As you may have heard, Google recently implemented what has been referred to as a “tectonic change”. The change, known as Place Search, has significantly altered the way the search engine serves up local results. While the change has several implications on law firm web strategy, one of the more immediate is the higher priority that you should give to obtaining citations. In Using Citation Building For Better Google Places Optimization, Dustin Rouge provides guidance on what citations are and how building citations plays a larger role in your firm’s search engine visibility:
Google goes beyond their initial claiming validation process and looks for other sources that help validate these listings. These third party sources, commonly referred to as citations, include other local listing sources such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, Best of the Web, Localeze, etc.
Makes sure to claim and optimize ALL of your local listings from the major listing sources on the web.
Make sure your company name and address is consistent throughout all of your listings.
Make sure to claim your existing Google Places listing first. In most cases, existing and unclaimed Google Places listings are there based on citations from other sources which work to your advantage. By deleting these existing listings and starting over, you are actually putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage in more competitive markets.
Remove duplicate Google Places listings based on listings claimed with the same phone numbers, addresses or both.
While many authoritative citation sources are free to claim and optimize, others require listing and/or review fees. Investing in premium or enhanced listings from authoritative, local, and niche data providers can be one of the most important web strategy investments that you make.