When I got a custom URL for my personal Google+ page recently, my reaction was “Oh, cool.” If you’re a business owner who’s been offered a custom Google+ URL for your local listing, your reaction is or was probably similar: it’s not an earth-shaker, but it’s a nice little surprise.
Google might soon ask you if you want a custom URL – if you haven’t been offered one already. Should you accept it?
Probably not if…
a. The URL includes the name of a city you think you might not always be located in;
b. It’s based on a fictitious DBA (tsk, tsk) you’re using for your Google+ Local page;
c. It’s based on a website name that you know you won’t be using long-term;
d. You wouldn’t consider paying Google for it in the future, or
e. You just don’t like it – to the point that that the old long string of numbers looks good to you.
If any of the above applies to you, I would click the “Not now” button, to decline (at least for the moment) the custom URL
(Update: Max Minzer answered this question in his comment (below): I have not tried clicking the “Not now” button, so I’m not sure exactly what happens when you click that: Do they offer you the URL again the next time you log in, or do they ask again in a week, or are you stuck with the messy old URL until Google maybe decides to force custom URLs on everyone?)
Once again, Google puts business owners in a pickle. Nobody knows what the grand plan is for these URLs.
I can see them becoming part of a freemium model for Google+ Local pages, where you have to pay for your custom URL, in the same way you pay for your domain name.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if Google eventually shows them on the main search results page.
By the way, as Mike Blumenthal pointed out recently, it really should be called a “custom” URL. It’s not like you can actually customize it. A custom suit isn’t one that the tailor says fits you, but it’s the only one in the shop, and if you don’t like it you can just take a hike.
What are your experiences with and thoughts on “custom” Google+ URLs so far? Leave a comment!
Max Minzer says
“I have not tried clicking the “Not now” button, so I’m not sure exactly what happens when you click that: Do they offer you the URL again the next time you log in”
Yes. You’ll get asked later. I tried on one of my not-so-important pages first. Then on my profile.
Thanks, Max! So you get asked during your next login?
Max Minzer says
I had banner on top of the page after refreshing the page.
Good to hear. Thanks!
Max Minzer says
One other thing. While there is no option to request a different custom URL for pages at the moment, there were instances when people were able to request another custom URL for their profile. Example: https://goo.gl/U3KZdQ (unfortunately, no screenshot of how you get that request option).
Nothing for pages though. You either agree and take what you’re given or wait. I recommend waiting if you don’t like what you’re given. It’s more convenient to wait than try to change the unchangeable later.
Interesting. I’ve seen a couple cases where you’re allowed to pick one of three available custom URLs, but I haven’t seen the ability to request one that’s not on the menu. Any chance you could elaborate on what you’ve seen there?
Max Minzer says
So, nothing for pages (for now) – you get what you are offered or wait.
As for personal profiles, I thought it was the same as with pages ’till today morning. I read some threads before and Googlers responding that you couldn’t change URL. Then I was asked to comment on this post this morning: https://goo.gl/IXzh2r It seems like people had ability to make a request to have another custom URL. They submitted that request and waited for it to be approved. As the link in my other comment on top suggests – people’s requests for another custom URL are approved.
Now, I don’t have any screenshots or any proofs (other than what people are saying) about how you go, and at what point, about requesting another one. Must be when you get that pop up box asking if you agree to take custom URL Google is giving you. Don’t know much else. I haven’t seen any options on mine other than agreeing to the terms of service
Good old Google. Thanks a bunch, Max.
Daniel C Berman says
Panayotis Vryonis makes an interesting point (https://blog.vrypan.net/2013/11/08/why-i-wont-use-a-gplus-custom-url/) about the Google+ terms of service leaving Google the option to reclaim the URL at anytime and for any reason. If one is interested in avoiding personal URL rot in the face of language like that, its an interesting argument to not take the custom url.
That’s an excellent post. And I agree. Thanks, Daniel.
Robin Mody says
Perhaps some of that language is there as a backdoor. Say your Google Plus name has been McDonalds. And you claim the new custom url. Eventually Google may want it back to give to the real McDonalds that has a huge PPC budget. 🙂
That being said, promoting something that could eventually be taken away from you seems like a waste of time. Wonder if Google would redirect automatically to your new (or old with all the numbers in it) if at some point in time you decided you didn’t want to pay for the custom url after they started charging for it (supposing this is their intent all along).
For the record I took the personal vanity url but still on the fence for clients. My fear was that someone else might take their name eventually but if you can’t customize it then there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.
Agreed, Robin. And you bring up an interesting question: How, exactly, does Google sort out the different contenders for a given custom URL?
