Life Beyond Facebook and Twitter….Law Firms Need To Embrace Google+

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Google+ is a fantastic, free way to increase your SEO (search engine optimisation) and click-through rates, expand your presence on Google and make your law firm’s website stand out from the crowd.  Unfortunately, the legal profession has yet to fully embrace it, mainly because it is seen as just another social media site, and even worse, another social media site which no one uses.

So what is Google+?  Why is it so effective for SEO and click-through rates, and what can you do to enhance your law firm’s presence on it?

Google+ launched in July 2011, and as of October 2013 it has 540 million active users, making it the second largest social media platform after Facebook.

Here are two reasons why Google+ is so important and why your firm needs to have an ACTIVE presence on it.

SEO Advantages

The most compelling reason to use Google+ is the SEO advantage it provides to your business.  Both Starbucks and The Economist both admitted to utilising Google+ for SEO purposes in this New York Times report.  If you have an active, ongoing presence on Google+, and by active I mean you update it regularly,  post your latest blog post and articles, and encourage others to +1 your content (similar to getting people to ‘like’ your status on Facebook) you will improve your website’s ranking on Google.  This is because Google favours content that receives social credibility, however, both Facebook and Twitter restrict Google from accessing much of their data which limits their SEO effectiveness.  You can read more about this here.  

Another reason Google+ is so effective for SEO is because its web crawlers scan content posted to Google+ immediately.  Once you have posted an article or a blog on Google+, Google’s robots will index and rank it straight away.  You will notice if you preform a search that many references on the first page of Google come directly from a Google+ post.  If you click on the post you can easily navigate to the poster’s website.

Google Authorship

Have you noticed when you perform a search on Google some of the results located on the first page display a photo beside the result?  This is a wonderful feature called Google Authorship and it comes from having a presence on Google +.  By enabling Google Authorship you can increase brand awareness, and improve your click-through results by up to 150% according to this study done in 2012.

Many SEO experts expect Google to incorporate Google Authorship into its algorithm which will improve user’s SEO.  At present no SEO advantage for authorship exists, however, experts watching the issue closely are advising people and businesses to be prepared.  If you need further proof that content ownership will increase rankings in the future look no further than a quote taken from The New Digital Age, co-authored by Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google.

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance”.

By linking your website content to Google+ you are also helping the web crawlers identify quality, human-created content as opposed to spam generated by content farms.

Here is an excellent video demonstrating how to create Google Authorship.

One concern firm’s have about assigning authorship is “what happens if the particular author of an article leaves our firm”.  Will we continue to have ex-employees cited as authors of our content floating around on the internet and poaching our potential clients?”  The answer is “No”. If an author leaves your firm’s employment, you can delete their authorship from the article, effectively severing your firm’s intellectual property from your ex-employees’ Google+ profile.

Take steps now to ensure your law firm is taking full advantage of Google+.  It is not going away, if anything, it will only grow in importance.  Is your business prepared?

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