Small business owners can finally reserve a custom, easy-to-remember Google+ URL for their brands.
This week, Google rolled out expanded eligibility for the feature, enabling almost anyone to grab a shorter URL that links back to their Google+ profile.
Google now allows any user with a profile picture, more than 10 followers and an account more than 30 days old to claim a Web address in the form of "google.com/+(your brand)."
Businesses must also either link back to their brand’s external website, or have their business verified by Google.
As long as your profile meets those basic requirements, a drop-down menu will appear on your Google+ profile prompting you to claim a new URL.
When Google first rolled out the feature a year ago, only big brands and celebrities were eligible.
Before that, all Google+ profiles were denoted by URLs consisting of a long string of numbers, making it difficult to share your brand’s space on the social networking platform.
The sooner you grab your custom URL, the better, especially for small businesses. Business owners who wait risk seeing their preferred URL snapped up by somebody else.
If you own a small business, the change makes it easier to market your small business online.
Google+ may not be the most popular social networking website out there, but because each profile is linked to a standard Google account, the site boasts more registered users than any network besides Facebook.
More importantly, maintaining a Google+ account makes your brand easier to find in a Google search. Your Google+ page is also the first thing potential customers will see when they click on your business while browsing Google Maps.
Grabbing a memorable Google+ URL could encourage return visits to your brand’s page and even net you new customers.