Choosing A Vanity URL for Facebook SEO – Keywords or Business Name?
What if the company name doesn’t have any good keywords in it – should you add to the vanity URL? ie AnyCarHire – based in San Francisco…should I add San Francisco to the vanity URL? Also, the page name and the vanity URL are different, are they not? What are your thoughts on the page name…keywords or brand name?
Further to my recent post on the Facebook vanity url for SEO, I think the important part is actually a combination of the title/Name of the page rather than solely the vanity url itself. So that’s the words that appear as the Name in the Info section but which show up on the search engine listings like title metadata.
My personal experience has been that you need to get your keywords into the title of the page (without stuffing), as well as the vanity url. The search engines seem to pick up both, with the emphasis being on the title/name.
When I was first faced with the decision about what to use as a vanity url, I agonised over whether or not to use just the keywords as had been suggested in some of the literature that I had read.
I had 75 characters and, just as when I chose the url for their domain name, I tried to work out what people would type into the search bar to find the business and then did some keyword research to find out whether my suggestions matched the actual statistics. As a result, I had a very strong keyword phrase that needed to be considered. My gut instinct wanted to go with just the keyword.
However, I was concerned that, if there was ever a problem, my client needed to be able to prove their right to the page name, which meant that I must include the actual business name. A name which did not include my keywords. So, it became business name + keyword – a choice that I carried forward when I claimed the vanity url LollipopLocalSMO for myself – with SMO being the shortened form of social media optimisation which, written in full, made it a bit of a mouthful. And then I adapted the title/name to include the keywords and the business name too.
Having said that, for one of my clients, I changed the vanity url to include both the company name and their keywords but I didn’t realise that I was too late to change the title/name of the page which had been set as the company name because they had already gone over 100 likes. It now transpires that, on a Google search for their main keyword on Facebook, they are totally outranked by a large number of pages who do not have as many followers and have not claimed their vanity urls because those other businesses have all got the keywords in the title/name of the page. Hence my assertion that the title/name is vital to the mix.
When it comes to a Facebook search, the page comes up whether you type in the business + keyword vanity url or the actual business name.
You can fiddle around with the effectiveness of the title/name for a while but, remember that, once you reach 100 followers, it will be fixed. The vanity url can be claimed once you have reached 25 likes – SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Facebook have announced that this is no longer necessary but the systems behind the process are very hit and miss currently -but, once selected, that cannot be changed at all.
Whilst researching this subject, I read two posts by companies who specialise in dentists and both seemed to suggest that it is good to get your location into the vanity url along with the keyword – so NorthAugustaDentist. However, in my view, that doesn’t fit with the ethos of Facebook because it does not make it easy to identify which North August Dentist the page is for.
Usernames were created to make it easier for Facebook users to identify their profile or Page and share with others. As a public figure, business or brand with a Page on Facebook, your username should be straightforward and easy to remember. Facebook encourages you to consider the following when creating a username for Pages:
Create a username that is as close as possible to your public figure name or business name (e.g., MarkZuckerberg, Facebook). Or if your Page is about a particular topic related to your brand or service, create a username appropriate to that theme (e.g., fbsitegovernance).
Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (a-z, 0-9) or periods (“.”), and must contain at least one letter. You may also include periods and capital letters to make your username easier to read, but their use by others in finding your Page or profile is optional. For example, fbsitegovernance and FB.Site.Governance are the same username, so http://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance and http://www.facebook.com/FB.Site.Governance go to the same Page.
Choose a username you will be happy with for the long term. Usernames are not transferable.
Your username must adhere to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Back in 2009, when this facility first became public, Facebook began actively disabling what they termed ‘generically named Pages’.
Iinside Facebook gave this guide to naming your facebook page in 2009 and I think it holds true today.
Choosing the right name for your Facebook Page is vital. Despite the temptation to stuff your Page title with high value generic keywords – like “Mike’s Travel Agency: Las Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun – Hotels, Flights, & More” – this approach will actually harm your Page’s viral growth rate inside Facebook more than it will help through better SEO. For example, if your page’s title appears too spammy, fans will be less likely to share it with their friends on their profile and more likely to hide your updates from their News Feed.
Facebook usernames present a better opportunity for businesses to consider incorporating generic keywords for SEO purposes than the Page name itself.
However, we do offer a word of caution when incorporating generic keywords in your Facebook Page URL: Facebook intends for Pages to authentically represent the identities of businesses, and brands and has revoked privileges from Pages with generic titles in the past, so it’s not unfathomable that Facebook might somehow punish Pages with generic usernames by similarly revoking status publishing rights (or at least the username itself) at some point in the future.
The safest option – and wisest long term bet in our view – is to choose a username that authentically represents your business or brand.
For The Ark, their best keyword is ‘Massage in Southend’, so we named the Facebook page ArkMassageInSouthend. So, you need to check out your keywords to see if there is a good one which includes the location, but you also need to check whether your client has offices in a different town. If there is an AnyCarHire in another city, then you would want to differentiate it by adding its location.
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Tags: facebook and seo