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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 “[yourcustomname]”, to go directly to your Business Profile.

The short name is created in the Info area of the GMB.
The name has to be at least 5 characters in length and not previously taken.

So in the case of Barbara Oliver Jewelry the short name would be 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.