Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Get a Custom URL for your YouTube channel and Google+

Update 10/13/15: now only 100 subscribers are required for custom URL eligibility, rather than 500 subscribers. 

Update 3/4/15: you can now check the custom URL set for your channel in your channel's Advanced Account Settings (https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced)

Update 2/26/15: shorthand vanity URLs are now based on the new /c/ custom URL, rather than the old /user/ custom URL. More details

If you have recently created a new YouTube channel, you are sure to have noticed the default channel URL includes a long string of characters that are hard to remember and tricky to type. A custom URL makes it easy to share and promote your channel.

At the end of November 2014 YouTube introduced a new custom URL process. New custom URLs now apply to both your YouTube channel and the Google+ Page or Google+ Profile connected to your your channel.

That means one unified identity and URL across Google products. And if your channel already has an old-style YouTube username URL, this is an opportunity to add a new custom URL that better reflects your channel’s current identity.

How the new YouTube and Google+ custom URL process works:

  1. Your YouTube channel or your Google+ Page or Google+ Profile becomes eligible for a custom URL
  2. Google offers one or more custom URLs based on a number of factors including your Google+ name, YouTube channel name, current YouTube /user/ URL, and associated website domain. It is not possible to request a particular custom URL.
  3. After claiming an offered custom URL, it immediately applies to both your YouTube channel and Google+.

        Google+ URL:       plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC
        YouTube URL:      www.youtube.com/c/PeggyKTC
  4. You can change the capitalization, diacritics and accents on letters of the custom URL, but not the URL itself

If your Google+ Page or Profile already has a custom URL, then that URL already applies to your YouTube channel connected to that Google+ identity. Check your channel's Advanced Account Settings (https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced).

Questions? Read on to learn more about YouTube and Google+ custom URLs:


What are the eligibility requirements for a custom URL?


Either your YouTube channel or the Google+ Page or Profile it's connected to can qualify for a custom URL. Once the custom URL is set it applies to both YouTube and Google+.

Check your channel's Advanced Account Settings (https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced) to see if your channel already has a custom URL.

YouTube channel custom URL minimum eligibility requirements:
Learn more in the YouTube help center.

If your channel does not meet those requirements, it is often easier to make the Google+ Profile or Google+ Page connected to your channel eligible instead. 


Google+ Profile custom URL eligibility requirements:
  • Your account is in good standing
  • You have ten or more followers (people who have added you to their circles)
  • Your account is at least 30 days old
  • Your profile has a profile photo
Learn more in the Google+ Help Center


Google+ Page custom URL eligibility requirements:
Learn more in the Google My Business Help Center


My channel is eligible, how do I find the Custom URL offer?


It is not possible to request a custom URL. Instead, once your YouTube channel or your Google+ Profile or Page connected to your channel becomes eligible for a custom URL, you will be offered one or more URLs that you can claim. You should receive an email notification from YouTube or Google+ when a custom URL is ready for you to claim.

However, in my experience, the email notification seems to sometimes go missing. If you are sure your YouTube channel or Google+ Page is eligible for a custom URL, you can check for offers directly.

Sign in to Google+ and view the “About” tab of your Google+ Profile or Page. If a custom URL is available you should see a banner at the top of the page:

click for larger image


And you should see a Google+ URL section in the Links box:


Note that if your YouTube channel is connected to a Google+ Page, you must be signed in as the manager of that Google+ Page to see the offered custom URL(s).


You should also see a message on YouTube channel's notifications page: www.youtube.com/notifications




How do I claim the offered custom URL for my YouTube channel and Google+?


Using a desktop computer
, you can claim your URL from the link in the notification email, the notification in YouTube channel’s Creator Studio or Notifications, or from the “Links” section on the About tab your Google+ Profile or Google+ Page.


1. On the notification message, click the link that says “Get yours now” or “Get URL”



2. a Google+ window with your custom URL options will open


3. select the custom URL you want to use and add extra characters if required

4. agree to the Custom URL Terms of Use

5. click the green “Change URL” button
Note: once you have claimed the custom URL it cannot be changed! Don’t claim a custom URL unless it’s one you are happy with!

What if I don’t like the offered custom URL? or I’m required to add a suffix?


One of the drawbacks of the current custom URL process is that you cannot select the custom URL yourself.  Instead you can only choose from what Google offers you.



You may need to add extra characters to the offered URL. A green check mark will show if the URL is available.

This URL is not available (because it's already in use)

This URL is available

But what if I don't want the offered URL? 

If you do not like the offered custom URL, or do not want to add a required suffix, don’t claim it. Once the custom URL is set it cannot be changed. 

While it's not possible to request a different custom URL, there are a few things you can try:

  • Wait!

    If you are offered a custom URL that requires a suffix, you may later be offered the URL without having to add extra characters, if that is available. Keep an eye on the Links box on your Google+ About tab, because you may not be notified of new custom URL offers.

