Achieving high exposure on Google has just become easier - or is that harder? - for lawyers and other local businesses. Here's the background . . .
Google have changed the rules for their relatively new “Places” pages – which provides some major opportunities for law firms who know what to do and who want to get better Google exposure.
Over 80 million Google Places pages have been replaced by “Google+ Local Pages”, which includes a much heavier emphasis upon reviews and ratings. And it is very clear that Google are going to increasingly leverage off their suite of high-power products like Google Adwords, Google Search, the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Wallet, their newly acquired review system Zagat, loyalty scheme Punchd and other products to make Google+ Local a key ingredient for any local business anywhere.
But there are some key rules any local business will need to know as the new Google+Local rolls out.
The evolving Google rules regarding optimization for local businesses has seen the sites integrated with Google’s social media platform, Google+1. This is a rapidly-developing social media network that has taken on over 70 million new visitors this year alone.
Few, if any businesses can ignore it.
Particularly given Google’s ‘ownership’ of so much of the Net – with everything from the Chrome browser to Gmail. The new Google+ Local will provide enhanced integration with some of Google's other applications, particularly maps, but also mobile, search, properties etc. This integration can make optimisation - greater visibility online - easier. So long as users are using the system properly.
Google Places or Google “Local” was started in 2010 and then in 2011 Google paid over $150 million for Zagat, an international reviews and ratings guide for all manner of local businesses. The new rating system provides a more extensive 30-point rating scale with greater depth and subjectivity.
Why is all this so important for lawyer and local businesses?
Google indicate that over 20 per cent of all online searches are for local information and over 40 per cent of those searches are on mobile devices.
Further, local advertising is also rapidly increasing. The ‘intermediation’ of the world with the growth of local networks, social networks and similar has meant that local businesses need to harness the power of local searches, which now means using Google+ Local.
“Search” is becoming much more personal. Reviews are much more important. Your Google+ “circle” is more critical. And maps are much more important.
Things have changed and search is now more “local” than it has ever been. The changes will provide business owners with more scope to optimise their pages and their online campaigns. Following the right path will be all-important for the search visibility payoff.
Business owners now have map icons on Google – plus Bing and Yahoo and they appreciate the increased power that being part of social networks online is for their business.
There are tricks in the game however. Not in the sense that Google will tolerate being gamed, which is part of the reason they have moved away from the pure Google+ system, but because getting top rankings requires a disciplined approach that can yield huge benefits for law firms – and other local businesses.
If you want to know more about getting yourself ‘hooked’ into Google+ Local then email us at LawFuel – email@example.com – and we will provide you with more details about how your business can benefit from the changes now occurring.