Google News recently became more social by releasing Google News Badges.
“The U.S. Edition of Google News now lets you collect private, sharable badges for your favorite topics. The more articles you read on Google News, the more your badges level up: you can reach Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and finally Ultimate. Keep your badges to yourself, or show them off to your friends.”
The Greater Significance
At this time, the impact of these Google News badges isn’t entirely clear. However, when you start to look at the bigger picture you can see the puzzle pieces Google is putting together.
The grand plan appears to be a fundamental shift in how Google views authority on the web. Google wants to tie authority and expertise back to individuals and real people. Proof can be found in the approach with Google+ and usernames and changes such as Authorship Markup. They are looking for signals beyond links and social is becoming a more important component of the algorithm. Google wants to identify subject matter experts and deliver their expertise to its users.
What this means for law firms is that they are going to have to get serious about becoming online publishers, content producers, and subject matter experts in their respective fields.
The days of throwing up a 5 page firm website, performing some link building, and thinking you have a web strategy in place are long gone.