The game has changed
In the past, while vanity URLs were frequently seen as a viable strategy for generating quality links and building one’s website, there was often conflict with this decision. Many SEO managers tended to request that their sites shy away from vanity URLs, as redirecting each vanity URL redirect resulted in a loss of around 15 percent of the link strength.
Additionally, in 2012 when Google said that its search algorithms would treat new TLDs just like they would treat any other TLD such as .com or .org, SEO managers became skeptical as to their use – as there was limited likelihood that websites could use keyword ‘stuffing’ to benefit rankings.
However, recent changes to Google combined with the continued global emergence of .brand TLD usage opens up a new strategy that shows great potential.
On July 26th 2016, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, announced that 30x redirects no longer lose PageRank, which was a significant shift in the underlying algorithm. You can hypothesize that Google did this for a great many reasons, no doubt their ongoing campaign to encourage websites to migrate to https being a large factor in this.
Did everyone rush out to put a vanity URL strategy in place?
Of course not. Finding a range of relevant .com domains is extremely expensive or virtually impossible in many cases.
For .brand owners, however – the companies with no limitations to what names they can register within their own extension – this is interesting, as the results of this change now open the door to making vanity URLs an excellent strategy for marketing campaigns and link building. With vanity URLs that are either temporary (302 redirect) or permanent (301 redirect) now transferring link strength as much as a direct link to the site, the opportunity to use a vanity URL strategy with your .brand is now squarely back in focus.