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Providing shorter links to articles

short links, alternate urls

   
6:24 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi all. Have a site that publishes articles with an SE friendly url, but it tends, based on the article title, to be a little long, and maybe cumbersome to include in emails, etc.

Some users have resorted to using 'shorter url' sites, and while I have no problem with this, I was considering offering my users my own 'shorter link'. Essentially, where the article will still be linked internally on my site to the SE friendly URL, and this SE friendly URl will be included in the sitemap, etc, I'll add some kind of 'get shorter link' functionality.

Article at:
http://www.example.com/articles/news/latest/this-is-the-article-name

Shorter link:
http://example.com/12gu3f45g

I plan on doing a rewrite via Apache to route the shorter link to a bootstrap script that will then forward the user to the main url, but am worried that by having multiple url's to the same content I may be punished by search engines, especially in that the shorter url will be published right on the page. Should my bootstrap script send a 301 header so that the page doesn't get indexed? Any thoughts?

Thanks!

4:07 pm on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm not entirely sure a 301-redirect would be the right approach, as you'll end up with LOTS of them on your site and that's not necessarily a good idea.

What you definitely should do is include a rel='canonical' reference on all your articles with the full search engine friendly URL in it. That should prevent Google from penalising you for duplicate content.

4:39 pm on Jan 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Perfect, reading about the 'canonical' inclusion from Google, it seems like that is the right choice. hadn't heard of that, thanks!

For reference, here's Google's usage of canonical:

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

6:27 am on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Also take a look at rev="canonical".