Monday, November 22, 2010

Update On Google Places and Law Firm Search

We are now a few weeks past Google’s release of their new integrated organic and places search results pages and now we have some historical, although brief data to work off of. When looking at the results pages, it has become abundantly clear that search engine optimization (SEO) has shifted dramatically in a very short time.

People continue to ask me why Google has made such a drastic change and my response is simple: to make more money. Google knows that 92% of all businesses in the United States serve a radius of only 50 miles from where they are located – most law firms are no different. With the new release, Google now looks at your location and behavior online and includes a greater number of local based results for you to see. As yellow pages continue to decline and more people turn to the web for local searches, local businesses will be more compelled to compete online and pay more for paid advertising.

So how have the new changes impacted law firm search results?

Some law firms that were once #1 for organic results for a particular search can now find themselves near the bottom of the page – below those listings with Places appended to them. Conversely, those firms that relied on highly optimized Places listings now find themselves struggling for visibility without an equally optimized website. All this of course depends on the search and how the results are displayed. Here are three examples:

Head Term Search Results

A head term search result is simply a more commonly searched keyword or phrase in Google. An example of this is “New York City Personal Injury Attorney” - which also happens to be the highest pay-per-click ad to run in Google for NYC. For these results, we see ten results on the first page – 7 of which have a Google Places ad appended to them.

Second Tier Terms

Second tier terms are simply search terms that are less commonly used than Head Terms but are still repeated. An example of this would be “New York City Bus Accident Attorney” – A far less searched term in volume than a typical header term but still garners a relatively high pay-per-click cost in Google for NYC. In this display, three Places listings are independently displayed at the top of the organic results followed by 10 organic results

Long Tail Terms

Long Tail search terms are those terms that are rarely repeated in search volume. An example of this would be “New York City Crane Accident Attorney.” Due to the relative infrequency of these types of accidents, there is less competition for these or organically and in paid adverting. As a result, there are no Places listings on this search results page in Google and no map. There is however videos displayed in this search result which indicates that good video optimization can better support your results here.

What Can Law Firms Learn From This?

There are a number of conclusions law firms can derive from all of these changes in Google:

  • If you don’t have an optimized website for your practice, you need to get one now. The Google algorithm rewards length of stay online and the longer you wait, the more it will take to eventually catch up to your competition
  • Both websites and your Google Places listings must be fully optimized. It is relatively easy for an attorney to claim their local listing but very few know how to fully optimize these properly and build citations for better performance. Moreover, most website developers don’t understand this either so you are best to work with an SEO consultant who can help you.
  • Google Places Optimization should take into consideration what search terms you are targeting and how they will be displayed in the new Google search results. For example, there is no point in optimizing a Google Places listing for long tail terms if they do not display in the search results. Moreover, Head terms should also be weighed based on your level of competition for these as well.
  • Local results are not limited to just your Google Places listings. This also includes how you use your local information on websites, directories, videos, images, inbound links, and other web properties. It is important to make sure that they are all consistent, localized and ultimately sends the same signals to the search engines.
Contact Us Today to learn more about lawyer website search engine optimization.


  1. Google is the most popular search engine in the world today. Since more people use Google than any other search engine, it pays to show up in its results. If you are marketing a law firm online, you’re going to want to make the best use of the platform as possible.

  2. Nice post. You made some good points there.I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  3. You talk about Long-tail, yet every example that you give is a long-tail example.

    You also talk about video marketing and optimization. Video's hardly get any views from the SERPs themselves. Most of the views to YouTube come from FaceBook now. You'll hardly pull any traffic from a video just because it's ranking in the SERPs.

    re: Google Places :: Trying to optimize (keyword spam) your way into Google Places is of little use any more. It just doesn't work well. Did you know that Google doesn't show local results for SEO consultant anymore because of all the spam that took place? (I'd be surprised if "lock smith" didn't follow soon)

  4. Nice tips .Hope it’ll must help me a lot .Good information .Please keep sharing.

  5. Your article is very wonderful. Looking forward your next post what you said is so perfect. Thanks a lot.

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  7. well done!
    All very competently, concisely, rightly, 'the findings and pictures! 10 points of 10

  8. In order to take your business in to the high popular in the online market the Google Places Optimisation is the best way to do so. It’s the efficient way to place your business in to the Google map by providing information about your company details in the map and that helps people to search your business in the well effective manner.

  9. Google is the most famous internet searcher on the planet today. Since a larger number of individuals utilize Google than whatever other web index, it pays to appear in its outcomes. On the off chance that you are advertising a law office on the web, will need to make the best utilization of the stage as could be allowed.

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