Builds Trust: Untrustworthy sites may share weird links that lead to spam sites or viruses. A clean, readable link inspires trust.
Easier to Remember and Share: Vanity URLs are shorter and include words or phrases that are easy to remember. No one is going to remember a long string of random letters and numbers, but they can recall a short and snappy URL like: mypodcast.listennow.com.
Makes Tracking Easier: Knowing where your traffic is coming from is crucial for understanding how ads perform. Custom URLs allow you to easily track where traffic originates and keep customer data, such as a coupon code or cookies. Plus, not all paid ads are online—you can track print ad traffic as well.
What’s the Effect of Vanity URLs on SEO?
Vanity URLs look nicer, increase click-through rates, and improve tracking. What about SEO, though? Can they give you a leg up in Google rankings?
In fact, they found that URLs that rank No. 1 in Google tend to be nearly 10 characters shorter than URLs that rank No. 10.
Now, it’s unclear why shorter URLs rank better—it could be that they tend to have a higher click-through rate or that shorter URLs help Google understand what your page is about. After all, correlation doesn’t always mean causation.
What is clear, however, is that shorter URLs can give you a slight SEO bump.
Here’s another SEO benefit: Using keywords in URLs is a ranking factor. It is a small factor, but it can count.
Keep in mind, these benefits are very slight. However, in the highly competitive digital landscape, these small bumps can help you outrank your competition.
Just make sure all your other SEO strategies are in place. A keyword-rich, vanity URL won’t make up for poor optimization, thin, content, or a slow loading time.
How to Create a Vanity URL for PPC Ads on Search Engines
Now that you understand the benefits of customized URLs, let’s talk about how to create them. The simplest way is to actually create the URL on your website and use a redirect to send users to the right pages.
The problem is there are multiple types of redirects.
In general, you’ll want to use a 301 redirect, which is permanent. This tells Google that the link should always go to the page that you are redirecting.
However, there is an easier way than creating a 301 redirect yourself.
The easiest way to create a vanity URL is to use a URL shortening tool. Tools like Cutt.ly make it easy to create shortened URLs.
Head to the Cutt.ly homepage, paste in your link and the tool will deliver a much shorter URL:
That link is shorter, but it doesn’t give the user any information, which ruins the point.
However, if you sign up for a paid account, you get access to branded URLs, which you can use to set up vanity URLs.
A similar tool is Rebrandly, which creates custom URLs and takes care of the redirects as well.
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to using vanity URLs for paid ads:
Create a custom URL, either using the tools above or on your own website.
Set up the redirect from your vanity link to the final destination. This could be a landing page, checkout page, or even product page.
However, to improve your chances of success, you need to make sure you follow vanity link best practices.
Keep It Short: Shorter URLs are easier to understand. Plus, many ad platforms limit the number of URL characters they display, so longer URLs might not even show up on ads.
Keep It Simple: Use descriptive language and full words to describe the content users can expect. The point isn’t just to make the links shorter (though that is helpful!) but also help users feel secure about clicking your link.
Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word: You’ve probably seen hashtags that don’t quite work out (#susanalbumparty comes to mind.) Unfortunately, stringing together words can result in less-than-ideal word combinations. Capitalizing the letters will help users read your URL. For example: https://ift.tt/3jlFJU2 is easier to read than https://ift.tt/3oKu5Df.
Avoid Dashes: Dashes are standard in URLs, however, you want to avoid them for vanity URLs. They make the URL longer and people are unlikely to remember to type them in.
Use Keywords When Possible: Keywords offer a slight rankings boost, but they also make it easier for users to understand your page’s purpose. If it makes sense, use a keyword that helps users understand where the ad will take them.
When creating your vanity link, remember that less is more. Your goal is to create an easy-to-read URL, so don’t overcomplicate it. If you plan to use them regularly, consider using a standard structure, such as keyword then product, to make it easier to organize and track metrics.
When it comes to paid ads, competition is fierce. If you are struggling to drive clicks and make sales, make sure you aren’t making these PPC mistakes before using custom URLs.
Vanity URLs are a small but mighty strategy that can build trust, increase clicks, and drive more conversions. They only take a few minutes to set up and may just give you that edge you’ve been looking for.
However, they won’t make up for poorly optimized paid ads, so make sure to A/B test your ads as well.
Have you used vanity URLs before? Did they help improve your PPC ROI?