Google Plus

Google started rolling out Google+ custom vanity URLs to a limited number of verified and pre-approved Google+ accounts last week. According to Google, Google+ custom URLs are a short and easy way to remember web addresses for Google+ profiles and pages. In fact, Google+ vanity URLs are similar to existing profiles.google.com URLs, only shorter. Did you know that when Google+ Custom URLs are activated, in many cases profiles.google.com URLs stop working? Either way, here are a few things you should probably know about Google+ Custom URLs.

Google+ Custom URL: Customization

Believe it or not, Google+ Custom URLs allow for further customization because they can be used along with various Google TLDs and even domain names.

Examples:

TIP: Unfortunately Google+ custom URLs are not currently accessible via G.co or Goo.gl however, you can probably expect to see a similar but shorter paid service like this in the future.

Google+ Custom URL: Deep Linking

Google+ Custom URLs allow for deep linking to "posts," "about," "photos," "videos" and "plusone" pages by simply adding the page name after the trailing slash in custom URLs.

Examples:

TIP: even though you can add "posts" as a deep link, that is not be necessary when "posts" are the same as the default page or when "posts" pages specify the default URL as the canonical.

Google+ Custom URL: Speed

Google+ Custom URLs take considerably longer to load than the actual page. When tested with WebPageTest.org using the default test, my custom URL took more than a second longer to load than the actual page. This issue is caused in part by the multiple redirects put in place by Google. (In fairness however, the default test used by WebPageTest.org originates from Dulles, VA using IE 8 via DSL.)

TIP: Technically capitalization does not matter for Google+ Custom URLs. At the same time, not capitalizing first letters in names of profile page URLs often results in the need for an additional redirect which slows page load speed even more.

Google+ Custom URL: Canonicals & Duplicate Content

Google+ custom URLs are short, easy to post, more recognizable to users and search friendly in some ways but not others. With Google+ custom URLs there is little need to worry about canonicalization, duplicate content or custom URL content appearing in organic search results. Behind the scenes, Google is using a series of 301 and 302 redirects in conjunction with the rel=canonical attribute to help ensure that preferred content and vanity URLs both appear in organic search results. The down side for PageRank fans, usually 302 redirects do not pass PageRank or link equity signals. That said, Google can treat on-site 302 redirects as 301s if it chooses.

Google+ Custom URL: Process

Google pre-assigns one unique and individual custom URL per user or organizations. Custom URLs should reflect real names and must be 6 characters long or more. Even though it is possible to appeal Google's pre-assigned custom URL, not everyone is currently eligible for this service. Currently you can only claim Google+ custom URLs via a desktop computer. Mobile devices and pads are not supported.

Google+ Custom URL: Invites

In order to claim a free custom URL for Google+, users and business accounts must be verified and enabled for this service by Google. Currently there is no way to enable custom URLs manually. As a result, there is no way to request an invite for Google+ Custom URLs and no way to invite others. Google will be rolling out Google+ custom vanity URLs over the next few weeks and months. For now, checking your Google+ profile regularly and monitoring your email for an invite are about all you can do. Either way, GOOD LUCK and please be sure to follow Google.com/+BrianUssery