Customizable URLs have become a common staple on social media profiles. However, to the dismay and confusion of many, custom URLs have been conspicuously absent on Google+. Just how could the kingpin of search think that something like this:
is user or search-friendly?
It looks counterintuitive to Google’s mission as a search engine and awful to SEO experts. But, there is some method to Google’s madness. Custom URLs on Google+ present a potential privacy issue. Since Google+ is tied to almost all of Google’s other services, a custom URL could provide hackers and spammers with enough information to cause a problem. With the debacle that was Google Buzz, it’s no wonder the search giant is treading with caution.
In addition, domain-squatting is a potential problem that could negatively impact users, companies, and search results. Unscrupulous people could snap up several custom URLs, potentially driving traffic away from authoritative sites and/or creating conflicting search results.
In light of the issues, Google is being careful. Currently, custom URLs are available on Google+, but they come with some catches. First, custom URLs are in closed beta right now. Only profiles that receive an invite from Google can use a custom URL. Second, Google chooses the URL. But, if you have been invited and you don’t like the URL Google has selected for you, you can request a change.
Google has stated that custom URLs may become available to everyone in the future, but as a paid feature. It may be worthwhile for some companies, especially as pages and posts from Google+ continue to play a larger role in search results.
Twitter recently announced that it is taking its advertising to a new level – it will allow advertisers to target Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts to a set of interests that advertisers can specifically choose. Twitter says that by targeting people’s topical interests, advertisers will be able to connect with a greater number of users and deliver tailored messages to people who are more likely to engage with advertisers’ Tweets.
There are two methods of using Interest Targeting on Twitter. There first method, a broader reach, allows advertisers to target more than 350 interest categories, from movies and television to style and fashion. Below is a sample of the Interest Targeting categories available on Twitter.
The second method allows advertisers to get more specific in targeting the Twitter universe, by allowing advertisers to create custom segments by including certain @usernames that are relevant to the product. Twitter says that custom segments let you reach users with similar interests to that @username’s followers, but do not let you specifically target the followers of that @username. This second method allows advertisers to find users who are not followers of your brand but have similar interests.
In addition, the social platform will be lowering the minimum bid to one penny for all of their Promoted auctions. It will be interesting to see how Interest Targeting compliments Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.