bundles
3. See top performing shortened links:

Bitly Dashboard All Time Clicks

4. Better analyze link clicks:

Bitly Stats Dashboard

4. Set links as private or public.

5. Add notes and edit links description.

6. Integrate with other services via API (buffer, twitter, sniply)

7. Bitly link shortener Chrome Extension

The Bitly chrome extension is a huge time saver. Have a website you'd like to shorten? Click the bitly icon and the extension will shorten & copy the link to your clipboard with one click!

Bitly Chrome Extension

8. Created a Branded Short Domain!

Branded Short Domain – worth explaining!

+Dustin W. Stout from +dustn.tv does it best. When Dustin shares links via his brand they always start with his brand name (https://dustn.ws), and end with several additional characters (just like bit.ly & goo.gl) to make it unique. We won't get into branding in this post, but having a constant theme throughout your business is extremely important.


Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe created an awesome step by step tutorial on How To Create Your Own Custom Vanity URL for Branding and Traffic.

Cool tip – Track link clicks:

Let’s say you're about to send an urgent email to a client or friend with a link in it, and really need to know whether or not he clicked on that link. Instead of sending the long url – shorten the link and then you'll be able to see if and when the link was clicked!

[graybox]This is part of the 21 Google tips & tricks Series. Check out the other posts![/graybox]

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