As you build your business’ online presence, you may hear a lot about the importance of vanity URLs, especially as they relate to social media platforms. The term “vanity URL” may sound fancy and technical, but it’s really a simple tool that will have a profound effect on your business’ online presence. Let’s look at what vanity URLs are and why you need them.
What is a Vanity URL?
In the simplest terms, a vanity URL is a customized short URL or domain name, created to brand a certain website, product, or person, that can be used in place of traditional longer URLs. They are often used on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, which limit the number of characters you can use in an update. Having a shortened URL saves space for the rest of your message. You find these either within social media platforms, or as stand-alone products, such as tr.im.
Before you create a social vanity URL, your social media profile is given a default URL that includes a string of random numbers. Here is an example: https://www.facebook.com/pages/1234567890. Your vanity URL name is shorter and includes the name of the business or brand. Gravity4’s Facebook vanity URL is: https://www.facebook.com/Gravity4. Notice the absence of random numbers, and in its place is our business name.
Keep in mind that a vanity URL is different from a link shortener such as Buffer (buff.ly), bit.ly, Google (goo.gl), and Hootsuite (ow.ly). These are free services that are great for creating short links for articles or web pages that you share and want to track. They are not vanity URLs however, because they don’t include the name of the company or brand in the URL. However, with tr.im, you can change that. You’re able to enter your own domain, and use it as a URL. For example, when we tweeted our last blog post, we used http://grvty.fr/trust. It stays true to the brand, and it looks nicer than “http://gravity4.com/blog/yes-you-can-use-crm-and-social-media-to-build-trust/” right?
Why You Need a Vanity URL
There are many reasons to use a vanity URL when creating your social media platforms, the main one being for the benefit of search engine optimization (SEO). Social media sites like LinkedIn rank at the top of search SEO results. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! search through URLs for keywords. So in order to be found and ranked highly in a search, you want your business name or brand information to be included in that URL.
Another compelling reason to create a vanity URL is to maintain consistency across multiple platforms. It’s best to use your business name (or a variation of it) when creating vanity URLs on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. This helps assure customers will more easily remember your website addresses, and find you easily when searching for your profile. It also lends credibility to your brand.
Shareability is another big consideration. Readers are typically more attracted to a clean URL that is not full of random numbers and letters, and doesn’t take up two lines of text. A simple URL with your company name has a cleaner look that is much more likely to be shared by a reader.
Most social media platforms allow you to create the URL in the Settings section of the account. Take the time to create the custom addresses and see how it helps your business market itself more easily and consistently.