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I have the chance to put a link to a project on the frontpage of a high traffic directory, but it has a character limit and the URL of the page I want to link is much longer. The project has a secondary domain for short URLs, but due to technical restrictions out of my control, this short URL doesn't redirect to the original page, but to a duplicate version with canonical tag pointing to it; therefore the link would be:

Short URL with redirect 301 --> Duplicate page with canonical tag --> Intended page

What would be the SEO effect of doing this? Google would still give full value to the original page or would it get diluted in the redirects and give nothing?

  • Just curious... what's the character limit they impose on the URL? Can you use an alternative URL shortening service (or does that mess with branding)? – MrWhite Mar 15 '17 at 15:02
  • It's 28 not counting http://, and the original page has 65 which I can't customize because I don't have full access to the CMS. And yea, for branding reasons I'd rather use the custom domain. – Stealth Mar 15 '17 at 15:10
  • At 28 chars it's like they are trying to limit URLs to domains only?! But anyway, that's deviating from your question... – MrWhite Mar 15 '17 at 15:16
  • Yes, it's intended for root domains, but I want to link a specific landing page. – Stealth Mar 15 '17 at 15:20
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...on the frontpage of a high traffic directory

The word "directory" does ring alarm bells these days. "Old fashioned" directory sites carry very little (if any) SEO weight. So, having the link may not be worth much anyway. However, the front page of this "directory" site could be different - YMMV.

What would be the SEO effect of doing this?

Ideally, you would not link to a redirected URL. However, you would not expect a hugely negative effect on SEO.

Google would still give full value to the original page or would it get diluted in the redirects and give nothing?

It may not be the "full value", but it will be considerably better than "nothing"! A certain amount of "page rank" is lost through a redirect, as it is through an ordinary link (as stated by Matt Cutts back in 2013). So, it could well be diluted "a bit".

A canonical tag advises the search engines that the linked canonical page should be returned in the SERPs when a search would otherwise return "this one". So, the "intended page" should be the URL that is returned in the SERPs if Google determines that the linked canonical page is indeed "canonical".

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