Recently, for the first time, Google offered a custom URL for one of my clients on its Google+ page. This means replacing the long number in the Google+ URL with text representing the name of the company. This is a great way of promoting your site on Google+ as it gives you a much nicer URL to promote to your customers, and makes sharing your page easier. For those who have not yet been offered the same thing, I thought it might be useful to go through some of the tips we have which count towards the necessary process of claiming this custom vanity URL.
Let’s start at the beginning…
As normal, I went to the Google+ page for the client. I clicked on the normal ‘Switch to this page banner’ allowing me to edit the Google+ account as the Page and not to add things to it as a user. When I switched, the banner changed to the ‘pre-approved custom URL message’, like this one:
You then see this screen, giving yo the option of accepting Google’s recommended Page URL for your page:
If you choose not to use the recommended custom URL, it seems that it goes through a manual review process. In some cases, it appears that you may be given more than one option to choose from. However, at the moment it doesn’t seem to be an option to choose a URL of your own making, just to accept one of the options Google has put together for you.
Once you agree to the terms and click ‘Claim URL’, you see the following screen:
Clicking ‘Confirm choice’ here then takes you to the ‘About’ page for the Google+ page:
This is the final screen and confirms that you’ve claimed the Google+ custom URL.
There are some important points which may have affected this custom URL being offered:
- The linked website has linked the Google+ page from all pages of the site in the top right, along with the other social media profiles. This was added within the last couple of months. It is a straight follow link directly to the page URL:
- The pre-approved name exactly matches the name of the page (without spaces)
- The pre-approved name exactly matches the domain name (without the www and co.uk bits)
- The page has 48 +1s
- 47 have you in ‘circles’
- The page had been set up for some months with no content. About 1 month ago, a link to the site was added to a news story and the profile photo and cover photo were updated. No further activity took place before the custom URL offer
- The site has not implemented rel=publisher or author profiles (so this must not be a pre-requisite for the custom URL, although they clearly help in other ways)
There still does not appear to be a way to claim a URL before Google+ are ready to offer it to you, and this rollout has been happening for the past 6 months or so. If you are particularly eager to get a custom Google+ URL for your page, then hopefully you will find some clues here that will help you qualify for it.