Larry James says
I was offered a custom URL which had the name of the town I am in added to it. https://plus.google.com/+DurhamWebDesignerBowmanville/
I was not given any other options so I accepted it. I don’t ever plan on moving so I do not see a problem with it. I am just wondering if there would be any local seo value to having it there.
Seems like a good name, Larry. If there ever is visible local SEO value in having a service- or location-relevant name, my guess is it won’t be for a while – until those custom URLs are more commonplace.
Ewan Kennedy says
I had a slightly different experience to any of those above. I was initially offered AdjuiceCoUk but only if appended with additional characters which I didn’t like the sound of so I clicked “Not Now” because I could not see any reason why I should have to add additional characters to a name which is already unique. I revisited this invite many times and found this morning that the offer has been changed to allow me to accept the URL without any additional characters. I actually have two business pages so have used AdjuiceCoUk for one and AdjuiceCoUkLocal for the other which is the Google+ Local Page.
That’s my issue, I don’t want to have to add characters to a domain name that I already own and is unique on G+ as well. I guess I’ll wait and keep trying to see what happens. Crossing my fingers.
Sounds like the right move, Teresa.
Has anyone had any luck with not having to add extra characters to an already unique name? And can someone tell me how can many people be using the same name, yet when I go to the address the page is not found because obviously no one is using it???
I have verified website and it offered me a URL based on my domain example “Fun.uk” then i bought another domain that is “Fun.Food” it then offered me “FunFood” URL but i have to add characters to it…. i rather keep FunFood. Have you had luck with rejecting the initial offer and being offered the preferred URL without adding anything? What was the process?
I haven’t accepted the custom URL yet. If I accept it, do I keep the original URL (in addition to the vanity URL)?
Yes, in that the old URL forwards to the new URL.
Paul Lovell says
I Had no problem moving over to the new URL structure and thinks its a nice bit of personalisation
Well Done Google
Thanks Phil. That being said, if Google starts charging for the URL, I should be able to revert back to the old URL. In addition, I wont have to change my links to the new URL. Am I correct in my assumptions?
I’m not sure about those assumptions, Erica. If Google starts charging, it’s probably going to be “pay up or get a new page.”
If you don’t claim the custom URL reserved for your personal page and choose something else (ie add a suffix), does the original one then become available?
I want to use the one they’ve reseverd for my business page but don’t want to lose it if that’s not the case.
Good question, Louise. My suspicion is that if you decline a custom URL it’s up for grabs.
I created a page and Google suggested a “vanity url” for me to aprove or decline. I don’t like it very much, so i have to decline. Do you know if we can suggest our own vanity url or we are stuck with Google’s suggestions?
Sad to say, you’re stuck.
At one point I had created a G+ page as a company/brand and then slightly later as a local business. I was offered the vanity URL I wanted on the first page, which I wanted to close. I ended up closing the first page anyway, and leaving the URL for a few months. I think I declined the offered URL on the local page. Eventually, I was offered the URL I wanted on the page I wanted. Maybe lucky, but got out of my own mess in the end! Patience the key?
Could be! Interesting story, Tom.
I know I can’t change my custom url but just change how it appears ( lower case or capitals ) however I was wondering if it will change in time to be the same as my name which I’ve edited? as I have changed my name by Deed Poll. Any help would be much appreciated, thanks guys.
Your URL won’t change to fit your renamed business, sad to say.
Interesting note: If you kept track of your serial number URL (whatever your original URL was), you can still use this and it redirects to your vanity URL. Not sure how to find the numbers if you didn’t keep track of them to being with though.
Thanks, Donna. I’ve noticed that.
Was wondering where you find the serial number URL, as not really sure what it is? Seems very sensible to hold onto the ability it get back to the original,
Hi I have google plus page, recently google offered me /+BibusHorizon (A Suffix Required)
Offered name without suffix is similar to my business, but google want to add some suffix, otherwise its not accepting.
Is there any way to avoid this??
Thanks for the post. You had some great foresight in your points. Unfortunately for me, I found your post too late in my research of this topic and accepted a not-so-great URL for one of my pages. Oh well. Cheers.
Hortensia Jaco says
I own a moving company in NJ and was wondering if I should claim our vanity url https://plus.google.com/+JacoMoversMiddlesex/about or not. Will it be beneficial for SEO? And will I have to change all of my social media connections that automatically post from my blog that use the numbered google+ url to the vanity url?
No and no. The URL doesn’t matter for your SEO, and it will redirect.
Andy C says
2015 and there is still no light at the end of this odd tunnel.
Ben Hawkshaw-Burn says
I’m not sure you can say the URL has no SEO value, its been proven over and over the SEO weight held by keywords in the URL, if you include the location like “surrey” or add words like “marketing” or “SEO” this can definitely have an effect, however google must see them as part of your brand to avoid over optimization.
That’s true of your website URL.