1 Comment

What is a Vanity URL and Why It’s Important

What is a Vanity URL

What is a Vanity URL?

A vanity URL is a descriptive, memorable and pronounceable URL usually used to redirect URLs from one location to another. In the simplest terms, a vanity URL is a long URL that has been converted into a customized short link. A vanity URL can also be known as a branded Link or a custom short URL

Vanity URLs contain a domain name which features your brand or a relevant keyword for your business. These URLs can be used in a multitude of places, such as social media, emails, print publications, and other offline marketing.

Vanity URL Rebrandly

Best Practices for using Vanity URLs

Vanity URLs are worth using because they build trust and help you achieve your marketing goals. In order to do this, they should be used correctly.

Here 3 guidelines to follow when you are using your Branded Links:

  1. Use When Necessary: You don’t have to use a vanity URL for every link you share. If the link from your original website is already short you can use that. The purpose of a Vanity URL is to make a link short and associated with your brand. If a link already achieves this purpose, there is no need to change it again. Though, if you’re using your short link tool for analytics or link management, an extra few seconds spent editing your link will be worth it.
     
  2. Be Clear. Always clearly display your brand and use full words to describe your content. In order for people to trust your link, they need to have an idea of where the link will bring them. In the keyword after the slashtag, use words that describe the web page’s content. If you’re linking to a third party website, use the publication’s name. Be honest, clear and as concise as possible.
     
  3. Use your Vanity URL with your SEO strategy –  Vanity URLs, when used correctly, can be marketing gold. Be sure the Vanity URL you choose compliments the marketing and SEO strategy you already have in place. 

Vanity URL Examples

A great number of big and small brands, as well as influencers, have seen the benefit of using vanity URLs. Here are just a few examples of how brands are using them:

On Twitter

Famous Branded Links

For Facebook

Change.org Vanity URL

On Instagram

Instagram Vanity URL

The Benefits of Using Vanity URLs

  • Increased Brand Awareness  It’s your link, so why would you promote another company’s brand name in your short links when you could use your own. By using a branded link, your brand name will be seen more even when you share content produced by other people. 
       
  • Increased Trust  The fact that you are willing to attach your brand name to the content you’re sharing tells followers that your link won’t redirect them to spam or phishing sites, but that the content you are linking them to is relevant to them and will be consistent with your brand. This increased trust can improve CTR (Click Through Rate) by up to 39% when compared to generic short URLs or long unbranded links.
     
  • Full control over Link Management Using your own branded domain gives you control over your short links. You can delete them, redirect the destination or edit the description as you please.
     
  • Improved SEO – By including a keyword in the URL slug of your links, you’ll have an edge over competitors when it comes to SEO. You also have the added benefit of having your name associated with your keyword.
     
  • Integrated Link Retargeting and UTM Tools – You can add people who click on your links to your retargeting lists, even if that link leads to a third party website. This can increase your top funnel traffic by 500%. You can also build UTM parameters while you are creating your branded short links.
     
  • Memorable and pronounceable – Vanity URLs are real words that people can understand and read. This means that your links are more memorable and pronounceable. Instead of a generic link that people will usually scan over, your link can be easily read – giving your message another chance to be consumed.

For a more in-depth look at the benefits of vanity URLs read our blog post on Branded Links vs Short Links or check out the video below:

Vanity URLs for SEO

I know I mentioned this in the benefits section, but I would like to look at the advantage customizing your URL has for your SEO. In fact, one of the most important parts of SEO is the URL and for that reason, your vanity URL is so important.

  1. 301 Redirect – A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect of a URL from one location to another. This can be interpreted by bots and search engines. The “link juice” remains intact – but you now have a shorter more shareable link.
     
  2. You Keyword is in the URL – You can choose relevant keywords assigned to your site. For example, we could use, vanity URLs, branded links and custom short URLs to link back to our website. 
     
  3. Keyword Association – By using your keyword alongside your brand name, it is read by bots as an association. This means that your brand name is considered relevant to your keyword.
     
  4. Clever TLDing – You can use a TLD that is associated with your brand. A good example of this you could use “.pizza” . For example, “Dublin.Pizza/best” this means when someone googles the best pizza in Dublin they’ll see the page which your vanity URL directs to.

How Do I Create a Vanity URL

Creating a vanity URL is a surprisingly easy process.

A vanity URL is a made up of three sections. Your branded short domain, TLD and URL slug. As you will see below with Mr. Pencil’s vanity URL:

How to Create a Vanity URL

Step 1 – Choose a Domain Name
Go to Rebrandly and sign in or sign up. The first thing you have to do is choose a domain name.

It is really important that your domain name reflects the rest of your business to keep your branding consistent and for people to be able to identify the link as yours.

For Rebrandly, we picked Rebrandly because that’s our brand name and we love it. For my personal branded link I picked samowens. It’s short but still relevant to my personal brand. This is the hardest part of the process for most people. If you are really struggling with this you might want to check out this blog post.

Step 2 – Choose a TLD
You have to choose a relevant TLD (Top Level Domain) such as .link, .click, .lol, .news, .blog, to name but a few. We have nearly 500 to choose from, starting at just $2!

Again, this is a very simple process and it is down to your decisiveness how fast you set up an account. We have different ones to assign to different content we share. Off the top of my head we have:

  • Rebrandly.news -We use this for Rebrandly news and media mentions
  • Rebrandly.rocks – We use this for Rebrandly sharing links to users reviews
  • Rebrandly.live – We use this to share links to Facebook live and webinars
  • Rebrandly.blog – We use this to share our blog posts
  • Rebrandly.link – We use this to share curated content
  • Rebrandly.xyz – We use this for general and funny sharing 

If you don’t have a domain name yet, check if the one you want is still available and how much it costs here.

Step 3 – URL Slug (Keyword)
Once you have chosen your branded domain name and TLD you are ready to start creating vanity URLs. Of course, the domains you register will be saved to your account so you can start using them to create vanity URLs. Our Chrome Extension, iOS app and Android App can make this process even faster.

Fun fact about branded links   Among the first well-known adopters of link branding were David Beckham, Hugh Jackman, and Britney Spears.

Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • What is a vanity URL
  • the benefits of using Vanity URLs
  • How to Create a Vanity URL
  • Vanity URLs for SEO

Originally Posted: May 30th, 2017.
Post Updated: May 10th, 2018.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Samantha Owens
Content Marketing and PR Manager! An unexpected coin collector, untalented lover of sing songs and enjoys anything that could be considered a bandwagon! Linkedin: Rebrandly.Rocks/Sam Twitter: @sam_Rebrandly