Facebook has just announced the Username Landrush of 2009 for Facebook profiles and Pages – and with it perhaps the greatest Facebook SEO opportunity to date.
Now businesses can get vanity URLs for their Facebook Pages and benefit from Facebook’s significant PageRank if they get a high quality Facebook username.
However, Facebook has put some rules in place to curtail the upcoming bonanza and is structuring the landgrab to prevent squatting as much as possible. Here are the most important rules you need to know:
1. Only pages with more than 1,000 fans before May 31 will be eligible to choose a username. In other words, you can’t go start 10,000 pages today and expect to get Facebook vanity URLs for them. You have to have started a while ago and built your Page up. However, this rule weeds out legitimate Page owners with less than 1,000 fans as well.
2. Facebook is not allowing Page owners to choose generic vanity URLs. The most SEO-able usernames are those that most closely match frequently searched terms, like “flowers” or “pizza.” However, Facebook says that generic words are not available as usernames at this time. Rather, Facebook “encourages all users and Page administrators to create a username that closely matches the true identity of their name or business.”
3. Facebook is not allowing Page owners to change or transfer usernames/URLs. Once you pick a username for your page, that’s your page’s username forever – so pick one you’re going to like for the long term. This also means that it will be harder for a black market around usernames alone to develop. However, good usernames will now become a selling point of Pages, just like the number and type of fans.
4. Facebook is allowing rights holders to prevent their trademarks from being registered as usernames. If you own a trademark that you want to prevent others from registering as their Facebook username, Facebook has created this form that you can fill out to file the request.
For more comprehensive details and best practices on marketing with Facebook Pages, check out our industry leading Facebook Marketing Bible.