Bit.ly are a free link shortening and tracking service.
I wrote about Bit.ly black listing links back on 27th Feb this year.
Most bloggers are aware of them and many still use their shortening service for tracking links.
The problem is they CAN control all your outgoing links if they want to.
Black Listing Links
What they can do and do do, is blacklist any links that are reported to them whenever they want.
So what does this mean?
This means they can blacklist any of your outgoing links for any reason.
Black Listing links will produce a warning to your readers who click that link causing problems for you.
LOSS of Search Engine Results
The search engines like Google and Bing can and do penalize site’s if they contain links that points to any site’s which Bit.ly have blacklisted.
Controlling Your Link Tracking
There’s several way to avoid using a link shortening and tracking service and take control of your outgoing links.
Simple URL’s – This is a free plugin which enables you to easily create, manage, shorten and track all your links in WordPress.
Ninja Affiliate – Best premium plugin which enables you to create, track and change all links quickly.
Pretty Links – Another free plugin for tracking links. Also offers a premium version which is better but not as good as Ninja Affiliate.
I’ve decided to deactivate all my Bit/ly shortened links using some php code in my themes functions file.
I’ll have to replace those links at some stage which will take some time. If i had of been using a plugin for this purpose rather than Bit.ly, i could do this for thousands of links without wasting any time or effort.
Bit.ly aren’t the only link tracking service which can do harm to your rankings.
This is why i’m switching to a plugin rather than let a third party service control or influence my links and rankings.
Update: Since writing this post and removing around 500 shortened links my traffic has more than doubled.