This is going to be a short article which will hopefully clarify a few mysteries about what you can and can’t do with your custom URL for your Google Plus page, and will show you how to claim yours if you haven’t already. One of the main differences between Google Plus and other networks is the ability to choose your username to create a unique vanity URL. At least initially, during the account creation process, Google Plus assigns a rather ugly profile ID number instead of a brand friendly username. Claiming your Google Plus custom URL isn’t that difficult, but you do need to meet a few requirements in order to get one.
Why do I need a Google Plus vanity URL?
In reality, you don’t NEED a custom URL for your Google Plus page, but it adds a certain level of validity to your profile or business page. It changes that long numerical ID into something brandable and easy to remember, both for you and your customers. And if you’re anything like me, that long number in the URL used to identify a page just flat out bothers me. I like to stay organized and have consistent branding across all of my networks, and that includes having the same username whenever possible.
Keep in mind, you still won’t have complete control over what your username actually ends up being. Google will give you username choices based off of things like your profile name, or the name of the website you have linked to your business page. Once it assigns a base name, it forces you to add characters to the end of the base name to make it unique.
For example, let’s say your profile name is John Smith. Once you meet Google’s criteria, they may offer you an opportunity to have the username +johnsmith with custom characters on the end. Initially, they force you to add the extra characters, which may then give you an undesirable username if you only want the base name. There is a way around this however. All you need to do is wait a few days and it will often times give you the ability to choose only the base name without having to add any extra characters. I can’t think of a logical reason why they wouldn’t let you snag the base name immediately if it’s available, but it any event, patience is the answer here. I’d much rather wait a few days and have a better URL than add extra characters onto the end just to have my vanity URL on Google Plus a few days earlier.
One important thing to remember too, once you select your username, you cannot change it. Other social networks allow you to change the username either a limited number of times, or as many times as you’d like. Google+ usernames cannot be changed once you’ve decided on one, so choose wisely.
In the example of +johnsmith, the option to select just the base name as your URL may never become available if it’s already taken by someone else. If you find that you’ve been waiting a week or longer and Google still hasn’t allowed you to select the username without adding extra characters, then check to see if it’s already taken by someone else by simply typing the username into your browser’s address bar. Odds are it has already been claimed.
Let’s go into detail on how you can get your custom URL on Google+. The details below are a written summary of the slightly lengthier version found on the official Google Help Pages.
Claim your Google Plus Custom URL
A guide for business pages and personal profiles
Vanity URL for Google Plus personal profiles
The first criteria we’ll discuss is how to claim your vanity URL for personal profiles.
To get a custom URL for your profile, your account needs to be in good standing and meet a few other requirements.
- Ten or more followers
- Account is 30 days old or more
- Profile includes profile photo
That’s it folks. It’s not really any more difficult than that for personal profiles. Once you’ve met the simple requirements, a banner will appear at the top of your screen with a button that says “Get URL.” Just click on that to see your pre-approved username(s). Again, once the username has been selected, it can’t be changed. The only aspect of the URL that can be edited is the capitalization of certain letters or the accents, but not the username itself.
Google Plus Local Pages
When trying to claim your custom URL for your local business page, the requirements are a bit simpler. All you have to do is verify the page with Google and the option will become available. Followers and profile age don’t seem to have any impact on whether or not your URL can be claimed when making your local business page.
Google Plus Brand Pages
Lastly, when claiming your custom Google Plus URL for brand pages, your only task is to verify your website, which is slightly different from local pages because there’s no address verification involved here—just the linking of the website. Enter your website into the “About” tab, and verify it by using the Webmaster Tools method. If you’re using the same account for your Google Plus brand page as you are for your Webmaster Tools account, you can verify your website in about 30 seconds. It’s about as simple as making sure your website has been added and verified in Webmaster Tools, then add the URL to your Google Plus page, and click “Verify” which will be in the “About” tab directly next to the website field. Once you’ve done this, the option to claim your URL will become available.
It’s a pretty simple task to ditch that long user ID number in favor of a more memorable username. Some other simple things you can do to ensure your success are to update your profile and cover photo, fill out everything in your “About” tab, remain active in niche communities so you can get more followers and engagement, and post at least 1 thing to your page on a daily basis. Brand yourself, stay active, and engage with others. Hope this helps!