March 2011 Archives

March 31, 2011

The Short Term Effects of Google's +1 For Law Firms

Google announced yesterday the release of the +1 button in search results. According to the official announcement:

Our goal at Google is to get you the most relevant results as quickly as possible. But relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages. That's why we recently started to include more information from people you know--stuff they've shared on Twitter, Flickr and other sites--in Google search results.

Today we're taking that a step further, enabling you to share recommendations with the world right in Google's search results. It's called +1--the digital shorthand for "this is pretty cool." To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1's will then start appearing in Google's search results.

Here is a video from Google further explaining how +1 works:

For a more in depth analysis, check out Danny Sullivan's extensive analysis of +1 on Search Engine Land.

The Short Term Effect Of +1 For Law Firms

This is a very interesting move from Google. As if it wasn't obvious already, Google continues to integrate more social signals into the search results. The long term effects of this remain to be seen (although I think social signals will become a much more significant component of the algorithm), but I think the short term impact for law firms will be minimal. Here's why:

1. The +1 button is only available on the search results page - Upon initial release, the +1 button is only going to be available on the search results page. It is unlikely that a user will "+1" a website before visiting the site and checking out the content. This means that in its current form, a user will need to perform a search, visit a site, and after reviewing the site content, return to the search results page and +1 the result. I don't see this happening often.

That being said, it's only a matter of time before Google releases a +1 button that website owners can place on their sites next to Facebook "Like" buttons. Once that happens, I can see the +1 activity increasing substantially. It is rumored that it will be several months before the website version of the button is made available.

2. A user needs to be logged into Google in order to see the +1 results - In order to see the +1 results a user needs to be logged into Google. This means that a significant portion of searchers, that are not logged in, will not see the +1 results. Long term, I think that more and more users will search via mobile phones and apps and have some version of personalized results. However, right now the +1 impact will not effect every search.

Thinking About Your Law Firm Web Strategy Long Term

Now don't get me wrong, even though I believe the short term effects will be minimal it would be foolish not to understand that the game is changing and it's important you are "shooting ahead of the duck". Simply building links to your law firm's website to capture traffic from vanity keywords such as "Chicago personal injury lawyer" is not the future of search engine optimization. SEOmoz puts it quite eloquently:

Inbound marketing is going to overtake SEO as the primary function of SEO professionals. Engaging across social channels to get links, shares, likes, comments and +1s is going to be the future for generating organic traffic to your site. Not just from Google but these channels are increasingly driving significant volumes of traffic in their own right.
March 25, 2011

How To Automatically Post Your Blog Articles On Your Law Firm's Facebook Page

I have had a number of lawyers recently ask me how to automatically post their blog articles onto the law firm's Facebook page.  While there are a number of Facebook applications that will pull in RSS feeds, most of these appear in their own section of the Facebook page.  Not on the wall of your page.  You can see an example of a separate RSS newsfeed section from AttorneySync's page below:


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By posting articles directly onto your wall, the articles will appear in the newsfeeds of the individuals that "like" your firm's Facebook page.  This will increase the exposure of your content and deliver it to the individuals that signed up to receive updates from you.

Networked Blogs


The service I recommend for automatic wall posting is called Networked Blogs.  Networked Blogs is a Facebook application that allows you to register a blog, claim the blog as your own, and then syndicate the content from the blog onto your personal Facebook profile and any Facebook pages that you have admin access to.  You are not required to syndicate to all these spots, you can pick and choose where you want the posts to appear.

The Process


To get started you will head over to Networked Blogs and click the "Add your blog" button at the bottom of the page.  This will take you to Facebook where you will login and arrive at the Networked Blogs application.  You will click "register a blog" in the upper right.

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Fill in your blog information and click next.  In the next step, the application will ask if you are the author of the blog.  You will click yes and the app will request that you verify one of two ways.  Either having Facebook friends verify or embedding a widget onto your blog (which you can subsequently remove after verification).  While it is a good idea to eventually verify your blog, this is not a necessary step to do right away.  To move ahead, you can simply click "I'll do it later" underneath the verification method selections.

This will take you to the registered blog page.  From here you can select "Set up Syndication".

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This will route you back to the Networked Blogs site to select your syndication options.  From here you can choose the Facebook profiles and pages you want the blog articles posted to.  You will also be able to select your options for what images to display with the post and whether to use the Networked Blogs toolbar.  You will also have the option of adding a Twitter account where you can automatically feed in your blog posts.

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March 2, 2011

Where to Get Citations to Improve Your Law Firm's Local Search Rankings

If you have spent anytime building your professional reputation online, you have probably come across information about local search marketing. And if you have read anything worth its salt on local search marketing, you probably should have read something about business citations. But how and where should you get these citations? Here are some places to add to your spreadsheet for consideration for getting local citations for your law firm.

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