Facebook is releasing custom URL’s for both profile and fan pages. This is a big move by Facebook and if you review their announcement this afternoon, there are a few details that you want to pay attention to.  From my perspective, this is perhaps the most important news since Google released their profile pages a few months ago.  I want to take a few minutes to go over what this means for your personal brand, the brands you associate with and, of course, Facebook.

Your personal brand

A custom Facebook URL, or facebook.com/YourFullName, is extremely valuable to you. First, since Google is how people find you, including the press, hiring managers, and customers, claiming the results for your name is imperative.  A custom Facebook URL will rank very high in Google and can fill up one of the results for your name.  Second, a shorter URL will be easy for your audience to remember, so if you make a presentation or you want to link to your Facebook profile, it’s seamless and obvious.  Third, if you don’t claim your custom URL and someone else does, you’re out of luck and have almost no chance to reclaim it at a later date.

Recommendation: Saturday morning, June 13, at 12:01am EDT, rush to get your custom URL and choose “yourfullname” (one word) instead of the other options Facebook gives you because it’s more SEO friendly.

Brands you associate with

If you have a company, work for a company or want to start a company down the road, then you might want to think about claiming a custom URL for your “fan page.”  This will help you, just like your profile page, in the search results in Google.  It also helps you when you communicate with your stakeholders.  Your URL could be facebook.com/yourcompanyname or facebook.com/yourproductname.

There are four catches:

  1. Only pages with more than 1,000 fans before May 31 will be eligible to choose a username.
  2. You can’t choose generic vanity URLs.
  3. You can’t change or transfer usernames/URLs
  4. You can prevent your trademarks from being registered as usernames.

Recommendation: Saturday morning, June 13, at 12:01am EDT, if you fulfill the above “catches,” go ahead and choose your custom URL for the pages you own.  If you don’t have more than 1,000 fans, then it’s time to hustle and work to hit that number and then claim your name.  If you have a trademark, then you should fill out the prevention form right now!

Facebook’s mission

Facebook is giving you custom URL’s because it optimizes their site almost completely over time, which means Facebook pages and profiles will all rank high in google, thus pull in more traffic to Facebook.  With the 1,000 fan rule in place, they are forcing companies to market their pages or pay for advertising in order to hit that number and secure their URL.  At the end of the day, hopefully, this means more money for Facebook, which pleases stakeholders/shareholders.