Definition

vanity URL (vanity uniform resource locator)

Contributor(s): Lauren Horwitz

A vanity URL is a truncated uniform resource locator (URL) that redirects a longer URL, while also extending an organization's brand.

The domain name for a vanity URL is usually shorter than ten characters and looks somewhat similar to the organization's regular domain name. For example if the organization's regular domain name is Business2BusinessITServices.com, the domain name for its vanity URLs might be b2bIT. Once the organization has chosen which domain name it will use for truncated URLs, the organization must purchase the domain name from a registration site like GoDaddy and decide whether to host its own URL shortener in house or use a third-party hosting service like Bitly, whose advance settings provide members with an option for creating a custom short domain and issuing vanity URLs.  

The goal of purchasing a short domain and customizing truncated URLs is to ensure consistent branding, no matter where the organization's content is shared. Some search engine optimization experts (SEO) maintain that vanity URLs can also help provide insight into dark social traffic, making it easier for organizations to track website referrals from social media and mobile apps. 

This was last updated in November 2015

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