Should you get a custom URL for your Google+ Page?

by on February 23, 2014

Google Plus Custom URLGetting a custom URL (ie. web address) for Google+ has been around for a while – I brought it up in a previous newsletter from a few months back. (Don’t miss out by signing up for my free updates, chock full of small business marketing ammo.)

A custom URL means that you have an address for your Google+page that is actual words versus a series of numbers.

For example:

And with a custom URL, it would be something like this:*

(*I have not yet been approved for a custom URL on my biz profile, see below if you’re in the same boat).

In this post I’d like to touch on why you should get one, how to get one, and what to do if you don’t like the URL you’re assigned.

Do I really need a custom G+ URL?

Generally, if Google offers something up, you can assume that getting on board will put you in their good graces. So if search engine marketing is important to your biz, this is for you! Part of the eligibility for a business page is having a verified website (see below), and certainly Google would give preference to a site that they’ve verified  – their own words on website verification: “It provides Google with information that we can use to help determine the relevancy of your site to a user query on Google Search.” You can also probably assume that the custom URL will give your G+ page more visibility in a branded search and make your business easier to find on G+.

The custom URL is also obviously much nicer and cleaner – easier to remember and suitable to use in any print promo materials, such as business cards.

Finally, it does ensure that you get the URL you want, especially important if there are other businesses out there that have a similar name to yours.

Note: While custom URLs are presently a free option, Google has explicitly stated (in their Terms of Service) that they may start charging for them. Hmmm.

Getting your custom URL

If you were approved for a custom URL (either for your personal profile or your business one) you should have received a notification when logging in to your account. Don’t remember seeing that? Head to the “About” page of your profile, over to your “Links” section and if you’re approved you’ll see “Google+ URL”. This is a great how-to from Social Media Today explaining how to go about setting up your custom URL (with images). Or just follow the steps right from Google+ itself: Getting Started with Google+ Custom URLs.

If you’re not approved for your personal profile, make sure you have a profile pic and at least 10 followers. If you don’t have these elements, rather than focusing on the custom URL, you really should focus on polishing up your profile first and getting active – that’s really what’s important. And if your account is brand new (less than 30 days old), just wait a bit.

For a business page, If you don’t see the URL option, that means you’ve got some work to do:

  • For a Local Google+ Page, your business must be verified. The phone verification process is really easy.
  • For a regular Google+ Business Page, you must link it to a website. (Note this is a little bit techy for you small business owners out there that don’t jive with the technical stuff. Contact your web team and if you don’t have one, I can help).

Still don’t have a custom URL?

If you’ve covered all your bases and still don’t have the URL approval, then I would say to just wait it out. For my business page, I’ve had my website verified for ages, my profile is fully filled out, I have a following that is much larger than my personal account (which was given a custom URL right away) and I’m active on the page. So I’m just going to wait and see how it goes. It can take a while for things to roll out to all accounts.

If you have any other ideas for what I could do to get approved, would love to hear from you in the comments!

(This is a good post from Search Engine People that covers off what you need).

What if I don’t like my custom URL?

Unlike Facebook where you can select your URL, on Google Plus your URL is assigned, so in other words you can’t choose what it is. Note that you are able to adjust the capitalization of the assigned URL (just click to edit once you have gone ahead and claimed your URL). Otherwise you can’t change the URL once it’s been set, so if you’re not totally happy with it, keep reading…

One thing that I noticed crop up for several of my clients is that Google requested something be added to the URL. So Google grabbed the brand name, but rather than have that be good as is, they requested additional characters be added. For some businesses this might be alright – it could make sense to add a little descriptor after your business name that makes it clear what it is you do (think your keywords) but for others this won’t work. One of my clients has their keyword as part of their brand name, so there really wasn’t a good viable option.

If you don’t like your URL, you can’t think of extra characters to add that make sense, or you just don’t want to add anything extra, then I would say it’s probably best to wait things out for now. As we know with Google (and all things online), things change. You should be given the option to request a different one, so go ahead and do that. And what I found with the client above was after waiting for a few months (initially the request a different URL thing was not an option when this all rolled out), when I just checked back, they have now been allowed by Google to use the custom URL they want (ie. just their business name). Sometimes, patience is a virtue :)

Do you have a custom URL for your Google Plus profiles? Feel free to link to them in the comments below so that we can get connected!

And I’d love for you to add me to your circles! Here’s my personal profile and follow my business page below:

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