I like my name. I tend to monogram things and even have a purple “S” on display at my desk. I’ve grabbed my name as my vanity URL in as many places as possible. I own my name as a domain and all of my social media handles, including Google+, are some variation of my name.
I can change those domain and vanity URLs at any point for the most part. Whenever I get married, for instance, I can update those to reflect my new name. Except for my Google+ vanity URL. When it comes to Google+, as of now, at least, I will forever be “plus.google.com/+SarahWyland.”
The lack of the option to change a vanity Google+ URL is something we discovered when we re-branded from Search Mojo to Marketing Mojo this year. We learned through research and reaching out to Google that our page, despite the updated name and graphics, will still carry the Search Mojo vanity URL of old – unless we wanted to start from scratch, of course.
First, you have to qualify for a vanity URL on Google+. It typically isn’t an option as you sign up for an account, personal or otherwise. For individual users, the account needs to be in good standing and you must have:
• 10 or more followers
• An account that is 30 days or older
• A profile photo
For Local Google+ pages, you must be a verified local business and for Non-Local Google+ pages (like a brand), you must be linked to a website. Learn more about how to get a vanity URL here.
Beware of the not so vain URL
It’s only natural to assume that if you claim a vanity URL, it is the vanity URL of your choosing. After all, the “vain” part of us wants our URL to reflect our name or our company name. But that isn’t always the case with Google+. In fact, Google+ tells you what your vanity URL will be.
For example, I have set up Google+ business profiles for a number of clients now. None of them have been able to claim a vanity URL as /+companyname, even though their company name was not associated with another Google+ profile. Google insisted the company must add “unique letters or numbers” to their URL.
To quote Google, a vanity Google+ URL “will be preassigned based on things like your name or the name of your linked website.” Where is the vanity in that?
In short, no, you don’t need a vanity URL. It looks nice and is much easier to share than the long string of numbers Google+ assigns each profile’s URL, but a vanity URL also has no SEO benefit from what we can tell. If there is any chance of you changing your name or going through a rebrand, think twice about signing up for a vanity URL the second Google+ notifies you.
And remember too that because Google+ and YouTube can – and usually are – linked, changing the URL in one place will likely change it in the other.