Enhance Your Google+ Presence - Stake Your Claim to a Custom URL
Last week, Google+ announced the availability of “vanity”, or custom URLs on a rolled out basis for pages and for individual profiles. Custom URLs allow users to advertise their profile in a more efficient way. Instead of identifying their page with the ugly string of numbers that currently identify each page, users can have a more concise URL, such as www.google.com/+ChrisGaffney as opposed to https://plus.google.com/u/0/107820464562963186226, which used to be my identifying URL. The new change certainly makes it easier to fit on a business card or marketing material!
So, will the roll out of new vanity URLs kick off the great Google+ land grab of 2013? Not exactly. Google continues to methodically grow their social network in a way that really places a premium on a high quality user experience. Rather than setting off a round of profile poaching and page squatting, they implemented some quality control measures.
In order to qualify for custom URLs, users must meet the following conditions:
- Have a profile photo uploaded
- Have at least 10 followers, and
- Have an account that is at least 30 days old
Local Google+ Pages can also qualify for custom urls if they have been verified through the system as a local business. Additionally, non-local Google+ pages will only qualify for custom urls if they are linked to a website. Significantly more information is available at Google+’s support page, here.
Once you qualify for a Google+ Custom URL, it is important to make sure you have the spelling, wording and usage correct, as you cannot change it a second time. Users are able to change the capitalization or add accents, but not able to change the spelling and wording itself.
For the Drupal marketer who is looking to get more out of Google+, here are a few more things to consider:
Google Authorship - Don’t forget to connect your regular content creators’ profiles to your website. Doing so allows their picture to appear in future search results, and tends to help gain more traffic for your site! Check out this article walking you through the steps.
Google Plus Comments Block Module - allows users to comment on a website through their Google+ account. This is great for site owners because Google+ comments are indexed into Google search results, meaning that if one of your pieces of content sparks a lively debate, and people search for terms used in that conversation, there is a good chance your article will be be in their top results!
Google Plus Module - the original Google+ module for Drupal, this allows websites to add +1 boxes and capabilities to your site
What do you all think? Will having a custom URL make you more likely to advertise your Google+ profiles or pages in your marketing material?