Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google My Business Rolling Out Short Names
Google has started the rollout of “Short Names”; the ability of a business to create a custom, short URL that then can be used for easy access to their business profile on Google.
Customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, like “g.page/[yourcustomname]”, to go directly to your Business Profile.
So in the case of Barbara Oliver Jewelry the short name would be g.page/BarbaraOliverJewelry which then redirects to her search profile page on mobile and to her Maps profile page on the desktop. The name must be at least 5 characters in length.
Currently the feature is not yet surfaced in the API and for bulk users, short names have to be claimed individually on an individual listing basis.
In discussing this feature with Google, they noted that this not so much a feature for a special or custom name but to be able to provide a long term, easy way for consumers to interact with a businesses listing.
Google via the GMB interface will encourage a business to claim and share this short URL where it makes sense and where the business could gain value.
The current use cases are limited but the short name will allow for more transactional (in the very broad sense) capabilities down the road. The example shared by Google was as a review link.
Businesses will be able to change their short name although there will be limits on the frequency of the changes.
There is a newly released help page: Create a short name & URL for your business where Google details how to create a short name as well as how users and business owners can “flag a name for impersonation, offensive, fake, spam or inappropriate content issues”.
This appears to be very early days for a feature that can be expanded into many users. So while it is not useful today, it will become more so over time and it makes sense to choose a name as soon as you are able.
How well Google will police and moderate the inevitable conflicts and abuses remains to be seen.
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It’s a useful feature for sure, although it’s just as easy to set up barbaraoliverandco.com/gmb to 301 redirect to a SERPs result with the knowledge panel, or the correct listing on the map.
Of course, shorter URLS work best, so keep that in mind with your own TLD and redirects. When claiming your Google URL however, can we choose acronyms to keep things even shorter?
There is a minimum length, which I think is 3 characters.
I will test and let you know.. I just tested and it is 5 characters.
I think Google is thinking of this as an easy way for an unsophisticated small business owner to be able to get a short url and share it without the muss and fuss of a shortener or redirect.
And going forward as a way for their customers to more intimately interact with the business’s profile.
Ah well, what can I say… unsophisticated business owners are my bread and butter!
Short, until the first keyword-stuffing. I can almost hear it.
I wonder whether business owners can edit their “short” names later.
I think it’s a good idea… now can we have the ‘Google Short Name’ dev team help fight spam?
They can be changed up to three times a year.
They will be able to change them later.
Okay so let’s review: Rather than spend resources implementing a few basic spam prevention measures on their long names which could make an actual difference for hundreds of thousands of businesses right now, Google has been hard at work developing a short name which has no current function or value. Did I get that right?
Is there a way one can possibly track the number of clicks on this short-name link?
Great question. I will ask.
This seems like it could become an invitation to not only spam the business name (which is already a huge problem) but now to spam the short name too. If Google doesn’t police it then it could just be another spam tactic for those that think the URL is going to contribute a great deal to their SEO. Aside from how I will have much nicer URLs in my CRM, I don’t know how it’s a big benefit.
Our businesses do better when searchers visit the website, NOT GMB. GMB gives visitors a shallow, virtually non informative look at our services. GMB does generate calls. We know this because we ask callers if they saw features on the website that are typically critical in the buying cycle. If we find this out we usually fill them in with what most consider critical details. Unfortunately we are not tracking how many of them ultimately buy. There are various elements of GMB that we have ignored. Chat or texting is one of them. Our long experience from other sources is that these are forms of communication that again don’t lead to sales.
We aren’t going to use this. Ultimately besides side tracking searchers away from the meat, it also gives Google “that much more” influence and power.
Having decided not to use this, I do reiterate a question asked above. Can site owners or managers track clicks on this short url that takes people to the GMB page???
Have yet to see this in Canada for any clients.
@Jay Holtstlander – I can confirm these are appearing in Canadian listings. I believe it was the 19th when I first noticed them.
Nothing in Germany yet 🙁
Or in Portugal 🙁
I don’t see how this is going to be of any value to businesses – surely you just want customers to visit your website rather than your GMB page?
Google’s plan for the URL is to help businesses help customers get things done. IE Their goal is to make it transactional…
So for example you can add the word “review” to the url ( ie http://g.page/barbaraoliverjewelry/review ) and it will open the review box…
I think Google is thinking it might be the easiest way to get followers, get a quote, reserve a table etc and is hoping that businesses will see it the same way.
Whether that turns out to be the case, remains to be seen.
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