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What is a Vanity URL & its Best Practices

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A vanity URL is a branded, unique and customized link that is shorter and more memorable. It could have your product or brand name, or a keyword or phrase that you are optimizing. It is usually used to send users from one page or site to another.

Vanity URL makes it easier for users to remember and reach a particular page on your site. You can use it in your paid ads or on your social media content to drive traffic to specific pages on your site. 

Importance of Vanity URLs

Vanity URLs have several advantages, but one of the main reasons why brands use these URLs is because they are shorter and customized. The shorter version looks good on your social media pages and on your paid ads.

  • Increased trust: A vanity URL is clean, short and extremely readable, increasing the credibility and trust of your site.
  • Control over the vanity link: You can also avoid displaying the tracking parameters on the URL. 
  • Increase in Click-Through Rate: The click-through rate increases dramatically when using a vanity URL. Since these URLs have the brand name or the product name, it is easier for users to know where the link is taking them to. 
  • Shareable: Vanity URLs are memorable and shareable. The keywords or phrases used in the link have a higher recall value. 
  • The SEO value increases manifold: Since the keyword you are optimizing for is used along with your brand name, you are associating your business with the keyword. 
  • Gives you insights into your customers: For a brand, data is the king. When you use vanity URLs, you can track your traffic easily. You can also determine the source of your traffic, demographics, customer data, and devices. 

Vanity URLs Vs. Domain URLs 

Although Vanity URLs look similar to your domain URLs, they are quite different. The main difference is that the domain URL is your main URL, and the vanity URL is the link that you want visitors to see. 

A domain URL has only the name of your website, a vanity URL can have any content that you want. It can have keywords, product names, calls to action, and more. It helps you to get potential customers to your website or the actual URL you are aiming for.

Remember, a vanity URL and a vanity domain are different too as vanity domains are created to represent an individual person. 

Impact of Vanity URLs on SEO 

We now know that vanity URLs are shorter, clearer and more memorable. But what impact does it have on SEO? 

URLs that are shorter seem to rank higher on Google SERP when compared with URLs with longer content. One of the reasons for this higher click-through rate could be its ease of sharing, re-call value and optimization.

Another reason for the better click-through rate could also be the incorporation of keywords in the URL. The impact could be small but significant. Choosing keywords that are relevant to your brand or product could also help.

While you might think of these changes as minuscule, they can have incremental value. When you concentrate on keyword research, it can have a greater impact on your business. When you add 301 Redirect to your link, you can retain and transfer the intrinsic ranking power to the new URL – but this time to a shorter and cleaner URL.

However, you should also note that a vanity URL will not help your website if you have compromised content, bad optimization, or a slower loading site.

Vanity URLs Best Practices 

  • Keep It Short and Simple 

Vanity URLs are meant to be short and clean. 

Keep in mind that some paid ad platforms limit the length of a URL. A longer URL might not be displayed on ads. Make sure the URL has complete descriptive words. The words should convey the meaning and encourage clicks. 

  • Use Keywords 

Use relevant and related keywords in the URL. This will give you a significant boost in rankings. Besides, your customers will also be able to understand where the link is leading them to. Before using keywords, make sure you research them and use them effectively. 

  • Be Clear and Concise 

Be very clear in the choice of your keywords and wordings. To be able to earn the trust of your customers, make sure they know the type of content the link is taking them to. Make sure that the content provided beyond the slashtag is relevant to the content on the URL link.

  • Avoid Dashes in your Vanity URLs 

Eliminate any distractions like dashes in your URL, since your users generally do not remember such intricate details. If you can make do without dashes, then avoid such small details as hyphens, dashes and numbers.

  • Use Vanity URLs only when required  

Understand vanity URL meaning for your business, and only use it when necessary and when you gain a meaningful advantage from them. Having a vanity URL for every link does not serve the purpose. The main goal of a vanity URL is to shorten the link to gain mileage. But if the original URL is doing this job, there is absolutely no need to play with it.

  • Integrate your Vanity URL in your SEO strategy 

If you are able to combine your SEO strategy with vanity URL, you could strike gold. Choose the right keywords and the right content on the linking page so that the vanity URL compliments your SEO and marketing strategy. 

For this to happen, you need to spend considerable energy in researching keywords, and creating effective content.

Benefits of Vanity URLs 

  • Easier to remember and pronounce 

A vanity URL is short and clean, making it easy to remember and pronounce. The link should be created in such a way that your users can remember the exact wordings. They should also be able to understand the intent behind the words.

  • Boosts Brand Awareness 

A vanity URL can do wonders to your brand awareness and recognition. With a vanity URL, you are letting users connect with you not only with your website, but also through other channels like social media. With each link, you are actually marketing your brand across multiple channels and increasing the recall value of your brand.

  • Develops Trust 

In addition to increasing brand awareness, a vanity URL also builds trust and reliability. When the content in the link is relevant, engaging and informative, it develops trust in your brand. A link with a brand name is likely to be clicked on, and by having your brand name in every link, you are assuring your customers that useful information is present on the page linked to. 

  • Easy to Share 

A short customized link is much easier to share on social media pages than a bunch of unintelligible numbers and letters. Shorter links are often shared easily than their lengthier counterparts. Additionally, a shorter vanity URL is much more comprehensible than long and cumbersome URLs that do not make sense to the user. 

Think about it; a long string of random numbers and letters is not easy to remember and difficult to share. Whereas, shorter, cleaner and distinct keywords relevant to the content can even be shared verbally. Vanity URLs are practical ways of directing people to the pages you want them to notice specifically.

  • Simple to Use 

While one part of vanity URLs is their ease in sharing, the other part is the ease in using. As a marketer, a vanity URL gives you a plethora of benefits, especially when sharing content on social media sites or platforms that restrict the word count. 

By using a custom URL, you can also track the actions of your users. If you have noticed, several social media sites give their users many tools to track user behaviour. However, they fall short in terms of offering data about users after the link has been clicked. This is where a large chunk of useful information is lost. In the case of custom URLs, it is possible to gather highly useful information even after a link is clicked.

  • Helps with Link Retargeting and Management 

You can track the performance of your ads with vanity URLs. You can obtain useful information about the clicks, conversions and more. With such information at hand, it will be easier for you to make changes to the URL, tweak the words, and represent it to enhance performance. 

You can also determine the number of people who clicked on the URL and add them to your retargeting list. With such techniques, you can easily generate traffic considerably. Additionally, UTM parameters in your link enhance the tracking and accounting capabilities as well. 

How to Create a Vanity URL for your PPC Ads 

A vanity URL has three major parts – the brand name, TLD and URL Slug. 

  1. Brand Name: Choose a domain name that speaks about your brand identity and business. For better brand recognition, try to include the exact business name in the domain. 
  2. Top-Level Domain: Choose any top-level domain type that is relevant to your business – it could be news, educational, or more.
  3. URL Slug: The URL slug or the phrase used after the backslash should indicate the type of content on the landing page. This part of the URL should be clear and consistent with the content linked to it. 

How to Create Vanity URLs for Your Social Media Ads

Unique custom user names make your business stand out from the competition. Most social media sites allow both celebrities and common people to create vanity URLs. A customized URL makes your brand appear more personalized, and unique. And, it also makes the URL easy to share and remember. 

Many social media sites shorten the links – without requiring any effort from your end. For example, Twitter brings all the links to its shortened version – and makes it easier for you to add author-branded URLs as well. In Facebook, vanity URLs allow for faster brand identification. It also makes the link appear credible and authoritative. The vanity URL on Facebook makes it shareable and identifiable.

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