Branded Links: For the URL is Short and Full of Terrors

Branded Links


Much like the battle for the Iron Throne being waged in Westeros, there’s a battle taking place in the link management space. (Okay, maybe not as dramatic as the battle for the Iron Throne, but a battle nonetheless!)

Generic short URLs once reigned as King, but much like the Mad King Aerys, they have been overthrown. Now, a new hero has taken the throne: Branded Links

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And while those mad short URLs served their purpose for a long time, there are a number of problems associated with using them for today’s modern marketer. Branded links address many of these limitations, like lack of brand exposure, decreased trust and inflexibility- thus earning them the honor of ‘King of the Links’.

This article will walk you through the differences between branded links and short URLs, take a look at some brands that have already pledged allegiance to House Branded Links and explain how you can join the winning side of this epic battle. Oh! and in case you haven’t noticed yet, there’ll be plenty of Game of Thrones puns. 

What Makes This King Different?

You may be wondering, first of all, what’s the difference between a short URL and a branded link?

True the two have similarities but they’re about as different as Ned Stark and Joffrey Lannister when it comes down to it. 

A short URL would look something like while a branded link looks more like BrandName.Link/Keyword. For example, I use IanMatthews.Link/My-Posts to link to the posts I’ve written for Rebrandly’s blog.

Branded links are broken into three distinct parts. A custom domain where you showcase your brand name, a TLD that’s relevant to your industry and a unique URL slug that contains a specific keyword.

Many big brands have already pledged their allegiance to House Branded Links and begun moving away from using generic short URLs.

Bannermen of House Branded Link

Here are just some of the big brands that come to mind when I think of who’s using branded links. Not all of them follow the exact formula of brand name in the domain + industry in the TLD + keyword in the URL, but each uses branded links in their own unique way to showcase their brand and get their message across.


Virgin use branded links to promote their content online. They have very cleverly combined the domain ‘Virg’ with the TLD ‘.in’ to create a branded link that showcases their brand name in a really clever way. (Next step, a house sigil anyone?)

branded links


McDonald’s uses branded links to tease their McDelivery service with a super relevant keyword that makes it very clear what this link is all about.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus created a clever branded link to recruit new people on social media and showcase their brand name on their links at the same time. 

branded links

Allike Store

Our friends at Radix jumped in to give us this great example. Allike, an eCommerce store based in Germany uses a ‘.STORE’ domain to promote and sell their products in their online communication. The branded link highlights the brand name and the domain extension tells the user that they can buy what they see.

The Benefits of Siding With King Branded Link

What benefits can you expect to get from an alliance with House Branded Links? Here are just some of the advantages of becoming one of the King’s bannermen and leaving behind the Mad King Short URL.

Brand Exposure

Sure, functionally short URLs work just fine, but the problem is that they’re ugly and anonymous. Branded links, on the other hand, allow you to showcase your brand by using your own custom domain- increasing your brand exposure each time someone interacts with your link. In fact, when others like or reshare your links they, in turn, become bannermen for your house, promoting your brand even further. (Hopefully, they’ll prove to be more loyal to you than the Boltons were to the Starks though!)

Link Trust

One of the issues with short URLs is that viewers can never be certain that they are being directed to relevant, interesting and safe content rather than spam or a phishing site. You know what they say, “For the URL is short and full of terrors.”

By using your brand name in your links you’re assuring people that link will bring them to interesting content that’s meaningful to them. You can also use your custom URL slug to further communicate where the link will lead. Taking steps to make your links more trustworthy has shown an increase in click-through rate by up to 39%. So don’t end up like Daenerys wondering where your link clicks have gone- make sure users know you’re keeping them safe with trustworthy links.

Link Management and Control

Branded link tools like ours give you the ability to really control the links that you create, share and manage. You can edit, delete and change the destination of branded links through Rebrandly, ultimately giving you the power to use your links based on your own needs, not our constraints. 

Link Deliverability and Security

Sending generic short links in an email or social media message can be a bit like sending a raven to King’s Landing, you’re never sure if it’s going to get there or if it’s been intercepted. When you use branded links you’re creating links with your own domain- so you don’t have to worry about things like being blacklisted as long as your domain is in good standing.

Click Tracking

With Rebrandly you can track the number of clicks on your links natively on your dashboard. But what’s more, you can connect with tools like ClickMeter or for more sophisticated analytics tracking and custom reporting. 


Branded links through Rebrandly allow you to add a retargeting pixel to the links you share. The reunion with your site’s visitors will be more anticipated than Arya finally being reunited with Jon and Sansa.

From where I’m sitting this is a fight for the throne that has one clear winner!

Become a Bannerman and Start Using Branded Links

If you’re ready to pledge your allegiance to House Branded Links, just follow these three simple steps: 

  1. Create a free Rebrandly account.
  2. Register a domain starting from just $2.00 (You can also connect your own domain or subdomain for free).
  3. Show your loyalty and start sharing branded links right away. 

branded links

And that’s it- now you’re a loyal bannerman of King of the Links. You can connect multiple domains and even use Rebrandly for teams to allow several users to create links using the same custom domain. 

Go Forth and Conquer! 

If you have any questions about using branded links please feel free to let us know in the comments below. You may be wondering how we got to be so knowledgeable about branded links. That’s just what we do, we link and we know things.

branded links

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Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • Branded links
  • Link short
  • Custom Short URL
  • Custom Short Link
  • Short URLs

Originally Posted: 255h July 2017
Last Updated: 14 March 2019



Digital Marketer with Rebrandly: Digital Marketing, movie quotes, music and branded links! Linkedin: Rebrandly.Rocks/Ian