Which backlink would carry more weight in terms of SEO between the original URL to a webpage (like
http://www.example.com/Zqe9) or a URL shortened from Google (like
I agree with Geoff's answer, that you'd want to go with the original URL every time. The reasons being:
- The link will carry less link juice. Yes, in the case of Google, that may be a very very small amount, but other search engines will vary.
- The original URL will (likely) be more descriptive of what content is there, including keywords in the file path and domain name.
- The URL shortening service may not exist for as long as the destination page does. If Google, in this case, decided to kill the goo.gl shortener next week, you'd have links pointing to nowhere.
- The original link is likely much more memorable for humans than the shortened one. ie. example.com/my-page.html is easier to remember than goo.gl/aso4ug7f.
- Shortened URLs aren't trust worthy. People use them to link to malware all the time, because they can disguise the actual destination. Some people will actively avoid clicking on shortened links for that reason.
While some of the above reasons may not seem like they pertain to SEO, you have to remember that a search engine tries to surface the URLs that they believe the user will want to see most. Which is why the user experience related points above actually do have an effect on SEO. For example, if your URL is easier to remember, it's easier to tell a friend about that URL via word of mouth, which makes it more likely that friend may link to your URL online.
The original URL every time because any shortened URL's have to pass through a redirect (which incidentally in Google, doesn't actually lose much weight at all).
Google understands that there are reasons to use a 301 redirect and any cost can be negated. However, Google also says that a 301 redirect should be avoided unless necessary. I understand the need to short URL(s) for things like Twitter. This makes sense. However, URI paths and file names are important factors for ranking for keywords. Google echos this. If you need to use a shortend URL for redirect then use it. But for the actual web page, I would not use a shortend name at all. I would redirect to a URL/URI that represents your 2 or 3 most important keywords. Google sees the page URL/URI being redirected to and this is what Google indexes and not the shortend URL.