    In the example I show above, the offer of the custom URL without a suffix appeared within a week after the original offer that required extra characters
    .
  • Make sure your name and associated website accurately reflect your channel identity

    This is me.
    Google+ and YouTube have not shared any details about how the offered custom URLs are selected, so this is based on observing what URLs Google+ Pages, Profiles and YouTube channels are offered. Changing the name or associated website sometimes may result in the offer of a different custom URL (but is not guaranteed to trigger a new offer).

    > Google+ Profiles are often offered a custom URL based on the Profile name and/or nickname

    > Google+ Brand Pages are usually offered a custom URL based on the domain of the associated website.

    As you can see in my example above, linking a free Blogger blog (Testb12345678.blogspot.com) resulted in an offer of +Testb12345678Blogspot

    When the domain is not a .com, Google may include the top level domain (for example .net, .org) in the offered URL .

    +Jaana Nyström also has some observations of custom URL offers to Pages when the website has a country code top level domain:  Custom URLs on Google+ for Everyone

    > Google+ Local Pages may be offered a URL that includes  the business name and location, especially if the business has multiple location.

    +Mike Blumenthal has additional observations here: Google+ Custom URLs - Facts, Tidbits, Concerns

    > YouTube channels that qualify may also be offered a custom URL based on their channel name or their old  /user/ custom URL.  For example a channel with the old youtube.com/user/peggykyt may be offered the new custom URL youtube.com/c/peggykyt

  • Send Feedback!

    Send Google+ feedback
    You can also send feedback to Google+ and YouTube if you were not offered the custom URL you were expecting. You are not likely to get a direct response from Google and it may not result in the offer of a new custom URL, but Google does read feedback and take it into consideration when deciding what options to offer in the future.

    Send feedback to Google+ from your profile's "About" tab using the Feedback link at the bottom of the left navigation menu.

    Send feedback to YouTube using the "Send feedback" link from the bottom of any page on youtube.com

Can I change the custom URL for my YouTube channel? Change capitalization, accents or diacritics.


You cannot change the new YouTube custom URL once it’s set for your YouTube channel and your Google+ Page or Profile.

The one thing you can change is the capitalization, accents or diacritics of the letters in your new custom URL. When I claimed +peggyktc , I changed it to display +PeggyKTC and I could change it to  +PéggŷKŦC  (all three of those lead to my Google+ Page).

You can edit the capitalization or accents and diacritics in the Links box of your Google+ Page or Profile’s About tab:

  1. Sign in to Google+ on a desktop computer and open your Google+ Profile or Google+ Page 
  2. Click the About tab at the top of your Google+ profile.
  3. Click the “Edit” link at the bottom of the Links box on your profile’s About tab
  4. Edit the capitalization, accents or diacritics of your custom URL.

    Note: you cannot change the URL in any other way
  5. Click the blue “Save” button

If I add a new custom URL to my YouTube channel will the old custom URL still work?


Your old "user" custom URL will continue to work after adding the new custom URL. This means a YouTube channel may have multiple URLs.

My YouTube channel is connected to plus.google.com/+PeggyKTC and you can get to my channel using any of these URLs:


Note the new custom URLs must include the /c/ in the URL.

As of February 25th, shorthand vanity URLs (such as www.youtube.com/PeggyKTC) are now based on the new-style /c/ custom URL of the channel, not the old /user/ custom URL.

Old shorthand vanity URLs based on the /user/ custom URL appear to still work, as long as no other channel has claimed the equivalent /c/ custom URL.

Learn more about the new shorthand custom URLs.

Why doesn't my new YouTube channel custom URL display in the address bar?


When you check your YouTube channel, you may not see the new custom URL. Currently when you navigate around a YouTube channel, the channel URL that displays in your web browser’s address bar will be either the /channel/ Channel ID URL, or the old /user/ username URL. This hopefully will eventually change so that the new custom URL displays instead.

Why hasn't my YouTube channel been offered a custom URL?!


If your YouTube channel has not yet been offered a custom URL, first check the following:

  • does your channel meet all of the eligibility requirements?
    Your channel won’t be offered a custom URL until after it’s eligible. Check your channel's Advanced Account Settings (https://www.youtube.com/account_advanced) to see if your channel already has a custom URL.
  • does the Google+ Page or Profile connected to your channel already have a custom URL?
    If your Google+ has a custom URL, the connected YouTube channel already has a new custom URL and won’t be offered another one.
  • did your channel only recently became eligible for a custom URL?
    You need to wait for a custom URL offer. Custom URLs are not necessarily offered immediately when a channel (or Google+ Profile or Page) becomes eligible. 

If you have questions about adding a custom URL to your YouTube channel, you can ask in the YouTube Help Forum.

If you have questions about adding a custom URL to your Google+ Page or Google+ Profile, post a question in the Google+ Help Community.

More information:

Learn more about custom URLs on YouTube and Google+:

Thanks to +Jaana Nyström and +Masatake Wasa for comments and suggestions.
Posted by Peggy K

2 comments:

  1. Hey Peggy. Long time no speak! Very thorough guide - I just made a video on this if you wanted to embed to compliment the guide

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Peggy. Long time no speak! Very thorough guide - I just made a video on this if you wanted to embed to compliment the guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HufCV3UhvIY

    ReplyDelete