Google recently announced that they are rolling out custom URLs to all Google Plus pages and profiles. Vanity URLs were previously only available to larger brands. The roll out is still in progress and I’m guessing that many personal profiles will be the last to see it. My own profile is not yet eligible, but those with more followers may become eligible sooner. It appears to have been rolled out to most pages that meet the minimum requirements. Once your Google+ page or profile is eligible to claim a custom URL, it’s quite easy to complete the process.
1. Check to See if Your Google+ Profile or Page is Eligible for a Custom URL
Profiles must meet the following criteria to be eligible to claim a vanity URL:
Has a profile photo
Has at least 10 followers
Has an account that’s at least 30 days old
Pages must either be verified as a local business or be linked to a website.
You’ll know if you’re eligible when you log in. A banner notifying you of your pre-approved URL will appear at the top of the page. Trust me, you can’t miss it, but if you’re (ahem) obsessive like me and want to be sure, you can double check the About tab on your page or profile.
Click Get URL – you may be offered more than one choice for your URL. I have recently claimed URLs for two pages and have not been given a choice in either instance, but you may be asked. Profiles are different from pages – you have the option to submit an alternate request if you do not like what Google offers.
Whether you are given these options or not, make sure you choose wisely. As it stands right now, Google does not let you change your custom URL once it has been claimed. Of course, Google loves to change things, so that could change too.
3. Claim and Confirm
Setting up your social media profiles can be a little overwhelming. To save you the hassle of trial and error or the embarrassment of a poorly aligned profile image, we created this infographic of all the different image sizes you need to know for the most popular networks.
Google+ and YouTube recently announced that you can merge your business YouTube channel and your Google+ page.
Once the pages are merged:
Your YouTube videos will be viewable right from your Google+ page, on a separate YouTube tab
You will have access to hosting live ‘On Air’ hangouts
You can upload videos from YouTube and autoshare them on Google+ to specific circles
Multiple people can now manage your YouTube channel, without having to share a password.
The merge is currently in Beta but we decided to give it a try.
Below is a video showing you how easy it is to merge your YouTube channel and your Google+ page. With Google owning so many tools we all use for business, it is not far off to expect them all to be linked at some time.
After that, just follow these 5 simple steps and you will have merged your two profiles:
Make sure you are logged into your Google Plus page and your YouTube channel
In the upper-right hand corner, go to Settings
Under your Account Information, click on Advanced
Choose to Connect with a Google+ page (beta)
Confirm your request
After that has been done, you can go to your Google+ page and see the new YouTube tab added to your profile.
If you want more information on merging your Google+ page and your YouTube channel, they actually set up a Google+ community on the topic for feedback and issues. Since this feature is still in beta, I am sure feedback is being taken into account as they decide what to do next.
I also want to see how Medium plays out, the new publishing platform from the founders of Twitter. It seems so mysterious right now and no one can seem to explain it clearly yet. I wonder if it will be a flop or if it will change how people publish content online.
I am also generally just excited to see how technology improves, what new services appear this year and how businesses use them to grow!
What the Hall staff is going to keep an eye on in 2013
I decided to ask some of my colleagues what they were going to keep an eye on this year and this is what they had to say:
Marc Breglio – Search Marketer
Bings attack on Google for selling shopping results
Google Shopping – Google ended free product listings as of fall of 2012. To be listed in Google Shopping, you must use the Adwords platform and pay per click now – Will this last? Bing is hardcore bashing Google for doing this and have coined the term Scroogled (see image). But, will other search engines follow? Will smaller stores/brands not be able to compete or will it prove to be beneficial for everyone? Either way, 2013 will be the testing year for this big change for e-commerce marketing.
Social media ads – The big social networks are growing up. They are no longer start-ups receiving loads of funding, working with teams that are too small, and just trying to grow their audience. Over the next few years they are going to need to start paying their bills. They will be paid with advertising. How will this shake out? What new ad options/developments will we see? Will some networks fail, not because they don’t have a user base, but because they can’t generate revenue?
Google Display Ads and other traditional digital ad networks competing with Social Media Ad options – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, are offering ad networks with precise user targeting that has never been seen before. Google has already shown changes that will help them compete (such as user interest category targeting for banner ads). How will the traditional ad networks begin to change the landscape even more to compete?
Tom Hall – President
I am going to keep an eye on coordinated mobile and social marketing programs, new and improved user targeting models and responsive design to meet not only devices but also to meet use cases where the site responds by changing content significantly.
Mike Johnston – Analytics Manager
I’m going to keep an eye on the switch from IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to IPv6. Seems like it is slow to get going, but I have a feeling it will become more mainstream in the coming year once Europe officially runs out of IP addresses.
RC Lations – CMS Developer
CSS3 & HTML5 Canvas animations will continue to emerge as a replacement for Flash and bridge the gap between desktop displays and app-like animations.
Support for native gestures (touch gestures, accelerometer, compass, etc.) will become increasingly available in the browser, opening up the opportunity for websites and web apps to have even more of an “app-like” experience.
Dave MacElhiney – Director of Client Services
I am curious to see if the Instagram privacy blunder has any impact on the growth of the application.
The integration of all things web – I just fell in love with IFTTT. Let’s you script all kinds of platform integrations… so I can set it up to send me a text if it is going to snow tomorrow or I can have all my Instagram photos save automatically to my Dropbox account.
I got a WeMo for Christmas and looking to do cool things here.
I also am anxious to see bigger and better UX designs for responsive mobile, tablet and desktop sites.
Andre McKay – Technical Search Analyst
I’m also curious to find out how many people abandoned the Instagram ship after the terms of service snafu last month….I know I did.
I’m interested to find out about the Myspace / TV integration that Timberlake leaked earlier this year…nothing really came of it.
And finally, did you hear they are talking about making it possible for you to email someone on Facebook if you aren’t connected to them…for a fee?!? Crazy!?
Jess Wallace – Digital Marketing Analyst
Personally, I’m keeping an eye on MySpace – the new design is pretty slick and I think we’ll see a lot of people shifting to it from Pandora and Spotify. It mashes social and music together in a really smart way. ‘New’ social networks have a hard time gaining traction because users have a hard time starting over somewhere when all of their ‘people’ are on Facebook, etc. (Ahem, Google+) But with MySpace, there’s a different sort of value that makes it more attractive when it comes to adding another network. It’s easier to justify.
I’m also interested to see how mobile search changes over the next year. As it continues to converge with local/social, I think it will pick up an even more rapid pace as tablet use grows and people start to rely on info on-the-go more than ever. Spoken by a girl who never thought she’d own a tablet – who now cannot put her iPad down.
So that is what our office is going to keep an eye on in 2013! What are you excited to see?
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