hkcMjRm: How to Use Google as URL Shortener
Google short URL: hkcMjRm.
Update December, 15th 2009: Try it with http://l.gog.is/hkcMjRm.
Sadly goo.gl is only available to Google Toolbar and Feedburner users as of now. I don't recommend the Google Toolbar for its spyware issues. I use Feedburner on this blog though.
Also many thanks to the man behind gog.is who introduced the "I'm feeling lucky" search results forwarding. This works like the "I'm feeling lucky" button on the actual Google search page. It redirects you to the first search result. This is still the best way to optimize for personal search. See below. Example: http://l.gog.is/seo+2.0
Post as originally published on December 9, 2009:
My first idea to deal with the new personal/ized Google search was: You have to make people click your search results, that is those you appear on in Google. We must do that in order to make Google save your URL as one that has been clicked by the user and thus will be found better next time.
Then there is the issue with unreliability of common URL shorteners. Just think of:
- tinyurl.com - often down for undisclosed reasons
- bit.ly - .ly stands for Libya, remember Lockerbie?
- tr.im - almost closed down, now often down for server issues
- poprl.com - disappeared altogether
- zi.ma - owner got imprisoned, hoster took it down for a while
Also I asked myself "why does Google not offer an URL shortener?" It could easily. So I came up with the idea of feeding two birds with one crumb (I don't kill birds with stones!) and to make Google work as an URL shortener.
How is that possible? Just think what the URL shorteners do. They create a random combination of letters like hkcMjRm add it as a new URL to their own domain and then redirect the traffic.
Thinks of what Google does. In case you're too lazy to type in all that http-www stuff you just type in your keyword or website name and get redirected to the first result. We'll do the same thing. [ Edit: After a few minutes this doesn't seem to work yet. You still have to click the search result manually.]
- We create a random combination of letters, 7 of them, here it's hkcMjRm. We can use a pasword creator for that task. I did that in Keepass but you can do that online as well using a password generator like this.
- Then we check Google results whether hkcMjRm already exists in search index. In case it doesn't we can use it. Most 7 letters combinations don't exist yet. I tried a few. 6 letters combinations often have one or a few results already.
- Now we copy and paste hkcMjRm into the URL bar and voila: We get redirected to the right destination but Google remembers that we used search for it. Or test it yourself just searching for it: hkcMjRm
There are of course downsides to this: For instance people may outrank you for your id URL using the same one but it will take a while. There is also another pro to this approach: You quickly see who uses your content or where it appears.
To make sure it works I used the hkcMjRm id both in the headline as well as inside the text but I guess a line like "Google short URL: hkcMjRm." will be enough for it to work long enough for people via Twitter using it.
Of course you don't even have to use cryptic random letters. You can just take the headline or parts of it like I did yesterday with google.com? I got outranked by tweetmeme already a day later.
This is quick and dirty but I'm sure some people can make it work for them. I guess Google will sooner or later present their own URL shortening service anyways. Until then you might want to try this. At least this way it works for better ranking personal search until of course many people abuse this technique and Google stops it.