For decades law firms relied on local marketing strategies that included various paid initiatives. The Internet now allows firms the ability to implement full marketing campaigns for free. Within a day an attorney can claim various profiles, upload images and videos, and get listed on search engines – all without spending a dime. The trick is, where should an attorney focus his or her marketing efforts given the limited time and resources most lawyers face?
The Google/Facebook War
Google is currently feeling the pressure of its formidable competitors: Facebook, Yahoo, and Bing. In fact, Bing searches now account for over 30% of U.S. web searches according to the latest figures (LINK). People may be turning to these competitors because they claim to offer a better user experience and provide more relevant search results. Whatever the reason, Google feels the heat and has reacted.
In the last couple of years, Google has undertaken an incredible effort. They have created a “Google Places Page” for every single business in the United States. In fact, here’s LawInfo’s Places Page. These Places Pages provide general information, images, and videos about the business. Until recently, these Places Pages were peripheral to Google’s “typical” organic search strategy, but that all changed a few months ago…
Google Places Overtakes Organic Listings
In late 2010/early 2011, Google began aggressively listing Places Pages in organic search results. In fact, many searches are now dominated by Google Places (click here to see an image of what this means). Although Google has not publically stated how they rank these Places Pages, they have provided some guidance that all businesses including law firms should heed immediately.
Claim Your Google Places Page for Free
Google Places Pages exist in two states: 1) Un-verified Places Pages, and 2) Owner-verified Places Pages. If you own a business you should conduct a search for your Places Page by typing your business name into Google. Once you find your Places Page you should next take the necessary steps to “verify” your Page. This means clicking on the “Business Owner?” text in the upper right hand portion of the Page, and following the proceeding directions. In order to authenticate you as the business owner, Google will either give you a call or send you a postcard with a special link. Once completed, your Places Page will have the “Owner-verified” status. Once your Page is verified, you can work on editing your business information.
Make Your Google Places Page 100% Complete
Although Google doesn’t state how they rank Places Pages in search results, they do tell you when your Places Page is 100% complete. In order to be 100% complete you typically need to offer business details such as:
- Operating Hours
- Business Description
- Additional Details (e.g., practice areas, areas served, etc.)
LawInfo has provided a comprehensive rundown of everything you should do to make your Places Page the best it can be. Find our free Google Places White Paper here (LINK).
Getting Assistance with Your Google Places Page
Not everyone will have sufficient time or resources to fill up their Places Page with the content it needs to be 100% complete. Here’s where LawInfo can really help. LawInfo offers to verify your law firm’s Places Page for free. If you want help getting your Places page to 100%, we offer the Local+ package that provides:
- Five videos. One customized to your practice and four practice area informational videos
- The creation and optimization of a custom YouTube Channel
- Image optimization
- Attorney written custom content, and more
Find out more about the LawInfo Local+ package here (LINK):
As always, if you have any questions regarding legal marketing, don’t hesitate to contact a LawInfo representative at (800) 397-3743. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have about our various products and services, including the Local+ Package.