UPDATE: We were eventually able to get the name we wanted without adding extra characters, but it wasn’t easy. Check out the followup here.
Ever since Google+ introduced brand pages, many of us have been asking for custom URLs for Google Plus Local business pages.
The good news: Google now offers this to some businesses.
The bad news: For some pages, you have to add extra characters to the end of the name.
So close, Google+, so very close!
When I first got news of my preapproved custom URL, I was grateful for the ability to finally rid my Google+ Local page of the super-long URL in favor of a branded one.
But unfortunately when I went to claim the Custom URL for my Brand/Local page, I ended up with this pop-up:
Google Plus prompted me to “Add a few extra letters or numbers to this URL to get one that is unique for your page.”
Thanks, but no.
In fact, hell no. I’m not adding extra characters to my business name. What is this, AOL circa 1995?
There shouldn’t be a need for my business to compete for a unique URL. If I am a verified local business with all of my listing profile in order, I should be able to claim my unique business name URL.
I can see this happening with some very similar sounding business names, but in my case (and many others) there should not be a need for this.
So why is this happening?
Duplicate pages may play a role
I manage a fair amount of client’s Google+ presence and noticed that ALL of them ended up having duplicate pages/listings recently. It seems like it happened right after Google migrated from Places to Google+ My Business Portal.
I’ve been working to remove all of the duplicates to see if this has an effect.
It has been hard to prove, but if you’re in this situation, try getting rid of your duplicate pages first, then waiting a while to see if the process changes for you.
Some of my clients pages have not needed to add any characters to their name, while others, like my own, are still stuck with the choice of adding letters or numbers.
A workaround – use at your own risk
George Chalhoub has posted a workaround method over on his blog. It makes a lot of sense, but it also seems to have mixed results.
I may actually give this a try if I can’t get resolution after deleting the duplicates.
My personal G+ Profile had no issues
I was able to snag +MalcomMcCutcheon last year without adding any extra characters.
I guess I was just lucky, as George’s post indicates that the problem also exists on personal profile URLs, not just business pages.
His solution was to alter his name, which businesses can’t really do with any real effect. George points out that if you want to change a business page custom URL, you need to change your actual website URL by registering and verifying a new one.
Has anyone out there tried this? What are your results?