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Google+, Authorship, +1s, and How it All Impacts Lawyer Marketing

By William Peacock, Esq. on March 21, 2014 3:55 PM

Yesterday, we talked about marketing your law firm on Facebook in the new "pay to play" age. But Facebook isn't the only social network out there, and if you are disillusioned by the company's move away from "organic" (natural) news feed placement and towards paid advertising, you might wonder how the other social networks will come into play in 2014.

That's a good question. There are a lot of jokes out there about how the different networks compare (Facebook is "I like bacon," Twitter is "I'm eating #bacon," Foursquare is "This is where I eat bacon," etc.), but how should you, a small law firm or sole practitioner, approach the networks this year?

We'd start with Google+, surprisingly.

Google+ and Authorship: It's Kinda Important

We've always been quick to dismiss Google+. It's basically an empty room, unless you work for Google. If you want to know what your friends are up to, you go to Twitter or Facebook. If you want to join a discussion group, you go to LinkedIn. If you want to share photos, there's Facebook and Instagram. If you want to yell at a wall, you go to Google+.

Ah, but Google is the Internet, and there's no way they were going to let their network die. Over the last year, Google has slowly been integrating Google+ profiles into all of the company's services, from YouTube comments, to (maybe) search results. It's also become a measure of authority, with Google including your Google+ headshot in search results when you have Google Authorship enabled on your website.

Google Likes to Screw With Your Head

If your firm has a website, and a blog, you need Google search traffic. Google search results are affected by the number of third-party websites that link to your content.

This past week, at the Above the Law blogging conference, the panelists mentioned that each status update or shared item on Google+ gets its own URL. Plus, there's a whole lot of room in your "About" section for pasting links to your firm's website, blog, etc.

Link juice!

Except, apparently, last month, Google added a wee bit of code to their links, the dreaded "nofollow" tag, which passes along no search credibility. There is some debate over whether this applies to all links on Google+, or just the links on one's "About" page, but for now, my brain hurts.

So, you may get little to no SEO juice for pumping links out of your Google+ page back to your content.

But, let's say your page has the "+1" button (Google's version of a "like.") According to Moz, there's a huge correlation between +1s and higher rankings. (Immediately clicks over to Fiverr and hires bots in Indonesia to +1 the heck out of everything he's ever written ...)

Sorting the Nonsense

Let's summarize:

  • Google Authorship is great, because your face shows up next to your website in Google search results, making click-throughs more likely.
  • Google+ sharing, used to be helpful. Now, it probably isn't.
  • Getting Google +1s is almost certainly a good thing, both as a means of personal affirmation (yay, they like me!) and a search rankings boost.

Got all that? If not, don't worry -- it'll all change in a month or two anyway.

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